If you have a small living room like mine, you don’t want to devote floor space to a big TV cabinet. That’s why I decided to get rid of my cabinet and mount my flat-screen on the wall (see “How to Wall-Mount a TV” ). Mounting the TV on the wall was a no-brainer; deciding what to do with the A/V components that were stored inside the cabinet was the real challenge.
I considered putting the components in a closet located behind the wall that the TV hangs on, but I wanted to be able to see their displays. Hiding them also would require adding a remote-control sensor or radio-frequency remote because the remote control’s signal path would be blocked by the wall. Instead, I decided to build a small cabinet into the wall below the TV. The cabinet keeps the components visible, does not block the remote’s signal path and provides a streamlined appearance. Best of all, it allows me to access the back of the components from inside the closet.
There are several site considerations to check before you begin construction. First, you can’t install a built-in cabinet in any wall. You must have a closet or similar available space behind the wall. Second, there must also be an electrical outlet inside the closet to plug in the components. If there is no existing outlet, then install a surge protected outlet near the component cabinet. Third, check for obstructions, such as electrical lines, plumbing pipes or HVAC ducts, inside the wall before cutting into the wall. If obstructions exist, then you must relocate them or choose a new location for your components cabinet.
The cabinet had to be wide enough to accommodate typical A/V components. The space between the studs was 14-1/2 in., so I had to remove part of one stud to make a wide enough opening for the cabinet. The wall was load-bearing. I cut one stud roughly 24 in. from the bottom and installed a small header and jack studs to support the remaining portion of the stud above the cut line (see Illustration 1). Then I cut an opening in the drywall, following the inside edge of the new framing.
The cabinet is a simple backless box made out of 3/4-in.-thick melamine. It has five parts: a top, a bottom, two sides and a shelf. The overall dimensions of the box are slightly smaller than the opening in the wall. The sides are placed between the top and bottom and attached by driving 2-in. screws through the top and bottom. I concealed the front edges of the box and shelf with heat-activated melamine edge banding.
The front of the cabinet rests on the wall’s bottom plate, and the back of the cabinet is supported by a piece of wood that is cut to match the height from the floor to the top of the bottom plate (see Illustration 2). The front edge of the cabinet is flush with the wall surface. I secured the cabinet by driving a few 2-in. screws through the bottom and sides into the bottom plate, back support and jack studs. The final step was to cover the seam between the cabinet and the drywall with trim. I used common 1/4-in.-thick x 1-1/4-in.-wide stop molding (see Illustration 3). I mitered the corners and painted the molding black before attaching it to the front of the cabinet with 1-in. brad nails.