How to Modify an Entertainment Center to Fit a HDTV

Introduction: How to Modify an Entertainment Center to Fit a HDTV

You see these entertainment centers for sale at garage sales and on curb sides everywhere. People are getting rid of their old entertainment center because they cannot fit their new HDTV inside.

This instructable will show you how I modified my parents' old entertainment center so it looks like one of the new expensive HDTV entertainment centers.

Tools Used:
- Hammer / Mallet
- Crowbar
- Skillsaw (can use any saw appropriate for wood)
- Drill
- Wood Glue
- Finish nails (for trim)

Tools recommended but not required:
- Pencil
- Clamps
- Metal Straightedge / Level

Step 1: Remove the Top Trim and Mantle

Remove trim from top using a crowbar or hammer claw.  This can be difficult because the trim is likely both glued and nailed into the top mantle piece.

Use a mallet to remove the top mantle from the sidewalls.  Pound in an upward direction.

Note: Mine was glued with wooden pegs for strength, but you need to be more careful if it is attached by metal hardware (nails, screws, etc).

Step 2: Cut Down Side Walls

Decide how tall you want the new entertainment center to be and measure the base stand of your new HDTV.  Good HDTV placement is so that when you are sitting in your favorite chair, your eye level meets the bottom of the tv viewing area.

Measure cut line from the top.  The top of the sidewalls were level, so the top is the best place to measure from.

Choose a saw and do whatever you can to ensure the cut is straight. We clamped a metal guide rail to the sidewall then ran a skill saw along the guide.  Made a very straight and clean cut.

Step 3: Re-glue Top Mantle and Trim

Bring top mantle back in and check fit. Also mark for re-gluing the wooden pegs. Drill holes in the walls that line up with the wooden pegs in the top mantle. Peg holes should be just barely bigger than the pegs themselves.

Glue and place mantle, use the mallet again if the pegs are a tight fit in the holes you drilled. Add a heavy weight on top while the glue dries to ensure a good bond. Can put your tv up there, weighs plenty.

Finally, re-attach the top mantle trim with staples, nails, glue, etc.

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    9 years ago on Introduction

    I'm an installer with a home theater company (Diamond Case Designs) and we get asked a lot about modifying entertainment centers. You are right a lot of people have perfectly good centers they just don't fit current HDTVs. Or they want to upgrade to a larger TV. My work put together an article that has some additional tips that would be worth checking out for someone interested in a modification. You can check it out by clicking the following link. I hope it helps.

    i was thinking, since i ambehindin everything, and this project would take me a lot of time, alternative.when they delivered the center, many years ago, the lacquar top was a bit scratched, so i complained and they went to the truck where they had a brand new top which they popped on. They left the original top, i guess they didn'twant to carry it back out.
    it is the width of the unit, a bit longer since there is a inch onerhang .
    i waas thinking of attaching that to the front at flat screen height, asnf attaching a swing out flat tv holder, this way i can change the angle. I may already have the bracket, as every time i see them on sale , with free shipping i buy them.
    i would also like to o figure a way to suspend a pc monitor from the ceiling over the bed, with a way for it to retract up out of head banging way.
    i am not sure what material is under the lacquer on the tv center, i would like to use a couple strong hinges on one side, this way i can get to contents behind the flat screen. i did purchase a kreg pocket hole screw kit, i wonder if that would beef up the connection, the r top must be 20 to 30lbs by itself . looks like the only place to attach it would be the side walls,bulkhead of the center, maybe hinges on one side and a hinge with a removable pin on the other side? i really need all the storage i can get. any suggestions , otr reasons why this wouldn't work, i really don't want to spin my wheels, as i have so many projects and seem to keep spinning my wheels, or going backwards, which causes more tools out, and less organization which =3x the time to do something

    nice work, i have been staring at my e center for awhile ,planning on doing the same thing. i doubt mine will come out as nice as yours so i have to have pieces of wood ready to use as trim to cover the rough spots. my e center is black lacquer, so cutting the lacquer pieces will be rough.i am on the same thought process as you, many of my neighbors have been tossing out their old e centers for new furniture. i thought about just placing the new tv , when i get it, on the wall to get more space, but i still will need storage underneath for peripherals.
    i just cant see the sense of throwing out functional stuff, to buy stuff that will do the same. I guess that is why we most of us are here.
    thanks for the instructable, i was looking to see if anyone else had gone through with it , and congrats, you did.