Entertainment Center Ideas

Those contrasting display shelves make this one of our most unique entertainment center ideas—you'd never find this meticulously designed piece at the store.

Are you looking for entertainment center ideas for your home? Typically these pieces are found in the part of the home where the family most often gathers to spend time together in a very casual and relaxing environment—so naturally, you’ll want something that reflects your taste and meets your needs of the space.

Here, an entertainment center is being defined differently than cabinet built-ins that flank a fireplace column. You would usually find an entertainment center in a casual, isolated family room, a basement theater type area, or a large playroom/game room.

What is a Home Entertainment Center? 

There’s a difference between an entertainment center, and built-ins that flank a fireplace column. Entertainment centers are found in a casual, isolated family room, a basement theater type area, or a large playroom/game room. But just because they aren’t in the main thoroughfare of your house, you still want them to look nice and go with the decor in your home. 

When homeowners begin looking for entertainment center ideas, what they are often seeking is a spot to showcase their television and accompanying accessories. Items like DVD/Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, remote controls, and stereo equipment often find a home in the entertainment center. Large entertainment centers can also serve as storage for blankets and include display areas for books, photos, and artwork.

Those contrasting display shelves make this one of our most unique entertainment center ideas—you'd never find this meticulously designed piece at the store.

This was a custom built-in entertainment center for The Fox Group owner’s home. They wanted a built-in that would hide blankets, kid’s toys, games, and books. The oak lids beneath the television lift to provide easy access to blankets. The drawers provide ample toy storage, placed low to the floor for easy access by young kids, and behind the cabinet doors there are bookshelves. I added visual details with our oak-lined bookcases above the television and brass hardware and this has a bright, coastal feel to match the rest of this space.
PROJECT DETAILS
White Cabinet Paint: Simply White by Benjamin Moore
Cabinet Door Detail: V Groove Board fronts
Wood Fronts and Shelves: Plain Sawn White Oak, clear coat.
Floors: Plain Sawn White Oak
Cabinetry Design: C.S. Cabinetry

Above and beyond the functionality of an entertainment center is the inherent value that built-ins can add to your home. Rather than bringing in outside furniture pieces that are often less well-made and subject to the ebb and flow of interior design trends, having your own custom built-in entertainment center created specifically for your home inevitably increases its charm, purpose, and style. And because they remain with the home, resale value can also receive a notable boost for an excellent return on your investment.

Custom Entertainment Center Design

A custom entertainment center can create flow and function in a room that fits your family. A few things to consider when working on your custom entertainment center design:

How will the room be used by your family?

Who will be using the room the most? Will it need to focus on the needs of small children? Teenagers? Adults? The entire family? What are the interests of whichever group you determined would be utilizing the entertainment center most? Will there be other items in the room (gaming tables, etc.) that will need to have space or is there space for the entertainment center to be a large focal point?

What do you want to store?

Is your family big on board games? DVDs? Extra blankets for movie night snuggling? Are there lots of toys you want to store in the entertainment center? Think about these things when you’re designing the storage parts of the entertainment center and whether or not you want those things on display.

What do you want to hide?

Speaking of which, what are you looking to hide with your entertainment center? Many clever and unique entertainment centers include the ability to hide outlets, electronics, wiring, and even A/C ductwork. If your entertainment center is built in the right place, in the right way, you can cover up a host of unsightly things that most people without built-ins just feel they have to live with.

A custom built in entertainment center can be crafted to hide and store your electronics with custom bi-fold cabinet doors like this. Close the doors and you’ve got a beautiful living room.
A custom built in entertainment center can be crafted to hide and store your electronics with custom bi-fold cabinet doors like this. Close the doors and you’ve got a beautiful living room.

Do you like open shelves or prefer doors and drawers?

As for the actual content of what the entertainment center is storing, do you have a preference for whether or not you can see it all the time? For many people, a large portion of a built-in entertainment center’s appeal lies within its power to conceal. Whether that means a quick cleanup of toys before guests arrive, not having to see the unmatched movie cases in disarray, or simply shutting the doors over the television screen, having doors and drawers can be a great option for your customer entertainment center. However, if you’re more into open shelving and creating a display center out of your space, keeping things open (sans doors and drawers) would probably hold more visual appeal for you.

What do you want to focus on?

All that said, what is it that you want to focus on? No matter what, your entertainment center is there to increase your style footprint, on top of its functional duties. So are there certain aesthetics that you want your entertainment center to highlight? Is there a cabinet front design you want to carry over from other parts of the house? Unique cabinetry hardware? Display shelves to focus on favorite family memorabilia? Don’t get caught up in thinking that an entertainment center’s job is simply to house the tv and tuck away other electronics. Your entertainment center’s focus should be completely unique to your family’s and your interests and style.

These are just a few of the initial questions you can ask yourself to help you narrow down your options. At that point, you can further refine your choices based on your answers. Also note that the cost of your built-in entertainment center will vary greatly depending on the materials you use, the size of the unit, and the various options you choose to include.

Custom Entertainment Center Ideas

As we’ve talked about, when you begin looking for entertainment center ideas it is most important to consider how you and your family will be using the space and what items you’ll need to store. Remember to ask specific questions such as: Is this a gathering room that will need to accommodate a variety of activities such as high-tech gaming along with low-tech gaming (board games)? Do you have a large collection of DVDs or collectible vinyl albums to store? Would you like to incorporate lighting into the display areas? These are just a few of the questions for you to consider when exploring customizing entertainment center ideas.

Those contrasting display shelves make this one of our most unique entertainment center ideas—you'd never find this meticulously designed piece at the store.

This was a custom built-in entertainment center for The Fox Group owner’s home. They wanted a built-in that would hide blankets, kid’s toys, games, and books. The oak lids beneath the television lift to provide easy access to blankets. The drawers provide ample toy storage, placed low to the floor for easy access by young kids, and behind the cabinet doors there are bookshelves. I added visual details with our oak-lined bookcases above the television and brass hardware and this has a bright, coastal feel to match the rest of this space.
PROJECT DETAILS
White Cabinet Paint: Simply White by Benjamin Moore
Cabinet Door Detail: V Groove Board fronts
Wood Fronts and Shelves: Plain Sawn White Oak, clear coat.
Floors: Plain Sawn White Oak
Cabinetry Design: C.S. Cabinetry

Are you looking for entertainment center design ideas for your home? Check out ChristopherScottCabinetry.com for meticulously designed custom built-ins!

Source: Humphrey Munson

Wanting to relax in front of the tv doesn't mean the entire space has to feel super casual. Creating a custom entertainment center means leaving space for all the right elements to make your home worthy of beautiful display.
This wall to wall custom entertainment center uses every inch of available space, but makes it easy to reach with a built in ladder. For more ideas for your home, visit ChristopherScottCabinetry.com!

This Entertainment center from Studio McGee has closed cupboards on the left, and open shelving on the right. The implication is that there is a custom need for closed cabinetry as well as a desire to display items on the open shelving.

Living Room Entertainment Center Ideas

Unique considerations for entertainment center ideas should be made for the living room (as opposed to a great room). A living room is usually more isolated and used as a more formal area. On the other hand, a great room is popular with open-concept home designs where it’s often part of the kitchen, and even dining, area. Living room entertainment centers should be more subtle and less invasive to avoid creating an overwhelming focal point in the room.

20 Things To Consider When Designing Your Entertainment Center

When it comes time to design your custom-built entertainment center, you’ll want to consider the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the room?
  • What will you be keeping in the entertainment center?
  • What style are you drawn to?
  • Are there other cabinets in the room you will need to match or blend with?
  • Do you want it to be a focal point, or blend in with the surroundings?
  • Will it take up an entire wall, be just a lower unit, look like a stand alone piece of furniture, or something else?
  • What are your storage requirements?
  • Do you need easy access to certain elements?
  • Will this be used as a gaming entertainment center?
  • Do you need to make special accommodations for ventilation, plugs, or structural elements?
  • Where will your equipment plug in? Do you need to add additional plugs, or make efforts to hide the wiring?
  • Do you want to incorporate lighting?
  • Do you want it to be painted, stained, or a combination of both?
  • Do you want your TV or other elements to be on display, or would you like them to be hidden?
  • What size constraints are you working with in order to fit your TV, electronic equipment, and other items?
  • How will you be mounting your TV?
  • Who will be accessing the entertainment center the most? Are there special requirements that need to be met so they can get in and out of it easily?
  • What equipment will you need to accommodate in the future?
  • Do you prefer cabinets, drawers, open shelving, or a combination?

Taking a few minutes to answer these questions goes a long way to ensure your entertainment centers perfectly meet your needs.

Built-in vs. Floating Entertainment Center Ideas

As mentioned previously, built-in entertainment centers are built into the room and often include substantial storage or display opportunities. They are designed to be permanently integrated into the walls of your home, and as such are often a focal point due to sheer mass. Which isn’t a bad thing! But if you’re looking for a unique entertainment center with less of a footprint for a smaller space, a floating entertainment center might be a better fit for your needs.

Open shelving is the perfect way to bring lightness to a big entertainment center, but it doesn't mean everything has to be on display. For more of our best entertainment center ideas, check out ChristopherScottCabinetry.com!

This Classic American built-in design brings warmth to this bright, white room with oak drawer fronts and tops against the wood grid wall detail.
PROJECT DETAILS:
White Cabinet Paint: Simply White by Benjamin Moore
Wood Drawer Fronts and Top: Oak, clear coat.
Floors: Plain Sawn White Oak.
Cabinet Design: C.S. Cabinetry
Builder: The Fox Group

Floating entertainment centers can be practical for various reasons. A big reason is that the room’s space is less invaded by a floating entertainment center. In this setup, typically the TV would be suspended on the wall, with surrounding shelving or cabinets also hovering above floor level. With this design, there is minimal impact on the floor space because the shelving or cabinets would be fairly shallow and also off the ground completely. It can give the appearance of more space, while still offering some functional customization and unique visual impact in your home.

Floating entertainment centers can be practical for various reasons. A big reason is that the room’s space is less invaded by a floating entertainment center

Photo courtesy of Home-Designing.com

Entertainment Center Color Ideas

Color is an imporant part of entertainment center design ideas. Many people opt for white (with the many benefits of that option being described below). But that doesn’t mean that it’s the only choice, either. Some choose to design their built-ins as a focal point, choosing greens and blues to draw the eye and lay the foundation for other elements in the room that can be changed out—art, furniture, etc—but with an anchor to built-in design. Others opt for softer gray paint colors that still provide a little contrast while making changing trends or tastes a little easier to transition to.

White Entertainment Center Ideas

A white entertainment center is a wonderful way to keep a room bright and allow your wall art, display items, furniture, and other design elements to pop. White entertainment center ideas also create a beautiful foundation for any style, which is part of why they are so appealing. Just note that white in no way means boring. As with the entertainment center built-ins pictured below, white is key to the clean, vibrant displays that allows the fireplace tile to really shine. The lower cabinets also feature custom cutouts to add even more personality and style. You’ve also seen other white entertainment centers above whose overall designs benefited from touches of warm wood and interesting hardware and cabinet fronts. So we’ll repeat: white is not a boring or basic paint choice. In fact, it can be as exciting as any other color option, if designed properly.

When you begin looking for entertainment center ideas it is important to consider how you and your family will be using the space and what items you’ll need to store. Is this a gathering room that will need to accommodate a variety of activities such as high-tech gaming along with low-tech gaming (board games)? Do you have a large collection of DVDs or collectible vinyl albums to store? Would you like to incorporate lighting into the display areas? These are just a few of the questions for you to consider when creating the perfect custom built-in entertainment center.

Black Entertainment Center Ideas

Even more bold than a well-designed white entertainment center is a black one. You may think it’s over the top but don’t count it out until you consider the benefits. Not only does it make a beautiful and sleek statement in any home, but it has functional advantages as well. Think about movie night where, when the lights dim, there is no longer the glow of your screen reflecting off white or other light-colored paint near the television. Rather than being considered extreme or goth, consider a black entertainment center as a way to permanently set a cozy mood in your family room. Just don’t go this route if your room is very small or dark already due to a lack of natural daylight–the advantages of black paint won’t outweigh the disadvantages in those circumstances.

When you begin looking for entertainment center ideas it is important to consider how you and your family will be using the space and what items you’ll need to store. Is this a gathering room that will need to accommodate a variety of activities such as high-tech gaming along with low-tech gaming (board games)? Do you have a large collection of DVDs or collectible vinyl albums to store? Would you like to incorporate lighting into the display areas? These are just a few of the questions for you to consider when creating the best custom entertainment center.

Black was chosen for this entertainment center to create a bold and unique look. Brass latches were used to create visual interest—we completely designed the doors around this element with thin stiles and rails. Vertical groove boards behind the bookcases and television give the entertainment center a little more defined character. What you can’t see very well in this design is the HVAC air returns that are hidden behind the floating base. The homeowners assumed that they’d have to have air return vents along the front of the cabinet, but by designing the middle of the built-in with a floating base, we were able to allow airflow to the HVAC system while creating a cleaner look for the room.
PROJECT DETAILS
Black Island Paint: Onyx by Benjamin Moore
Hardware: Unlacquered brass latches
Cabinetry Design: C.S. Cabinetry

Custom Built Home Entertainment Center

Entertainment means different things to different families. Whether you like to pile on the couch for a movie marathon, play a competitive round of board games, lounge in a luxury media room, or create a spot where your little ones can stash their coloring books, we can help you create your dream custom entertainment center.

I love the way this built in entertainment center has tons of unique personality but isn't shouting—that way, the entertainment is the thing you can focus on when enjoying this space.

This theater room includes a special custom feature—the lower cabinet door fronts are actually speaker fabric. I knew that in order for this theater room to give viewers the best experience, they’d need to be able to hear the high-end audio system in this room, but I wanted to maintain the polished look, so I fabricated custom cabinet doors with speaker fabric in the door panel. Added bonus—this allows infrared remotes to control electronics with the doors closed too.
PROJECT DETAILS
Paint: Down Pipe by Farrow & Ball
Stage + Wood Details: White Oak, oil finish.
Floors: Plaid Carpet

Entertainment Center Portfolio

If you’re looking for more entertainment center inspiration, take a look at the Entertainment Center portfolio page. That’s where you can find some of my favorite entertainment center designs, and gain some inspiration for your next project. 

FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM to see more of my design projects—kitchens, bathrooms, built-ins, and furniture—along with behind-the-scenes updates and giveaways.

Looking for help with your custom cabinetry and layout design? You can contact me here.

Leave a Reply

Contact Us

Give us a call or fill in the form below and we'll contact you to learn more about your project!