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Flat Screen TV Frame Ideas – Treat it as a Window

flat screen tv made to look old

Flat Screen TV Frame Ideas - No, you’re not looking out a window. That’s a modern flat-screen TV that’s surrounded by window trim. It’s a great illusion. Copyright 2021 Tim Carter

Flat Screen TV Frame Ideas - Trick People!

QUESTION: Tim, I’ve got a challenge for you. I live in a 100-year-old Craftsman house with gorgeous wood trim around the windows and doors. It’s wide and there’s a stunning headpiece across the top of all windows and doors.

I have a flat-screen TV in my den and it looks out of place. It’s so modern and I hate how it looks. There’s only one window in one of the four walls. What can I do to make the new TV look old and how can I brighten the room? If you can figure this out, you’ll be my hero forever even though I doubt you wear a cape each day. Piper W., Montrose, CA

I know Piper isn’t the only person that doesn’t like how modern flat-screen TVs clash with stunning woodwork found in Queen Anne Victorian homes as well as classic Craftsman-style homes. I’m not a fan of how stark the TVs are. My son loves the modern look and his flat-screen TV compliments the industrial look in his loft apartment.

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My good friends Russ and Ann faced the exact same conundrum as Piper. They live in a classic Craftsman home that I’ve visited countless times. Russ grew up in the house and it’s become part of his soul. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anyone love a house as much as Russ. It’s truly remarkable. Russ can keep you laughing or on the edge of your seat as you listen to story after story about him growing up in his home.

Ann happens to be the handy person in the duo. She’s a serious DIYr and can do any task she puts her mind to be it plumbing, plastering, painting, or carpentry. She solved Piper’s problem by imagining their first flat-screen TV was an actual window. They had the identical problem - a sitting room with four walls but only one window.

Can I Put a TV on Each Wall?

Ann cobbled together wood trim to surround the TV. The look was so fantastic Russ went out and bought two more TVs for the other two walls! Think about the possibilities when you do this. You can brighten up a dark room in a hurry.

The stunning woodwork in Piper’s house no doubt matches or is similar, to that in Russ and Ann’s home. I’m sure her windows have true wooden windowsills that are 4 or 5 inches deep and they project out beyond the vertical wood casing that is on either side of the window. A larger head casing spans over the window much like a flat beam.

Can I Trim it Like a Queen Anne Victorian Window?

In almost all cases, there’s a distinctive piece of half-round bead molding on the bottom of the head casing and a cap molding on top of the head casing that looks just like crown molding. I had this same look at my last Queen Anne Victorian home.

Ann simply surrounded the three flat-screen TVs in their den with the same exact woodwork that trims out the one window in their room. It’s easy to do with minimal tools. All one really needs is a decent sliding 10-inch miter saw and a finish nail gun. You’ll never regret using the nail gun, trust me.

Easy Steps

The first step is to open up the flat-screen TV installation manual and review what's said about ventilation. All flat-screen TVs require airflow through them to cool the electrical components. Be sure you understand how you'll incorporate hidden ventilation slots in the frame that you'll put around the TV. Maintain all required clearances so you don't void the warranty.

The second step is to use 1x4s to create an upside-down U that surrounds the two sides and top of the flat-screen TV. The window sill part of the treatment will form the bottom of this box that surrounds the flat screen. I’d leave a gap of about 1/2 inch between the TV and the wood. Ann decided to have the three U-shaped components project out about a 1/2 inch from the front of the flat-screen TV.

The window sill is fastened to the bottom of the two 1x4s that are on the sides of the TV. The top 1x4 can be cut so it overlaps the two side pieces and you fasten it to the two vertical 1x4s. All you need to do now is attach this to the wall. You can use metal L-brackets or small cleats that attach to the other side of the 1x4s.

All that’s left to do is then trim out this box as you’d put all the trim around a regular window. You just have to add an extra piece of wood to the vertical casings and the head casing so they return to the wall. It’s really easy to do when you look at the photo of what Ann did at her home.

Simple carpentry skills allow you to add the half-round bead molding to the bottom of the head casing and the cap on top of the head casing. You’re just making standard 45-degree cuts to create the outside corners of both moldings. It’s finish carpentry 101 for goodness sake. Look at your existing trim on your windows and imagine how the carpenter installed it all those years ago.

The interesting thing is you can mimic this same look no matter what type of casing you have around the doors and windows in your home. It’s just a matter of building the simple U-shaped box at first and then clone the actual trim.

I would have never thought about putting more than one flat-screen TV in a room, but Russ really pulled it off. He uses one to view the news and movies, but the other two tend to have subtle slide shows on them or fixed images so it actually looks like you’re looking out a window to the mountains, a stream, animals, a beach, a city at night, whatever scene you happen to enjoy or sets the mood! It’s magic I tell ya!

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