Loving the vibe of a popular new media center you’ve spied online? Before settling on a trendy design, make sure it can expertly accommodate your electronics and conceal those unsightly cords, or you might experience buying remorse.
We get it. That mod, mid-century media console or tidy farmhouse TV stand is dead on for your decor. But as the saying goes, looks aren’t everything. Don’t get seduced by sumptuous finishes or alluring designs that don’t have a spot for your sound bar.
Media center aesthetics are important but not at the expense of practicality. And by practicality, we mean storage. This fundamental living room piece has evolved through the years. Today, it houses all manner of electronic gadgets, starting with that big, remotely controlled rectangle you watch on the reg. It’s even trickier when you figure in video game consoles, cable boxes, streaming devices and speakers.
Design, size and configuration are all essential factors to consider when picking the best media center for your electronics. Just three simple questions will help you decide if the media console you’re eying is an elegant solution for your tech.
Is the media center big enough for your TV?
Before you start mapping out where exactly your electronics will go in a media center, you need to know it’s large enough to support your television. The center’s dimensions—specifically width and height—will depend on the type and size of your TV. The viewing distance, or how far away you sit when watching, also figures in.
Consult a TV stand size guide for details, but before you do, be sure to measure the diagonal width and actual width of your screen. TV sizes are based on the diagonal measurement, so a 55-inch screen is actually about 48 inches wide. You may also want to look up your TV’s weight, especially if you’re considering a smaller media cabinet or stand. The weight disparity by size and brand might surprise you!
Now for a quick but oh-so-important furniture physics lesson. Your media center should always be 2 to 5 inches wider than the TV’s horizontal width. Not only is a top-heavy setup unstable, it looks odd and will throw your room’s balance off-kilter. Protruding TV edges also are more likely to get bumped or caught on clothing, creating incidental contact that could end in a 4K disaster. Gasp!
Wanting to display some greenery or tabletop décor next to your TV? Increase your surface area with a 70-inch TV stand or one that’s even 80 inches wide.
Is there a good spot for a gaming console or even two?
More than half of all U.S. households had at least one video game console in 2021, and holiday spending on tech products and services that year was projected to hit $142.5 million. Video game consoles and TVs were two of the top five tech wish list items.
Sometimes, the media center in the main living area provides permanent lodging for two gaming consoles. However, not all entertainment centers are created with gamers in mind. Today’s high-powered gaming consoles need plenty of room for airflow so they don’t overheat. Thankfully, they can be positioned vertically or horizontally to fit the available space.
Finding the right spot for a gaming console is just one piece of the media center puzzle, though. Those modern marvels can’t light up the TV screen and entertain for hours without electricity. Make sure you can easily run cords to the back of the units. A media center with an open shelf or well-placed cutouts should cover all your connectivity needs.
The best entertainment center for gaming won’t just have room for a console or two—it will have the ideal spot for them. Remember, your media cabinet is a focal point. Haphazard placement of electronics and exposed wires is the fastest way to kill that well-kempt look you want. Get creative with how you stow its contents, and neatness will prevail!
Is the media center right for my audio components?
Amazing audio is part of any immersive entertainment experience. If you’ve invested in the highest-quality hi-fi experience, your media center needs to bring its A game. Is it correctly configured for optimal audio?
Audiophiles in particular will want to pay special attention to whether a media console is suitable for multiple components like an A/V receiver, surround-sound system or long, skinny sound bar. Again, these items need clearance to stay cool and perform at the highest level. Purchasing a media center online can be risky from an audio standpoint. Consider scouting this piece on the showroom floor to make absolutely certain it ticks all the boxes.
If your setup happens to include floor-sitting subwoofers, measurements will be key. You’ll need to account for the media center’s width plus the width of the speakers. Having your living room dimensions handy could also be helpful when doing your media center math.
We invite you to browse our delightfully diverse mix of modern entertainment centers. Our interior design consultants are always available to help you find a media center that meets your audiovisual criteria and looks good doing it! Contact us today to schedule a showroom visit.