How to Change an Entertainment Center to Fit a TV

Written by david lipscomb Google
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How to Change an Entertainment Center to Fit a TV
Modifying an existing TV cabinet to acommodate a widescreen TV is not a difficult task. (cabinet image by charles taylor from

Expensive furniture is hard to dispose of, and nearly impossible to sell off as televisions change. Many have found that, with new shapes corresponding to a given screen size, the desired television is now wider than the existing opening in the entertainment center. As wide-screen televisions began to dominate the market, plenty of people who invested in well-built cabinetry designed to hold a 4:3 television were left with a quandary: sell or modify. Thankfully, the latter is not too difficult with the proper tools, and liberal borrowing of techniques used by furniture manufacturers.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Flat screen TV
  • Flat screen wall mount
  • 1 sheet of 3/4-inch medium-density fiberboard
  • 1 2-by-4 plank
  • Drill
  • Philips screwdriver drill bit extension
  • 2-inch wood screws
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Level
  • Circular saw
  • 2-inch lag bolts
  • 2-inch lag bolt washers
  • Socket wrench and inserts
  • Measuring tape
  • Wood putty
  • Paint or stain

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    Setting the Stage

  1. 1

    Take internal measurements of the existing opening using a measuring tape.

  2. 2

    Cut 3/4-inch MDF sheet, using the measurements and circular saw.

  3. 3

    Measure the distance between the front bezel of the widescreen TV, and the back of the wall mount as one unit.

  4. 4

    Cut 2-by-4 plank to produce six square 2-by-2 blocks using the circular saw.

  5. 5

    Cut remainder of 2-by-4 plank to produce two vertical supports behind the MDF sheet. Screw these to the MDF sheet using at least four wood screws. These supports will receive the lag bolts holding the TV wall mount in place.

  6. 6

    Lay the MDF sheet on its back. Using the wall mount as a template, pre-drill holes for the lag bolts using drill and 1/4-inch drill bit.

  7. 7

    Mount the TV's wall bracket portion to the MDF sheet, using the socket wrench and appropriate-size inserts. Ensure that the lag bolts holding the mount enter the 2-by-4 supports on the rear of the MDF sheet. Do not over-tighten, and make sure the lag bolt's washers are seated under the bolt heads.

  8. 8

    Mount the television to the wall bracket, and lift the entire assembly with helpers.

  9. 9

    Place the assembly inside the cabinet as far as it will go, before the rear of the set touches the outer horizontal edges of the cabinet. Have an assistant go behind the cabinet, and mark the location of the MDF panel.

  10. 10

    Take the six 2-by-2 blocks, and using drill and Philips bit attachment, sink four screws into each block, rearward of the pencil line indicating the back of the MDF mounting plate.

  11. 11

    Remove the television from the wall mount on the MDF plate. Return the MDF plate to its final position, and secure the plate to the 2-by-2 blocks using two wood screws per block.

  12. 12

    Remove the wall mount. Use wood putty to fill in the counter-sunk screw heads, and paint/stain the MDF sheet as desired.

  13. 13

    Return the wall mount and television to its final mounting location.

Tips and warnings

  • To color-match existing stain, remove the luan piece screwed to the rear of the existing TV cabinet, and bring this to a shop that can color-match. Often, these are decorative (rather than supportive) on higher-quality pieces.
  • For the best effect, ensure that the TV is centered in the opening.
  • Add small ambient lighting inside the cabinet and behind the set for additional effect.
  • Be absolutely certain that the added weight of the TV will be negated by the weight of the rear of the TV cabinet. DIYers do not want the cabinet tipping forward due to excess weight imbalance. It is best to determine this prior to construction.
  • If there is any doubt, add two thick nylon support straps, attaching to the rear of the cabinet and to the studs behind it. Use additional 2-inch lag bolts and washers to support it.

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