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What to Look for in Quality Entertainment Centers

  • Entertainment centers really depend on the type of room and how much space you have to accommodate one.
  • Know your TV size. Measure the width, height, and depth just in case.
  • There are so many options for entertainment centers. Everything from simple TV Stands, Consoles, Carts, and Plasma Units to Entertainment Armoires, and Full Home/Wall Theaters.
  • The bigger units are broken into either 3 or 4 pieces. The TV Base/Console, 2 Piers with a light bridge (usually adjustable) or just the Top Hutch.
  • There are basically two kinds of doors available: Piano Hinge/Wrap Around Doors. With these doors you need to have enough space on each side to accommodate the swing of the door. There is also Pocket Door which slides into the piece so you don't have to worry about the space on the sides.
  • With all of the new flat panel televisions that have hit the market retailers have come out with some nice pieces to adapt to this new technology that is a lot thinner than traditions tube televisions.
  • Remember your stereo equipment and where it is going to be placed. If their are attachable piers on the sides make sure the width inside is enough to fit all of your equipment.
  • If there are shelves make sure they are adjustable and fully finished on both sides/back and front.
  • Some of the entertainment centers allow you to hide your electronics with mesh or solid doors that slide out so you can later replace them with glass if you would like to.
  • Don't forget about your television. It makes a difference if it is a flat screen, rear projection, or a tube television. Not only can flat screens hang on the wall but there are entertainment centers that are made for them that aren't as deep as the ones needed to fit a rear projection or tube television.

    The Basics: What you Should Know

  • Dovetail joinery (Sliding, Thorough, or Half/Full Blind Dovetails) - Resists pulling apart and gives the drawer strength.
  • Corner Blocks - adds strength and support
  • Dust Panels between drawers - this prevents dust and wood shavings from getting into the drawers under it.
  • Wire Management - Look for the cut outs with plastic or metal grommets
  • Sanded/Finished Interior Drawers - This prevents splinters and shows a finishing touch to the piece.
  • Drawer Guides - I have always been told that wood on wood guides are the best because over time the wood oils itself. Metal on metal is good too, though it can bend. Ball-Bering metal guides are also very good. I would try and stay away from Wood and Metal mixes - the metal will shave the wood down over time.
  • Solid Wood Framework - Woods such as Cherry, Birch, Mahogany, Pecan, Oak, and Alder are just a few.
  • Removable Wooden Back Panel - in applicable units. Some slide vertical while others are horizontal so you don't have a big hole left in the back of the unit.
  • Built in Cable and Electrical Outlets as well as cord and wire management.

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