Q: I live in a 100-year-old Craftsman house with gorgeous wood trim around the windows and doors. The trim is wide, and there’s a head piece across the top of all windows and doors. My problem is that 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. What can I do to make the new TV look “old”?
A: You’re not the only person who doesn’t like how modern flat-screen TVs clash with the classic woodwork found in many older homes. My good friends Russ and Ann were once faced with the same conundrum. They live in the classic Craftsman home that Russ grew up in.
Ann is a serious DIYer and can do any task, be it plumbing, plastering, painting or carpentry. She solved a problem similar to the one you’ve described by imagining their flat-screen TV as a window.
Ann used wood trim to surround the TV and mounted it to the wall. Once the TV was installed, the room, which only had one window, actually felt brighter. The look was so fantastic that Russ went out and bought two more TVs for the other walls!
I imagine the woodwork in your home is similar to that in Russ and Ann’s home. I’m guessing your 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.
Ann simply surrounded the three flat-screen TVs in their den with the same woodwork that trims out the window in the room. It can be done with minimal tools: just a sliding 10-inch miter saw and a finish nail gun. (You won’t regret using the nail gun, trust me.)
The first step is to use 1-by-4s to create an upside-down U that surrounds the two sides and top of the TV. The window sill portion of the treatment will form the bottom of the box that surrounds the flat screen. I suggest leaving a gap of about a half-inch between the TV and the wood. Ann decided to have the three U-shaped components project out about a half-inch from the front of the TV.
The window sill is fastened to the bottom of the two 1-by-4s that are on the sides of the TV. The top 1-by-4 can be cut so it overlaps the two side pieces. It is then fastened it to the two vertical 1-by-4s. To attach it to the wall, you can use metal L-brackets or small cleats that attach to the back side of the boards.
All that’s left to do after that is to trim out the box just as you would add 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.
I would have never thought about putting more than one flat-screen TV in a room, but Russ has really pulled it off. He uses one to view the news and movies, while the other two tend to have subtle slide shows or fixed images on them, so it looks like you’re looking out a window. He chooses mountains, streams, animals, a beach, a city at night — whatever mood he wants to set.
Tim Carter has worked as a home-improvement professional for more than 30 years. To submit a question or to learn more, visit AsktheBuilder.com.