Home Entertainment Centers
Entertainment centers have been around for a long time in one form or another. Years ago, a visit to a furniture store would yield two or three different types of centers that were made to house all sorts of stereo equipment. Your choices going this route were pretty limited.
You could also contract with a custom cabinet builder to construct a center that had all of the bells and whistles. But this path was often taken by the wealthy and those who had just hit the lottery.
The fast growing trend of entertainment as a whole caught the eye of the cabinet companies that for years produced kitchen and bath cabinets. They were already set up to produce stock and semi-custom cabinets. Providing different entertainment center possibilities was not too much of a stretch for them. The result is a huge dividend for ordinary consumers such as you and I. You can visit just about any kitchen cabinet showroom and walk out with a brochure showing you all sorts of entertainment center cabinets. These different components can be mixed and matched to fill just about any alcove or wall space that you wish to dedicate to home entertainment.
The cabinets used in entertainment centers are not much different from regular kitchen cabinets. Well, that isn't entirely true. Some of the cabinets are huge! Take my TV tower for example. The cabinet was so big that I had to cut it into two pieces to get it down my basement steps! Be sure you think about this before you sign a custom order!
How did I cut this cabinet without any visible signs of damage after it was reassembled? Two things worked in my favor: first, the TV tower was 6 inches taller than all of the rest of the cabinets. Who would know if I shortened it by 1/4 inch? Second, the cabinet had nearly full coverage drawers below the TV area. These drawers covered the cabinet frame to such an extent that you can only see 1/8 inch of frame on either side of the drawer front.
My father-in-law, who builds cabinets as a hobby, suggested that I use a router with a brand new 1/4 inch bit to do the job. I built a frame that was attached to the covered sides of the TV tower that the router glided on to keep the cut straight and uniform. The result was perfection. Unless I point out the fine line on the sides of the cabinet, you can't tell where I cut it.
The High Spot
Before you start to install a wide expanse of cabinets like mine, you need to find the highest spot in the floor. Then reference this spot in relation to the TV tower. I found that I had to shim up my TV tower 1/4 inch to make sure that its bottom was level with the highest spot in the floor.
I then installed the TV tower first and worked away from this cabinet going to each corner. One of the things that made assembly simple was that the different cabinets had different depths and heights. This actually makes alignment rather easy.
The only aspect that is critical is to make sure the heights of the side cabinets were in line. This makes installing the decorative crown mold a cinch.
Creating the Design for My Center
I didn't do the plan for my entertainment center. It was important to me to make sure that the available space was fully utilized and that the look was superb. This is why I made sure a professional designer created the plan for my entertainment center.
I urge you to visit a local cabinet company that just sells cabinetry. They usually have trained planners who have taken many design courses and often are tested before they are granted a certification.
The extra time spent working with a professional will pay off because they know where problems happen and how to maximize a design for your needs.