Guide to Buying a Modern TV Stand for Flat Screens

With the number of Plasma and LCD HDTV sets coming onto the market these days, the shape and weight requirements, not to mention the price, of stands has changed. If you don’t want to shell out a few hundred dollars for a modern TV stand for flat screens, which will likely increase the TV’s total price by 20% or more, here are a couple of alternatives.

Steel kits are available for around $100. They’re strong, come in various sizes and can be constructed in an hour or less even by those without superior ‘do-it-yourself’ skills. They typically will hold a DVD, cable box and the TV itself. Many of the newer HDTV sets come with a slot for a cable card, sometimes eliminating the need for a separate, external box.

Most stands will hold up to 90kg (200 lbs) easily, which is fully adequate for most TV models. For those who like the ‘modern’ look, they’re simple, stylish and some come with glass shelves for the DVD, cable box and TV. For the TV shelf, if you want something clear, make sure you get a strong acrylic or Plexiglas shelf. A little more costly than glass, it’s much safer for this heavy component.

How to Build a TV Stand

Alternatively, you can build your own HDTV stand out of wood. There are dozens of free plans online. Here’s one elegant and simple style with a low-cost parts list.

Purchase two 90cm by 60 cm (3 ft x 2 ft) planks of cedar, 2.5cm (1 inch) thick. Cedar is naturally beautiful and doesn’t require staining, though you can use a semi-transparent stain if you want to finish the wood.

Take a saw and, starting at the base, cut a curved pattern. Try a shape similar to a folk guitar. The curve makes for a nice design and adds strength to the support. Sand the edges smooth.

Groove the planks a centimeter and a quarter (half an inch) deep, several centimeters (a few inches) from the top. These are called ‘dadoes’. Make additional grooves for shelves to hold the DVD, etc. Grooves can be made with a router or the old-fashioned way with a gouging tool.

Purchase shelves at whatever width you need for your set. They should be wood to maintain the simple, natural-looking style, though you could use glass or even metal. Slide the shelves in, then – if needed – screw in four 2.5cm (1 inch) brass L-shaped supports under each shelf for added strength and stability.

Instead of grooving or L-bracing, you could drill holes for shelf support dowels. This allows some flexibility for shelf height. Tiny metal pins just the right size can sometimes be tricky to find, though.

To hide the wires, you can attach a 10cm (4 inch) strip along one or both sides. Run the wires along the shelves and down the strip to the floor or electrical outlets. You can secure them against the strips with U-shaped tacks. The tacks are inexpensive and easy to tap in, yet tall and wide enough to enclose one or two wires.

You can purchase a stand with your TV, of course. But how often do the ones available fit your particular room and furniture at a reasonable price? Building your own is inexpensive, takes less than a day and is customized to your individual style. Try it!

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