TV Size Upgrade

Over the weekend, I helped my buddy Mitch mount a new 60″ flat screen to the wall. This was a little trickier than it sounds, because he wanted to hang it over an existing wall nook that was too small for the larger screen. The TV nook built into his wall was originally designed to hold one of the old box-shaped TVs and nothing nearly as large as 60 inches wide. When upgrading the size of the TV, the wall nook posed a problem because it eliminated the wall studs on which a TV is normally mounted. Our solution was to build a new “small wall” made of 2×4 inside the nook to provide solid stud framing, on which to hang the wall bracket that holds the TV.

Here’s the old TV inside the wall nook.
Here’s the wall we built, fastened with 4″ screws into the adjacent wall studs and into the top plate.
If you’re building a similar wall for your project, be sure to space the studs no more than 16″ on center. The purpose of the wall is to provide two solid studs for mounting, so when designing the wall, make sure you position two studs to match the mounting holes on the back of whatever wall bracket you plan to use.
Normally, I would build the new wall right on top of the existing bottom plate, but this TV nook included a welded table frame custom-made to fit the space and provide a shelf for the cable box, Blu-ray player, etc. Mitch wanted to keep the shelf for his electronics, so we built the wall on top of the welded frame.
By building the wall on the front of the table frame, we essentially concentrated the weight of the TV on the front rail of the table. However, although the welded frame included a center strut, it did not have a center leg supporting the weight from below. I did not know the strength of the metal rail and didn’t want to risk it bending or breaking beneath the weight of the TV, so I built a third “leg” made of 2×4 blocking to support the middle of the wall. The third leg runs from the framing plate above the fireplace mantel to the underside of the metal rail (and our new wall). To disguise the leg and make it look like part of the welded table, we coated all sides of the block with black spray paint to match.
Here’s the finished installation. After building the wall, we had the studs needed to mount a TV bracket on the wall as usual. The larger TV completely hides the wall nook, and nobody is the wiser that it even exists.
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