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That’s Entertainment! How to Choose the Right Entertainment Center for Your Space

It’s late January, heading into February which means not only is it cold outside, but there are a lot of big television-watching events happening now.  Whether a sports fan gearing up for the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, an awards show fan making your way through the Golden Globes to the Oscars, binge watching your new favorite show on a snowy weekend, or throwing a game night, chances are you’re going to be spending a fair amount of time looking at your television during the winter months.  The placement of your television plays an important role in your enjoyment of watching it.  It needs to be the right height, and not have glare from various light sources.  It can get a bit tricky getting everything right, so let’s take a look at how to pick the right entertainment center for your space.

Decide On A Type

The first thing to do is decide what type of entertainment center will work best in your space and with your decor.  There are a few different types of entertainment centers.  One of the largest are wall units.  These units are like bookcases for televisions, as they surround the TV with shelves, drawers and other storage options.  TV consoles are probably the most common type of entertainment center.  They are long cabinets you place your TV on top of and feature shelves and/or cabinets for storage.  If you want to keep your television hidden when not in use, consider a TV armoire.  These units usually contain the TV behind cabinet doors.  They’re also a good option if you have more vertical space available than horizontal.  If chilly evenings are a concern, you can also find TV consoles with built-in electric fireplaces below the television.  Certain types will fit in better in different decors.  Minimalists will likely prefer a wall mounted TV with a slender console underneath, while those with dedicated media rooms would likely benefit from a wall unit.

Measure, Measure, Measure

Once you’ve selected a style you like, it’s time to take lots of measurements.  First, measure the space you have available for your entertainment center.  You don’t want to end up with a piece that’s way too big, but too small and it may look out of place.  The next important measurement is the size of your television.  Even if you think you know the size of your TV, measure it again.  The screen size noted on the box is measured across the diagonal, and doesn’t indicate the actual height and width of the TV itself.  The third measurement is to determine your seated line of sight.  For comfortable viewing the lower half of the television screen should be level with your line of sight when you’re sitting on the sofa or chairs that surround it.  Mark where your line of sight is, and then make sure the shelf the TV will be on is no more than 12 inches below that measurement.  This measurement is still important even if using wall mounts, since you need to know where the TV is going to be to know how tall of a table can be placed underneath it.

Remember Cord Management

Some people have started to run their cords behind the walls for clean looking walls, and in this case cord management in your entertainment center isn’t going to be too big of an issue.  But some people aren’t lucky enough to be able to do this (especially renters), so you’ll need to take cords into consideration.  There’ll be a cord for the television itself, and then depending on how many other things will be connected to the TV, there could be any number of other cords to have to neatly wrangle.  Cable boxes, soundbars, video game systems – all will add wires that you want to keep out of sight.  Make sure to look for a console or unit that has at least one hole drilled in the back for cords.  Depending on the layout of shelves and cabinets two may even be better.  If you have really unique cord management needs, at least make sure you get a piece that you can drill holes in yourself.

Think of Storage

It can be easy to forget about storage when you’re focused on the TV, but remember to consider your storage needs.  Are you going to need shelves for the cable boxes, soundbars, and/or video game systems mentioned in the previous paragraph?  Are you going to want a cabinet to keep movie cases nearby but out of sight?  Once you take inventory of how many things you need to store you can more easily choose a piece that will meet all of your needs.

At first thought it seems like it should be easy to pick out an entertainment center – but really there are a lot of little considerations that are easy to forget.  Luckily with so many options available, once you’ve determined what type and size entertainment center you need it is still easy to find one that’s perfect for your space.  And once you’ve got your TV in its new entertainment center, you can finish getting your living space ready to party.

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