We recently made a long-awaited purchase that adds to the functionality of our the living room. I’ve been on the lookout for almost a year for a better entertainment center for our living room.
I bought our current TV table for a steal about 4 years ago. I think it was about $40 from homedecorators.com
Here it is in our old house.
And the new living room.
It has 2 shallow drawers at the top and an open section below. The drawers hold extra remotes, and the manuals for the TV, cable box and DVD player and a few of Little A’s DVDs. The bottom shelf held the DVD player, cable box and a box of magazines.
I really wanted something taller and wider that would better fit the scale of this space.
At first, I considered some sort of built-in bookshelves, kind of like these beautifully styled shelves that kept distracting me (in a good way) from this Oprah interview last year.
But I never really liked the look of the exposed electronics and the amount of effort it took to keep the cords organized and out of sight.
Plus, bookshelves wouldn’t be deep enough to hold our printer. Our desk area is just to the left of the lamp in the living room picture above. The desk is great for our laptop, but the counter is too small to hold both the laptop and our bulky printer, and with the desk chair pushed in, there isn’t enough room underneath to hold it either.
Also, since our floorplan is so open, I felt like having a printer out in the open would look a little too office-y. Since it’s wireless, we had some flexibility on where to put it. But, none of the cabinets in the area were large enough to hold the printer. I even considered putting it in the pantry, but there aren’t any outlets in there.
When I went on a model home tour last year, I really liked the look of a wall-mounted TV or mirror above an over-sized cabinet.
I looked all over the place, including thrift stores and regular stores without really finding something that fit the style of our decor and fit our budget.
Check out this beautiful scene from the Pottery Barn catalog. I love the different layers of items against the wall and on top of the cabinet.
PB has a lot of really nice-looking options that I liked, but they were way out of the budget.
I was thisclose to getting this buffet from a local thrift store. It was really wide, which was good. I think it was about $75 and I found some really great tutorials here and here about how to pretty it up. But the style, itself, was a little too traditional for me.
I also briefly considered this solid wood dresser from Ikea. It was the right height, but since it wasn’t exactly designed to work as an entertainment center, it would need a bit of tinkering to work for our needs. It was also a little plain looking, but the drawer pulls could be changed out to give it a different look.
I was at World Market a few months ago when I saw this sideboard. I loved the industrial look that the metal gives it along with the faded wood that would match our existing furniture and decor.
I knew it would be perfect. But first, I had to measure the height, width and especially the depth to make sure that it would hold all of our electronics. At 4 1/2 ft wide, just shy of 3 ft high, and18 inches deep, everything checked out.
It was on sale (yay!), but the store was all sold out except for the floor model. So I got a rain check and waited a couple of weeks until it came back in stock.
It came in a huge box, but it was fully assembled except for the interior shelves. To turn the sideboard into a media cabinet, I used a circle drill bit to make a hole into the back of the unit that was wide enough to feed the cords through.
For the DVR box and DVD player, I just made sure that the hole was positioned low enough to be covered by the items once they were on the shelf.
But, then I ran into a problem with the printer. Even though I had measured to make sure that the cabinet was deep enough to hold it, I didn’t take into account that the base of the power cord that attaches at the back of the printer. It was just wide enough to make the printer stick out of the front of the cabinet.
To get around this, I needed to position the hole so that the base of the cord could stick out through it instead of being housed in the cabinet.
To find the exact spot, I put a dab of toothpaste on the back edge of the cord base and then pushed the printer as far as it would go into the cabinet. When I pulled it out, I was able to use the spot where the toothpaste rubbed off on the back of the cabinet to know where to drill my hole. Make sense? This tip also works for hanging up pictures by aligning the nail holes with the hooks on the back.
Here is the hole that I drilled.
And here is what it looks like with the printer in the cabinet. Not pretty, but since this side faces the wall, nobody will see it.
And here’s the printer fitting nicely into the cabinet with room to spare.
I’m already loving the amount of storage that the new cabinet provides. I haven’t quite figured out how I want to organize it yet. But, so far, I’ve stashed some project supplies that were cluttering up the counters. And, I’ve been using the linen box at the bottom right to store Little A’s puzzle boards and books out of sight.
I can’t wait to get the TV mounted so that I can free up the top of the cabinet for some decorative items. As for the old table, I have some plans for it in its new home in the kids’ playroom upstairs.
Has anyone upgraded their entertainment center situation lately? Share how you did it in the comments section.