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Upgrading your Entertainment Center

©2009-2013 by Charles A. Plesums, Austin, Texas, USA

The popularity of the new "flat panel" televisions has led to quite different requirements for entertainment centers. Changing an existing entertainment center to take advantage of the new technology can involve a transplant - replacement of some components while keeping the others, or some creative design tricks.

New center console

Our client had a custom built maple entertainment center with tall cabinets on the left and right, and a media console in the center to hold the TV. With the new wide-screen TV he replaced the center cabinet. Great idea, but the original cabinet makers were no longer in business. The first (relatively inexpensive) replacement didn't match the existing cabinets. I was asked to try again. This is the final result.

The piece we made was the 50 inch wide center cabinet, with two drawers, half the total height (as specified), two sections for electronics that are the other half of the height, and a flat top where the existing speaker stand and TV could be placed. With the front totally open, ventilation was not an issue.

The original cabinets were fine, except that the legs were not made from maple, thus didn't match. And as you can see, the style of the first replacement cabinet for the center didn't match at all.

While we were making legs for the new center cabinet, we also made maple legs to replace those on the original side cabinets. I think we did pretty well matching the style of the original cabinets. These pictures were taken the day the cabinet was installed - we expect the maple to darken slightly so the color will match as well.

$1,050 for the center TV Stand, built to match

Rolling TV Console


This entertainment center was a fun design challenge. The homeowners normally watched TV at one end of a long narrow living room. A couple easy chairs were near a fairly deep alcove in the side of the room. The plan was to normally keep the TV in the alcove, convenient for viewing by two people. If a larger group wanted to watch TV, pull the TV out, visible from the whole living room. The TV would be on a rolling cart that could be stored (and used) in the alcove, or rolled out for group viewing. Casters were hidden under the cart (minimal clearance to roll on the hardwood floors) The associated electronics were on a shelf under the TV, with media or other storage in the drawers.

When the TV was in the alcove, there was room for additional bookcase storage. To make best use of the available space, tall bookshelves were put on the side of the alcove (rather than the back). The bottom portion of the bookshelves, which would be blocked by the TV cart, can be accessed for storing long items through doors on the front - what might be called the side of the bookcase. In this photo, the TV cart is partially forward. A picture will eventually go on the wall, above the TV, between the bookcases.


$1,350 for the entertainment center cart with 4 drawers,
Bookcases $950 each, $1,800 for two
$3,100 total for all three pieces

Traditional TV Entertainment Center

The popularity of the new "flat panel" televisions has led to quite different requirements for entertainment centers. We can build whatever type you want.

Walnut Entertainment Center

The entertainment center is flanked by two separate bookcases, each 24 inches wide. The Electronics Cabinet in the center is 40 inches wide, with special bracing to support the extraordinarily heavy television set. A shelf for a center speaker is just above the TV. Under the TV are four drawers, with solid walnut fronts, sized for video tapes, CDs, and DVDs.

The electronics are at the top, behind glass doors (with solid walnut frames) to allow remote controls to be used without opening the doors. Special provision were made for ventilation and wiring at the back of the top cabinets.

Entertainment Center with doors open

$1,850 for the entertainment center alone,
$4,250 total with the two extra deep library bookcases

Construction Details

This client recognized that the doors that hide the television in some entertainment centers are rarely (if ever) closed, so elected to leave the TV and speakers visible. She also preferred a relatively low height for the TV, so the electronics were placed above, rather than below, the TV. In the upper position, other furniture is less likely to interfere with the remote controls for the electronics, which work through the glass doors. The tape and DVD units are at the bottom of the electronics stack, so are easily reached, with the other electronics above them. Special steps were taken to provide ventilation for the electronics through the back of the cabinet, so the doors could remain closed when they are in use.

The overall height of the unit is 84 inches (7 feet) so it would stand slightly above the bookcases at either side. The television is almost 38 inches wide, allowing a 40 inch wide cabinet with two stacks of electronics, side by side. The television is 25 inches deep, but most of the weight is at the front, and other components only needed an 18 inch depth, so the cabinet is 18 inches deep and stands about 8 inches away from the wall, with the TV protruding from the back of the cabinet. The bookcases hide the back of the TV, leaving lots of room for ventilation and wiring behind the cabinet.

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This entire site (layout and contents) ©2003-2013 by Charles A. Plesums, Austin, Texas USA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

We primarily serve Austin and the Central Texas area, but travel to the DFW area periodically and are glad to serve the Garland, Plano, Dallas, and other North Texas areas, and are willing to ship anywhere.