Often semi-custom homes or track homes, have odd spaces or open nooks that don’t work very well with furniture. It’s hard to find furniture to fit just right, and even when it does, it will rarely look as good as something built-in. We had two of these funny spaces in our home. We built a coffee and wine bar in our kitchen and in our family room a space to hold our home entertainment equipment and TV. The out come of both projects were amazing and each project cost us $200 or less!
Cost to hire a pro to build the entertainment center
When we moved into our home, we knew quickly that we wanted some sort of shelving or entertainment center built into the space in our family room. It was just an odd arrangement. For a while we had a chair in that space, while our TV was taking up needless space on the other wall. We received a quote from a company who wanted nearly 3K to build us some shelving and a place to the mount the TV. We decided it was way too much to spend on this so we waited. About a year later, we got the DIY bug and this was our first project working with wood and staining wood.
Building the Entertainment Center Ourselves
Deciding to build the shelving and a place to mount the TV ourselves was the best thing we could have done. There were many options for this space. We could have put in cabinets and shelves. We could have put in a wood wall and then mounted the TV on that. For us, cost was a factor. We wanted to make something nice without spending a lot. The cost of this project was roughly $200. Depending on whether you have the right tools will increase your costs, even if you have to rent the tools. We had the tools necessary to build this. If you’re a DIY’er or going to become one, buy good tools! The savings over the long run, if you own a home and want to make your own updates, will be so worth it.
This was a fairly simply project and only took us a weekend. For the wall mount, I won’t be discussing this, but overall this was built by framing the back using 2x4’s, adding drywall and texture to make it match our existing wall. We then added a TV mount to it. I show a picture of the frame below. I wish I had the steps in pictures, but this was way before I started this blog. But no worries, I am sure I will have a project like this soon enough to share. Another great option for the TV, would be to use wood and stain them just like the shelves. We wanted to change to this, but never got around to it. A wood wall would have looked great behind the TV.
For the shelves, I did all the staining and sealing the wood, while my hubby did all the cutting and assembling. Here’s the supplies we used:
- General Finishes Java Gel Stain
- General Finishes High Performance Polyurethane in Gloss
- Sponge brushes for apply the poly and the stain
- Paper towels to wipe off the stain after it was applied
- 3/4″ skin of birch wood for the tops of the shelves.
- “L” trim for front of shelves
- 1/2″x1/2″ wood to make rails for the sides and back to support the shelves.
- 2x4’s to make the frame for the bottom shelf
- Miter Saw to cut 2x4. 4″ screws were used to secure it
- Electric Drill to pre-drill holes for screws and then to drill the screws into place. 2.5″ screws
- We used a skill saw and clamps to cut large shelves out of a larges slab of wood, but a table saw would work best if you have one.
- Elmer’s Wood glue to glue the from “L” shaped trim to the front of each shelf.
- Finishing nails to secure the tops down. 1″
- 220 Grit Sandpaper and Random Orbital Sander. I love the Makita 5-inch sander.
- A level
- Nitril Gloves
The first thing we did was take measurements of the space we designed. Then we gathered all our supplies from Home Depot and Amazon. The General Finishes Gel Stain and Polyurethane can be purchased from specialty wood working stores, painter’s stores or online places such as Amazon. You can also use another brand of stain. General Finishes Gel Stain is very versatile. It can be used as a stain or a paint.
We cut all the wood as needed to size. We made three identical pieces for the top of the shelves. This was the 3/4″ birch. We decided to use “L” shaped trim to make the shelves appear very smooth. You could also purchase thicker wood and not use trim at all. We went this route to ensure the bottom support rails would not show. The thinner wood is less expensive and using the front trim makes it appear as a thick shelf.
For the bottom shelf, we cut 2x4″ and made a rectangle frame to fit below the 3/4″ top. We cut a 3/4″ piece of birch, 4″ high, for the front of the frame as well. This was eventually glued to the front after it was stained and finished. The rectangle frame was placed at the very bottom and secured to the wall using 4″ screws, placed through the studs.
Once all the wood was cut, I stained all wood with the General Finishes Java Gel Stain. I applied it with a sponge brush and then used paper towels to quickly wipe the stain completely off. I allowed them to dry for a few hours and applied the stain again. I did this a total of 3 times to each piece of wood and to both sides.
Once the wood had dried, I applied 3 coats of General Finishes Polyurethane in gloss. I allowed the polyurethane to dry for a few hours in between coats. Following the label.
I stained the trim pieces and the 1/2″x1/2″ wood pieces and used a poly finish on these as well.
The 1/2″ wood pieces were then attached to the wall where the two upper shelves would reside. These were attached with 2.5″ screws, into the studs. There was a piece on both sides, back and the front. A level was used to ensure that all pieces were level before being secured.
Once all the mounted pieces were secured. The tops were then placed. The top was cut to a depth that would leave enough space to accommodate the “L” shaped trim to be placed in front. We used wood glue on the sides and secured the tops using finishing nails every 12″ or so along the sides and back.
The “L” shaped trim was placed on the front and glued into place. This was butted up against the front of the top piece and glued to the top of the 1/2″ support piece of wood.
The bottom shelf worked the same, except a 4″ tall piece of birch wood was placed in the front and the “L” shaped trim sat right over this and the top piece. So it was not completely flush. The 4″ high, 3/4″ depth birch wood was placed in front to cover the 2x4 frame.
That is all it took. It’s all about cutting things correctly and perfectly aligning them when installing. There are many options for shelving. For this project we wanted it to look this way, but you could simply make a frame and then use a solid piece of wood and lay it on top, without hassling with the “L” shaped trim. You could also do a number of shelving options or install cabinets.
If I were to change one thing now, I would have never done dry wall to mount the TV. I would have used wood planks and gave it a rustic, farmhouse look or just stained wood planks to match the shelving. It would have look amazing and been easier!
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I'm a daughter, sister, twin, mom, wife, aunt, friend, designer, kitchen gadget craze, tech nut, home improvement enthusiast... I love the many hats I wear. My two kiddos are my world. I love reading and writing. I started writing as a graphic and web designer providing content, then started my own blog JennyLeeBlogs which progressed to Perfectly Inspired. I'm an Account Manager by day and Blogger/Web Designer by night. I'm your everyday, 9-5, non-frilly, OCD, driven lady who tells it how it is and my posts will reflect this. I am me, as you are you ~ Love and Respect One Another 🙂