How to Replace an Overhead TV Compartment in an RV

by Nicole Vulcan
New flat-screen televisions are mounted on a wall bracket instead of an overhead compartment.

New flat-screen televisions are mounted on a wall bracket instead of an overhead compartment.

If you have an RV that is more than a few years old, you may have an overhead television compartment that needs an upgrade. In 2010, the status quo for televisions is a flat-screen model; in years past, the norm was the old cathode-ray variety. When you retrofit your RV with a new flat-screen television, you'll get the added benefit of having a television that can swivel around and be seen from different angles in the RV.

1. Remove the television from the overhead compartment.

2. Use a screwdriver or drill to remove the trim on your overhead compartment. Be sure not to destroy the trim, as you may want to use it again. If your overhead television compartment is in really bad shape and you just want it out of there, use the screwdriver or drill to remove all the lumber or plastic parts.

3. Measure the size of the opening and decide what size television you can fit in the location. Unlike your old cathode ray television, your new one doesn't necessarily have to fit inside the overhead compartment (or the hole where the compartment was). You're going to install a swivel mount, with the television resting just outside the compartment; therefore, the television size can be a few inches wider than the compartment.

4. Install a wall-mount television bracket inside the overhead compartment wall. You should be able to purchase the bracket at the same place you get your television, or you can purchase one specifically for the rougher conditions that RVs endure, at a store or online retailer that specializes in gear for RVs. Be sure to test the bracket's range of motion before you actually screw it into the compartment wall, to make sure the front of your television will be in ideal locations for viewing.

5. Install the mount panel (which should come with your wall bracket) on the back of your television. Since they're so often mounted to a wall, new flat-screen televisions come with a place on the back to place the mount panel. Your bracket kit should come with the screws necessary to mount the bracket onto the television.

6. Re-install the trim around the overhead compartment. If your overhead compartment was in bad shape and you took all the materials out, replace it now with clean lumber, cut and screwed into a shape similar to the old compartment. Be sure to create holes for the television cords to plug into the power source. If you have insulation or other materials exposed, but you don't want to build a new compartment, consider using wood paneling or carpeting that matches your upholstery to cover the exposed areas. Since your new television isn't going to fit inside the compartment anyway, you don't necessarily need to build a new one.

7. Mount your television onto the wall bracket setup that you just installed. Test the placement of your television to ensure you'll be able to see from your viewing chair. Plug in the television to make sure everything is working properly.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver or drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Wall mount bracket
  • Screws
  • Replacement lumber, paneling or carpet

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

Photo Credits

  • rural landscape on flat screen tv image by javarman from