Do It Yourself – Custom Entertainment Center


No one would argue that family life centers around the dining room table – and why not? Great food, warm, inviting atmosphere and familiar conversation. But once the meal is finished, the table cleared and the dishes done, parents and kids alike usually migrate into the family room for an evening of TV or music. Everyone gathers around the  entertainment  center to unwind and enjoy a well-deserved rest.

The  entertainment  center has been a staple of modern families for decades and while it’s easy to pull out the credit card at the local department store, a custom built unit you make yourself will bring years of enjoyment and pride. This is an easy, do it yourself at home project that doesn’t take a lot of time, is

relatively inexpensive and can be built with tools you probably already own but there are a few things to consider.

Size Does Matter

The biggest consideration will be the size of the unit. Room size will be the determining factor with a consideration toward how big a TV will need to fit. Will the unit contain storage for DVD’s or books?…and are there electrical outlets near the intended location?

Back To Basics

You don’t need half the inventory at the Home Depot tool department to complete your project (although it would be nice to have!). The main tools you’ll need are a measuring tape, saw and screwdriver. Of course powered tools, like a skill saw or tablesaw and electric screwdrivers make the job that much easier. Electric sanders, brackets and or wall mounts, fastening materials like screws and finish nails along with stains, and brushes will nicely round out your arsenal.


Although hardwoods like oak and maple can be used, 3/4 inch plywood will do the job and be sturdy enough to complete the task. It will also save you a little green and of course, money has to be a consideration is nearly everything we do nowadays.

Plan Ahead

Make a drawing or sketch of your project. It doesn’t need to be a massive 6 page artist’s rendering but should include measurements or at least estimates of the general size and shape. This will give you a general idea of the amount of materials you’ll need and an idea of the overall costs. Color and finish are factors but can be decided once parts have been cut and dry-assembled to give you a feel for the finished unit.

Also, it may not occur to you at this point but don’t discount the possibility of one day needing to move your  entertainment  center. A modular unit built with this in mind will save you time and headaches you can do without. Will it be easy to dis-mantle and re-assemble in its new location?

After constructing the frame, you will want to think cabinet size/shape and shelving. This wants more attention to detail than the frame simply because even a small mistake will show here. Precise measurements between cabinet walls is essential at this point. A miscalculation here could cost you another trip to the hardware store or an out-of-square cabinet.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Once the measurements are made and the pieces cut, you’ll want to assemble them without glue or nails. This insures you first measured correctly, and secondly you had the eye hand coordination to cut straight. If everything dry fits, give yourself a pat on the back, you’ll have sawdust on you anyway!

Final Approach

Final assembly can be done either in the workshop if the unit is small enough to be handled by two people or can be brought piecemeal to the final location if you decided on the modular approach. Once assembly is done, insure the unit is stable so it doesn’t tip once your TV, stereo, books and what-not have been loaded into it. If necessary, wall brackets can be mounted to add more stability.

Now, invite the family in to showcase your creative talents and marvel in your, I mean the  entertainment  center’s splendor!

Source by R. F. Berry

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