How to Design an Entertainment Center


A home entertainment center holds the various components of your audio/video system: TV, DVD player, cable or satellite controls, stereo system and speakers. Serious woodworkers can design entertainment centers of their own, but even for those looking to buy pre-made entertainment centers, the basics of design will help determine which model works best. All good entertainment centers are based around a few key considerations. Once you've settled on these basic questions, you can build or buy what you need very quickly.

  • Determine the number of components the entertainment center needs to hold, and measure their dimensions carefully. You need enough shelf space to hold everything comfortably. Be sure to measure each component's depth as well as its height and length. If your entertainment center isn't deep enough, it won't hold the component securely. In addition, leave at least a few inches worth of extra space for each component, so as to allow for proper ventilation and to avoid overheating.

  • Check the strength of the wood for the entertainment center. Make sure the design is sturdy enough to support all components. Determine the weight of each component from the box or instruction manual, add them all together, then gauge that against the weight capacity of the entertainment center. If it can't support the weight of your components, it may buckle or collapse.

  • Consider the front of the entertainment center. Do you wish to include rails to let the components slide in and out, or simply leave them stationary? Do you want to use doors to hide your components when not in use or leave them out in the open? If you use doors, keep in mind that most remote controls won't transmit through wood. Doors made of glass or similar clear materials will allow a remote's signal to send a signal through them.

  • Plan the back of your entertainment center. All of your components need to be connected to each other via cables and wiring. While you may wish to use wood to create a sturdy back, be sure to include openings for every shelf so that you can run cables back and forth without undue fuss.

  • Think about the proximity of the components to each other. While not a serious concern, you will need to purchase cables long enough for each component to connect with every other. Components' placement in the entertainment center needs to be close enough to facilitate comfortable connections.

Tips & Warnings

  • Technology changes very rapidly, and the components of your entertainment center may become obsolete quickly. Look for flexible design elements like movable shelves so you can be ready to install updated components.

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