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How high off the floor should a television be in a bedroom? If you want to always sit up to watch TV, it almost doesn't matter. But if you want to watch TV lying down, it needs to be pretty high, especially if you have a big partner to see over, and a large bedroom. Clearly a custom entertainment center is required.
We determined that we like the TV about 5 feet off the floor. (Previously it had been on top of a bookcase, 6 feet high.) The new TV was also larger, and needed a shelf over 20 inches deep, although it has since been replaced with a flat-panel TV. Rather than building a complete new dresser, we built a unit that sits on top of the dresser, leaving room for the "junk" that accumulates on the dresser as well as drawers for media and a shelf for components.
The equipment shelf and drawers are adjustable over several inches - the shelf and drawer unit is screwed into the sides of the cabinet. If next year's components are higher, or we need more of them, we can lower the shelf. If they become thinner, we can raise it several inches before the screw holes will show. The media drawers are sized to hold VHS tapes, home DVDs, as well as movies in their larger cases. Of course, a drawer that high isn't really useful as a drawer... it really is a tray that is removed to select the desired media. There is a slot through the back, behind the drawers, for wires and ventilation.
The base is a frame that overlaps the top of the chest of drawers by 1/8 inch on each of three sides, so there is little danger of the unit sliding off. It was precisely cut to the size of the existing chest of drawers, about 18 by 36 inches. And yes, we were young and poor once - the top of the dresser is Formica. But good formica!
The sides curve forward for a deeper shelf for the TV, probably no longer necessary with the thinner TV sets. The drawers are high - too high off the floor for normal use - but are fine if you call them trays, or they could be replaced with an open shelf. In our case we did three separate drawers so that they are easily removed for use, like boxes, and slide back into place.
We have built other units such as a lingerie chest with electronics cabinet on the top. Another unit with room for electronics at the top would be our recommendation, rather than an "add-on" like this.
$550 as shown
Electronic equipment is up to about 18 inches wide, so two units fit comfortably on top of the 36 inch chest of drawers. Only a little over 4 inches height was allowed , including room for ventilation. The shelf was 14 1/2 inches deep, to allow room for wiring and ventilation behind the drawers and shelf.
The base was 18 inches deep, fairly normal for a chest of drawers. But the TV shelf on top was 22 inches deep to accommodate the original TV. Although the front of the TV is heavier, the center of gravity was still less than 18 inches from the wall.
Media drawers to hold all types of media need to be 5 3/4 inches high inside, These drawers are solid walnut fronts and sides with blind dovetails in the front, and through dovetails in the back. (The sides and back are Walnut sapwood, rather than heart wood.) Remember that people cannot see into drawers this high, so plan on pulling them out to look at the contents, then sliding them back in their slot. Or consider just using a shelf rather than drawers.
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