Disappearing TV With Pop Up TV Lift Mounted Behind Furniture




This is a cool home improvement project that only took us about 30 minutes to do.

The situation:
The owner of this home had a flat panel TV in the room, sitting on top of a rustic wood cabinet. He only watched it occasionally, so most of the time it was just an eyesore to him that was blocking part of his window view. He thought about getting (or making) a Pop Up TV cabinet to hide the TV, but he did not want to replace or modify the furniture he already had in the room.

The challenge:
Find a way to hide a 42" TV behind the existing cabinet, even though the cabinet and the window sill are only 24" tall!
We solved the problem by using a TV lIft system to mount the television BEHIND the existing cabinet. The lift system is made by Nexus 21, and is only 23" tall. It could also have been mounted behind a sofa or other piece of furniture. This model comes with a remote control and a universal mount for TV's as large as 42".

The Result:
Our installation involved no carpentry work and no need to buy a special pop up TV cabinet. Now, instead of a "TV Room", the home owner enjoys his "Living Room", with nothing to block the view outside his windows. He also got a cool new automation feature. When he pushes the remote control button, the TV quietly raises up from behind his cabinet. Another button-press and the TV completely disappears behind the cabinet.

Cost of the project:
The TV Lift System used for this project costs $1,350. There are less expensive lifts on the market but, surprisingly, there are also a number of MORE expensive ones as well (prices range anywhere from $500 to $3,500). The home owner specifically chose this television lift system because of its strong warranty and because it was the least expensive of the high quality lifts that are made in America. He considered a few systems that had prices of $500 to $700, but found that they were all imported from Asia, and did not carry a strong warranty.

If you want to check it out, the Nexus 21 website is: http://www.TVLift.com.

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Step 1: Materials Used

Tape Measure
Philips Screwdriver
Cordless Drill
Allen Wrenches (included in TV lift package)
Small piece of 1/2" thick plywood, painted black (not shown in this photo)
Model L-27 TV Lift System from Nexus 21
42" LCD Flat Panel TV

Step 2: Decide Where You Want to Hide the TV

Choose a piece of furniture behind which to hide the TV. Make sure it is tall enough to cover the whole TV so it will be completely hidden.

Also, the TV and the lift mechanism will need about 8" of depth behind the cabinet (give or take a little, depending on the depth of your flat panel TV), so it is a good idea to select a place in the room where it won't matter too much if your furniture is further away from the wall than normal.

For this project, the height from the floor to the bottom of the window was only about 24 inches, and the cabinet was about 25" tall. The TV and the lift mechanism were both under 24" tall, so both were able to be hidden behind the cabinet and below the window.

Step 3: Mark the Position for the Lift System

We measured to the center of the window, because we wanted the TV to be centered when it was raised. A quick mark on the wall became our center line.

Next we wanted to mark the spot where the support bracket would be mounted on the wall in the next step.

The easiest way to do this was to temporarily set the lift column (with support bracket) into position and then mark the wall to show where the top of the support bracket should be.

To do this we slid the support bracket into the tapered sleeves on the lift column, and set the column onto a bottom-mount board (the support bracket will be taken back off the lift column during the next step and attached to the wall).

The bottom-mount board is optional, and is not included with the lift system. We decided to create it so we could attach the lift column to that instead of the floor, which was tiled. It is just a small piece of 1/2" thick plywood, which we painted black. It is not really necessary to attach the board to the floor because most of the weight-bearing support for the TV lift comes from the wall-mounted support bracket. The bottom-mount board really just gives a place to fix the bottom of the lift and distributes the load a bit better.

Placing the board onto the floor first, we then stood the lift column on top of it and marked where to mount the bracket.

Step 4: Mount Support Bracket on the Wall

We slid the support bracket back off the lift column and mounted it to the wall using the mark we made in the previous step.

We used a level the whole time because if the bracket were not mounted straight the TV would appear to be leaning. In fact, because of the telescoping nature of the lift column extension, the "lean" would be exaggerated, so keeping it straight was critical.

This bayonet-style support bracket was very solid once we put all 4 screws in, and gave a tremendous amount of support for the lift system.

There are 4 white plastic spacers visible between the support bracket and the wall. These came with the TV lift and helped us move the assembly forward just enough to clear the wood base molding at the floor level, eliminating the need to cut into it.

Step 5: Position the Lift Column

Now that the support bracket was securely mounted to the wall, we slid the lift column back onto it and checked to make sure everything lined up. The base of the lift column touched down onto the bottom-mount board.

After making sure that the lift column was perfectly straight, we used a cordless drill and put 4 screws (provided with the Nexus 21 TV lift) through the holes in the bottom plate and into the plywood bottom-mount board.

Step 6: Install the TV Mount and the Control Box

The universal TV mount was included with the lift system, and it attached with 4 bolts on top of the lift column.

The lift control box is a separate component, and can be mounted anywhere. We chose to place it on the wall, so it ended up just behind the TV. The we plugged in the power and the motor cable.

Before mounting the TV, we tested the lift system to make sure it was running. Everything was perfect and the lift mechanism runs almost silent!

Step 7: Attach the TV to the Lift System

There are 2 vertical mounting bars that came with the TV Lift. All flat panel TV's have 4 threaded insert-holes on the back, so we used those holes and bolted the mounting bars to the back of the TV.

The bolts that fit the holes on the back of the TV are the same bolts that attach the pedestal base to the bottom of the TV. Once we removed the base, we had the right bolts for attaching the mounting bars.

The bars were great because they have multiple mounting holes, and hanging-hooks at three different height positions, so that made it easy to fine-tune the height of the TV.

Once the mounting bars were installed, all that was left to do was hang the TV on the lift. We adjusted the height so that, in the retracted position, the bottom of the TV is about 3/4" off the ground, and never touches.

Step 8: Show It Off and Enjoy!

Sweet! Press the button on the remote control that comes with the lift, and the TV appears out of nowhere! There is almost no noise from the lift, and the motion is very smooth, so it looks very high-tech.

Since there is no cut-out cabinet lid or any other indicator that gives away the secret, no one would guess there is a 42" TV back there, and it is a cool surprise when the TV comes up.

The total distance between the wall and the back of the cabinet is about 8" (3" for the TV, 4.5" for the lift mechanism and .5" of clearance). That may seem like a lot of space, but it is not noticeable in the layout of this particular room. If there had been doorways or foot traffic with more people seeing the cabinet directly from the side, it would not have been the best position for this installation.

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    34 Discussions


    Question 5 days ago on Step 4

    Does the bracket need to be attached to the studs?


    2 years ago

    What is the lift mechanism scissor jacks, threaded rod, hydraulics, cable w pulleys ?

    3 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    The lift in this project was a chain drive enclosed in a lift column. It was great, but I have since switched to using a similar column that uses a threaded rod, which produces smoother motion.


    Reply 1 year ago

    What brand of threaded rod column did you switch to? I'm interested in adding a computer lift out of large kitchen island.


    Reply 1 year ago

    It's called model L-23, also made by Nexus 21. Another change is that Nexus now covers these products with a 10-year warranty, where it used to only be 5 years. They made that change retroactive to cover all products they ever made, so some people who were out of warranty actually came back in to warranty coverage.


    3 years ago

    Very helpful to me, but I notice that this discussion relates to an idea from several years ago. Has the idea of a hidden tv progressed further? Or has it gone the way of the dodo bird? Remember the big consoles that have now totally disappeared ... Well, that is what I would like to see in a 21st century model. Maybe something like the Sonas music system that can project the picture where ever you are. Hmm


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I wonder if there is a solution that involves attaching the TV to the furniture, so the room can be re-arranged easily?

    Just an idea.
    nice instructable!

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi lovat - that's a good thought. With this particular lifting system, the main mounting point is behind the TV, so in order to have it raise and still be facing forward we would need to build an enclosure on the back of the furniture piece, to house the lift and the TV, providing a surface on which to mount the back support for the lifting unit. I think that would work, as long as you don't mind affixing the enclosure to your furniture... I'll have to play around with that idea. Happy Holidays!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Pfft, $1,300! I found a much cheaper way of accomplishing the same thing using my neighbour's old garage door opening system. It's kind of loud but then again so are my kids.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I would take it a step further and install a "door" in the top of the cabinet that opens while the tv is moving, and have the area around the tv's down position to be padded. This prevents the tv from being damaged while its lowered if someone (like me) ends up falling into the cabinet, by being in the cabinet, instead of behind it.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    figuring it out is the easy part. someone just needs to build and post it.


    9 years ago on Step 1

    This was a fine instructable. I've been looking for this type of installation where the furnature didnt have to be modified. thanks.

    pop up tv

    9 years ago on Introduction

    This project really saves space especially at homes with limited space. it shows the step by step procedure on how to build a TV lift. It also demonstrates how to combine the materials with the piece of furniture to create a good TV lift.


    10 years ago on Step 1

    Not really a do it yourself job since your using a complete kt without any real work. I'd like to see a version where the lift is constructed.

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Of course you are right - in this case I was excited to show how easy it was to do something without having to modify the furniture, which is how it is usually done. We used the existing lifting kit and focused more on the simplicity of the idea, showing-off the concept of hiding a TV "behind" instead of "inside". My next project shows more on how to convert existing cabinetry to hide the TV, so it is a little more hands-on and creative - coming soon!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Ahh. Didn't know one had to modify the furniture, which really won't work for antiques. I can understand how some people would need a more detailed step by step guide, but when I think of DIYs, I think of from scratch or mostly from scratch jobs. Your next Instructable, would probably require cutting into cabinets, which is getter closer to the ideal "from scratch" Instructable. It could be valuable to anyone concerned about installing a lift and messing up their cabinets.

    i could defintely designone of the se for under 30 dollars depending on how heavy the tv is all u need is a guide sytem locking mechanism and 1 actuator to be the lift scrw psyin 1326 or whatever

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Bloody hell that's a lot of money, what's wrong with using a strong linear actuator or a small rack and pinion?!