How to Build an Entertainment Center in Place of the Fireplace
If it is time to cover a fireplace that gets little to no use, building an entertainment center is a viable option. Since the dawn of the flat-screen television, entertainment centers have taken on a new meaning. Mount the TV on the wall above the fireplace mantel and build a wall unit around it for speakers and cable boxes. A bottom section on the hearth houses the components and hides the fireplace opening.
The Wall Unit
Cut the pieces for the wall-mounted TV. Measure the height and width of the TV and add 24 inches to each measurement. Cut two pieces from the 1" by 8" lumber representing the height with the electric miter saw. These are the sides. Subtract 1 1/2" from the height and cut two more pieces for partitions. Subtract 1 1/2" from the width and cut two pieces for the top and bottom.
Mark the top and bottom for the partitions. Measure from the ends of the top and bottom pieces and make marks at 11 1/4 and 12 inches. Put the framing square on the marks and draw lines across the lumber.
Draw lines for the shelves on the height and partition pieces. Make marks at 12 and 12 3/4 inches from both ends of the height pieces. Measure from both ends of the partitions and make marks at 11 1/4 and 12 inches. Draw lines across the lumber as before.
Build the wall unit. Apply glue on the ends of the top and bottom and secure them between the sides with the finish nails. Keep the lines drawn on them facing each other. Secure the partitions between the lines on the top and bottom and then the 1" by 8" by 10 1/2" pieces between the sides and the partitions with the finish nails.
Attach the installation strips. Measure between the partitions and cut two pieces from the 1" by 2" lumber. Apply glue on the ends and one long edge of the two pieces and secure them between the partitions with the finish nails.
Install the wall unit. Locate and mark the studs in the wall around the TV with a stud finder. Secure the wall unit to the wall with 2 1/2" drywall screws through the installation strips.
Measure the fireplace area for the bottom section. Measure the width of the fireplace hearth for the width of the cabinet. Measure the distance from the top of the hearth to above the fireplace opening for the height of the cabinet sides.
Cut the pieces for the cabinet. Cut two pieces from the 1" by 12" lumber for the sides of the cabinet with a circular saw. Subtract 1 1/2" from the width and cut two pieces for the top and bottom of the cabinet.
Build the cabinet. Apply glue to the ends of the width pieces. Secure them between the sides at the top and bottom with the finish nails. Measure the space between the top and bottom of the cabinet and cut dividers as needed for support.
Add the dividers. Space the dividers apart as needed for the entertainment center components. Secure them between the top and bottom of the cabinet with the finish nails.
- Set the nail heads with a nail set and fill the holes with putty if desired.
- Sand both units completely before applying a finish.
- Cut and install a 1/4" back on the bottom section if preferred.
- Drill access holes through the 1/4-inch back for component cables.
- Do not apply a finish to the entertainment center in an enclosed area.
- Do not leave power tools within the reach of small children.
Michael Straessle has written professionally about the construction industry since 1988. He authored “What a Strange Little Man,” among other books, and his work has appeared in various online publications. Straessle earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in professional/technical writing.
- Old fireplace image by avatec from Fotolia.com