Recently I Googled TV lifts and found many different options. Perhaps the most surprising was the one listed under “Home Automations” offering instruction on how to “build a pop-up TV lift cabinet using an off-the-shelf dresser drawers and an off-the-shelf pop up TV lift kit in about 3 hours, all for only $500.”

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for the DIY trend and on smaller, less important projects; I might fully endorse such an undertaking.

However, most people who would consider an automated TV lift also enjoy watching their TV; and in order to watch it, it needs to work, right? Imagine, after your 3-hour “sweat equity” investment (not to mention whatever you invested in the dresser and your pricey plasma TV), your home automation project comes crashing down, TV and all, because the online instruction omitted a crucial step?

Why put yourself through the agony?

Today there are many reputable TV lift cabinet/console purveyors who will customize your TV lift cabinet to your specifications. Everything from the number of shelves you want in your cabinet, to the height at which you want your TV to rest when in use, to the color and design of the hardwood cabinetry for your TV lift.

By going through a professional, you also have various options in mechanical operation and design, including motorized lifts, lifts that pivot, and lifts that drop down and retract back into the ceiling. Many manufacturers offer their TV lifts with rack and pinion operating units, while others offer telescopic technology for their TV lift systems. Almost universally, these manufacturers offer warranties on their TV lift units, too, which is why they are designed with structural integrity using high-quality components; not make-shift pieces and parts from the tool shed, or clearance furniture from a big box store (as may be the case in the home-spun version.)

Another benefit of working with a turn-key manufacturer verses the DIY option is that the furniture (cabinet or console) generally arrives fully assembled; no worries about “washer #22” missing, or the wrong size screw for a key part of your home automation project.

Do-It-Yourselfers beware: certain “projects” – including a safe, fully-functional TV lift – are best left to the professionals!