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DIY Tips For Mounting A Flat Screen TV

Electrical & Lighting, General Expertise
By on Aug 1, 2014
DIY Tips For Mounting A Flat Screen TV

As sad (or great depending on who you ask) as it is, Americans are watching more and more TV each and every day. After a long day of work, it’s hard to want to accomplish anything other than clearing your DVR. Well, I am here to make your TV viewing experience even more enjoyable by showing you exactly how to mount a flat screen TV.

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Mounting a TV does not fall under the DIY category. This is a home project that all homeowners need to know. Mounting a flat screen TV to your wall can make the room look cleaner and save valuable space. Therefore, no matter how big or small your home is, one must know how to install a flat screen TV on the wall.

Below, I will share the exact steps all homeowners must take while installing their flat screen TV. I will also discuss ways to hide those ugly wires. Bear in mind, this tactic involves a bit of DIY experience.

Note: The size of your TV or specific wall mount has no effect on this process. These steps apply to any flat screen TV installation.

Install TV

Find the Best TV

Before you can hang a TV, you need a TV to hang. There have been so many advancements with TVs over the years, homeowners and renters have more choices than ever. Bigger is usually better, but clearly, the size of your TV will depend on your budget and room. Roughly, expect to pay $500 for a 42” LED flat screen TV.

As always, if you rather have a pro mount your flat screen TV, the store where you bought the television will most likely offer this service. However, be prepared to pay. According to our TV installation cost estimator, expect to pay $300 for a service you can do yourself.

Purchase Correct Wall Mount

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Before we take out the drill, you have to find the right wall mount. Your wall mount will largely depend on the size of your TV, as every mount has a maximum weight it can hold. 

Then, you must decide if you want your mount to move. Especially for larger living rooms, some homeowners like to have a TV that can swivel. Whether it can swivel left or right, down or up, a swivel TV mount will let you see the TV no matter where you’re sitting in the room. If you’re mounting your TV in the corner of the room or installing a TV in your new man cave, I highly recommend a swivel mount.

Finally, certain mounts will be able to hold certain televisions. Make sure you ask the manufacturer for wall mount recommendations.

Flat Screen TV

Find the Studs

Next, we have to find the studs to screw the mount. More often than not, a homeowner will use a stud finder to locate the studs. This is the easier route. However, there are ways to locate a stud without a stud funder:

  • Studs are usually next to outlets.
  • Studs are generally 16” from each other in the U.S. If you know where one stud is, you should know where others are.
  • If you knock on the wall with a stud behind, it should sound solid.
  • If you knock on the wall with no stud behind it, it should sound hollow.
  • Press into the wall and see if it gives in a little. Chances are, if the wall holds firm, a stud is behind it.

Find and mark the stud where you want the TV. Measure to the left or right 16 inches and mark the center of the next stud.

Install the Wall Mount

Drill some initial holes for the TV mount on the studs. Only drill one hole for each stud. Do not drill all the way in. Take the screws out and place your mount on the wall. As your helper holds up the mount, take your screws and screw them all the way in. Once again, only drill one screw for each stud.

At this point, you should make sure your TV mount is level and in the desired location. If not, take out the screws and try again.

If it is in the correct spot, install the lag bolts and washers. Once again, make sure mount is level. If all is good, tighten the screws.

Note: The following steps are for those homeowners who want to hide the cables within the walls. If you do not wish to do this, skip to Mount the TV.

Cut Holes in Wall

If you want to hide those ugly cables, you have to place them in the wall. First, determine the least visible spot closest to the TV. Most likely, it will be next to the mount, an area that the TV will cover. Make sure you are close to an electrical outlet, as you will need a power source. Like I said earlier, studs are usually right next to electrical outlets.

As This Old House points out, you could place a receptacle box around this hole to hide the damage. Put the box on the wall and trace around it. Cut out the drywall along your outline.

You must do the same for a lower receptacle box near an outlet. The upper is where the cords go in and the lower box is where they connect to your electrical outlet. At this time, you should attach your upper receptacle box with your screws.

Connecting the Power

With just the top receptacle box installed, snake the power cord down the wall. At the lower hole, plug the male end of the power cord into the female end of the lower receptacle.

Next, snake other cables, like your HDMI, through the wall just as you did with the cable cords. Pull them through the bottom receptacle. Attach the bottom wall plate with your screws.

Bear in mind that the above step is only for a basic living room installation. If you are installing a TV for a home theater, the electrical wiring gets a little more complicated. If you want to install a new TV for your home theater, be sure to view our home theater wiring cost guide.

Mount the TV

The fun part has arrived. Attach the other half of the mount to the back of your TV. Follow the mount’s manual. Make sure this mount is firmly connected to the TV, as this is the piece that will be holding it up. 

Get your partner and lift your TV onto your wall mount. Some wall mounts will require you to connect the two mounts, while others let your TV rest on the wall mount with no additional screws. Either way, make sure you follow the manual’s instructions.

Plug in the power cords, connect your DVR, and you should be good to go!


Having a beautiful, brand-new flat screen TV installed in your home will not only make your home more visually pleasing, but also add a new dimension to the room. It’s as simple a DIY project that you will find.

If you want to really show off to the guys, go ahead and mount two televisions right next to each other. Beware, electrical may get tricky. See how much it costs to hire an electrician in your area.

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