If you've just moved into a new home, or if you've recently renovated your old space, it's likely that there's extra room in your home for something practical and functional. And what better addition to make to your home than a solid and well-built entertainment center? Sure, it might seem like a luxury when you’re first considering the idea. Or you could be put off by the lack of adequate space to accommodate an entertainment center. Fortunately, they come in several designs, and it’s highly probable that you’ll find a way to own an entertainment center that fits right into your home. In this article, we’ll explore some such designs.
What Is an Entertainment Center?
An entertainment center is a piece of furniture that is designed to accommodate gadgets, consumer electronic appliances, and other tech components such as televisions, subwoofers, speakers, video game consoles, and DVD players. Most models of home entertainment centers also have several shelves that can be used to display pieces of art or to store your books.
The Evolution of Entertainment Centers
The history of how the design of an entertainment center as we know it today came to be can be traced back to the design of stereo consoles. Also known as console stereos, these were stereo systems that were popular in the 1960s and early 1970s. They contained audio components like a stereo FM radio and a stereo record charger compactly accommodated in a cabinet. However, as the 1970s progressed, stereo manufacturers began to use grander and more lavish units to suit the styles of the two most popular musical forms from the decade: disco and psychedelic.
Stereo units manufactured in the seventies included built-in light displays that flashed according to the rhythm of the music played in the system. The late 1970s saw the development of stereo systems that came with separate speakers. The 1980s and the 1990s saw stereo systems that came with removable covers, exposing the woofers and the tweeters. Simultaneously, console televisions were also manufactured. These systems housed a television set inside a cabinet, and they continued to be popular well into the mid-1990s until flat-screen televisions took over.
In the 2000s, with the evolution of home theater systems, the concept behind console stereos and console televisions were blended together to form the home entertainment center as we know and use it today. In most home entertainment wall unit designs, the central slot is developed to accommodate a television. The audio and video components come with exclusive connectors that are generally tethered to a dedicated box. They are then plugged into an electrical outlet strip, which requires a surge protector to guard against voltage spikes. Each equipment usually has its own remote control. Inexpensive home entertainment wall unit, it’s not unusual to have a universal remote control that can be programmed to work with most common equipment.
The Structure of a Home Entertainment Center
A home entertainment center is generally manufactured as a self-contained piece of furniture shaped like an armoire or a chest of drawers. Most often, an entertainment wall unit includes three levels. The lowermost level generally extends up to 30 or 32 inches from the ground level and is generally used for storage. It includes cupboards and drawers that can be used to stow away just about anything.
The central section is where the electronics are housed. So, this is where your TV, your speakers, and your gadgets go. The upper level is generally saved for display. Of course, you can always do up a wall unit in the manner you prefer.
How to Choose Your Design
Whether you’re going to buy a wall unit or build one yourself, there are some important factors to consider and keep in mind before you go about doing it. Here are some pointers that will help you choose the ideal design for your home wall unit.
Pick a Style
Entertainment centers come in various styles. They can be elaborate armoires that include lots of shelves and ample storage, or they could be minimalist models that only accommodate the bare necessities. Some of them are simply elaborate TV stands while others can even house a fireplace. Before you go about choosing your design, identify the style you want in your home. This narrows down your choices and makes it easy to identify the right design.
Get the Measurements Right
The next important thing to consider is getting the measurements right. Measure the space you want your entertainment center in, measure your TV and other gadgets, and measure the height available to accommodate the unit. You also need to measure your line of sight and ensure that the shelf intended to accommodate the television isn’t more than 12 inches below that point. This makes your viewing experience comfortable.
Decide on a Color Scheme
Before you zero in on a color scheme, asses the existing theme in your home, and pay particular attention to the colors in the space where you want to install your wall unit. You can decide on a color scheme that blends with the rest of the theme, by picking accent colors that match the rest of the room, or you can pick a contrasting color or a vibrant hue if you want your wall unit to make a bold statement.
Factor in Storage
Sometimes, you can be so focused on choosing a design that accommodates all your appliances and gadgets that you could forget to factor in storage. If you intend to house a video game in your wall unit, you might want to pick a design that comes with enough storage to accommodate the necessary accessories. If you might want to store other items, consider a design that can accommodate it all.
Keep Cord Management in Mind
If you own the house you live in, cord management can be easy because you can run the cords behind the walls according to your needs. However, if you’re renting, then it’s necessary to choose a design that comes with at least one hole drilled in the back for passing the cords through. Depending on the layout of cabinets and the appliances you have, two holes may be even better. Or, you could get a unit where you can drill in additional holes yourself.
Entertainment Center Designs
Building your entertainment wall unit can be a challenge. But with the right inspiration, anything is possible. In this vein, here are some designs that can give you some amazing ideas to draw inspiration from.
A Petite Unit With a Swivel Top
If you’re living in a home with limited space, but still want to own a wall unit, a petite unit that fits into an existing alcove can be your best bet. The design could include a set of cabinets in the lower and middle segments, and you could position the TV on a swivel top that sits at the upper end of the cabinets. Wood is the best material to use for this design, and glass can act as an accessory.
A Chic Media Console
A media console is another great design for homes that come with a limited amount of space. This kind of a wall unit is essentially a TV stand, with a bit of frill added on to it. A media console typically has the lower segment of a full-blown wall unit, The upper cabinets and the side shelving is generally absent. The best part about building a media console is that it’s straightforward and simple. It can also be modified to suit your home’s theme.
An Out-and-Out Entertainment System
For homes that have ample spaces that are begging for an elaborate entertainment center, it’s best to go all out and get the real deal done. Building a comprehensive entertainment center can be a tough challenge, but there are plenty of online videos that can help you get started. In this design, you’ll have ample space to store and display anything you want to. It’s also possible to integrate a fireplace into an elaborate entertainment unit.
Wall-Mounted Entertainment Center
Ever the epitome of efficient and space-saving designs, a wall-mounted entertainment center is fairly easier to build than the other models. You can have as many or as few shelves as you require, and they can all be added or removed according to your needs. All you need to do is allocate the required space for a TV at the right height, and wall-mount the cabinets and shelves around the television set in the manner you prefer.
A Minimalist Unit
A minimalist design can be a bit of a tough task, especially if you’re new to the idea. Some points that can help you get a minimalist entertainment unit ready include adding closed storage options, doing away with doorknobs if you can, and tucking all the cords and wires neatly out of sight. A minimalist unit also doesn’t usually include display shelves because that can cause a break in the simple appearance.
Tips to Build an Entertainment Center
Now that you’ve looked at some popular designs, here are some tips to keep in mind.
An entertainment center may seem like an unnecessary piece of furniture. But once you install a unit in your own home, you’ll see how the system ties the whole room together, and offers versatile utility options, since it can be used as a storage space, a display unit, an audio system, a home theater, and sometimes, even a fireplace. That’s a lot to put into one small space, but a well-crafted design will manage to make it work.