With today’s flat screen televisions, gaming consoles and myriad components, it’s likely you’ve outgrown your old entertainment center. Now’s the perfect time to update your look, get organized and create a functional media center for the entire family — all without sacrificing a square inch of style.
The first step to finding the right media center is to take inventory of your storage needs. Account for the size and number of electronic components you own or plan to own plus power cords and cables. Add DVDs, books and any other accessories you want to store with your media to the list.
Secondly, consider the space where your media center will go and take measurements. You’ll need to balance your storage needs with the size of the room. That way, you can be sure your media center is properly scaled to your room, so it’s not too large or too small.
Now you’re ready to select the configuration that best fits your needs. There are several options to choose from:
The media console takes up a minimal amount of space while providing storage for all the essentials. Many cabinets offer glass fronts, so remotes work with the doors closed. Create even more space when you mount your flat screen television to the wall over your console and use the top of the credenza for your DVR or framed photos and accessories.
An often inexpensive storage solution is open shelving. You can store all your electronics and media accessories together. Just keep the look neat and organized by using matching baskets to hold movies and games. A side benefit? The open display creates a welcome airy feel in smaller spaces and darker rooms.
Armoire Media Station
If you like a more traditional look and an all-in-one storage solution, choose an armoire or console with hutch. Today’s designs accommodate large flat screen televisions and offer adjustable shelves that fit your ever-changing and growing media needs. Plus, armoires with doors let you hide your television and create a more seamless look.
If you like the look of custom storage but not the price, consider modular storage. It’s the most versatile solution simply because you can mix and match storage units and add on as your media needs grow. Start with a console, add a hutch and flank it with a pair of towers.
Television Tips: Find the right size & placement
You probably want to buy the largest screen that fits your room and your budget, but there is such a thing as too big. When shopping, remember this simple rule: your viewing distance should be about two to three times the screen diagonal. For example, if you have a 42-inch screen, you should be about 7 to 10 ½ feet from the screen for optimal viewing.
When placing a flat screen, be mindful of what position you like to be in to watch television. Do you like to lie on the sofa, sit in an easy chair or lie on the bed? For most people, the correct viewing height is most comfortable at about 12 inches higher than their line of sight.
Mounting the television above the fireplace is a popular placement. However, it typically is too high for viewing without straining your neck. The only way a flat screen mounted over a fireplace mantel works is if the viewers are at least 10 feet away from the screen — not always an easy thing to achieve.