I like most am not made of money. I wanted a quality center piece for my livingroom. I recommend a walk through ikea to see what designs you like. My entertainment center will fit a 55 inch LCD. For this project you will need:
16-20 sheets of veneer (I bought mine at habitat for humanity for $1.00 per sheet).
8-10 sheets of particle board or plywood (I used 3/8 inch particle board. $5.00 per sheet)
2 gallons of contact cement
stain (I used black)
tablesaw, drill, rags
cabinet hinges and handles
wood dowels or biskets
You will need to have a detailed plan drawn out with dimensions for each piece. Glue veneer to both sides of your sheet material and measure the thickness. That way you can figure out your dimensions properly. Once you are happy with your design, you can start preparing your pieces.
Step 1: Preparing the Pieces
I started by cutting the pieces individually. Then glued veneer to the pieces and trimmed. After doing this project once, I highly recommend not attempting it this way. Veneer both sides of each main sheet, then layout your pieces and edge trim. Here are some pics of me wasting time.
Tip for clean edges: cut your edge trim larger than the actual piece. glue both the trim and piece. once the glue is tacky, press together. place the piece on a hard surface and use a sharp razor blade to cut along the edges of the piece. this leaves a very clean edge.
Step 2: Finishing the Pieces
Now that the pieces are complete we need to give them a finish. I used a black stain with polyurethane all in one. I painted it on, let it sit 10 minutes, then rubbed it into the wood with a clean rag. I did two coats to get my desired color.
Step 3: Assembly
I did much of my entertainment center using a tap and dowel method. I have since purchased the tools to use biskets. I liked the inset look on a piece I saw at ikea, thus I inset the panels on mine 1/16th inch. How you put yours together will be determined by your design.
Step 4: False Drawers
I am not a big fan of drawers. they sag, they don't look even when closed, and are expensive to complete. I used two cabinet hinges for each "drawer". they are spring loaded to keep closed and are very adjustable. once fitting was complete, I veneered the front. Note: I used 7/8 inch particle board the these so I could use the hinges.
Step 5: Finishing Assembly
My design is two book cases, a center unit, and a top book shelf. they are four sepperate pieces so if we want to change they set-up, we can. I only have a 42 inch at this time, but will upgrade in the future. hope these tips help you. I had a cabinet maker check it out. He said he would charge $5k to build this for someone. Pretty good use of $350.