Wall Framing Basics: Drywall Entertainment Centers


An entertainment unit constructed of wood framing and drywall can look visually pleasing for many years. Unlike free-standing units, which often go out of style, an enclosed entertainment center typically blends with the room design for long-term appeal. Such a unit, which will usually reach from floor to ceiling, will hold a significant amount of media equipment, books and other items in an organized fashion.

Plan Framing

  • A stud finder will help you locate wall studs behind existing drywall. If you plan to build the entertainment unit in a family room wall, for example, you will need to start the process by figuring out where studs are located. This way, you can design all measurements for the unit’s skeleton framework around wall framing already in place.

Define Dimensions

  • Measure the floor space you plan to use in construction. For example, you might want to make the entertainment center 12 feet wide by 9 feet in height with a depth of 24 inches. Take into consideration any door or window openings and plan accordingly. To fit the space, you might need to restrict the depth of the entertainment unit to 18 inches.

Draw the Framing

  • Draw the framework for the new drywall unit on graph paper. Align all wall framework with the wall studs already in place. Typically, this will work out to securing 2-by-4-inch boards for the top, bottom and sides of the unit on 16-inch centers, matching up with wall stud placement and floor joists.

Design Electrical Needs

  • Figure out where wall electrical wiring is already routed. You will need to figure out how to include any recessed lights in the top of the new entertainment center or recessed lights in the room’s ceiling that will be close to the new unit. Route this new wiring while walls are open.

Access Wall Cavities

  • You may decide to tear off drywall before adding the unit framework. To run wiring for media equipment or outlets, you may need access to the surrounding wall interior. You can add back new drywall after the new space is properly framed.

Install Solid Shelving

  • The area within the interior unit that will hold a television requires strong support. You can install an alcove for the TV framed with 2-by-4-inch boards and add a solid shelf of wood material in the bottom, for example. Individual alcoves for holding lighter materials may be framed with 2-by-2-inch framing. Keep in mind that drywall material is too delicate for bottom areas of shelves, so use plywood with tile or wood veneer over it to add a more solid support space.

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