Ideas + Advice


Entertainment Center Buying Guide + Ideas

When it’s time to buy a new entertainment center for your television, or more complex entertainment furniture to suit all of your electronics, there are some important criteria to consider. Buying the entertainment center that is perfect for your style, the way you live, and the size of your living spaces and equipment requires ample thought and good measurements. Here are some of the most important considerations:

Types of Entertainment Centers and Sizes

There are three main types of entertainment centers -- wall units, TV stands, and media chests.

Wall Units

Large pieces of entertainment furniture with open or closed shelving units compatible with a television and other electronic equipment. They are statement pieces for your home decor as well as very functional living room furniture. These units vary in width and are as tall as 72 inches in height.

TV Stands

TV stands are generally long cabinets that are ideal places for your television to rest. Sizes vary but most are counter height for easy TV viewing. They are more casual home furniture pieces, often with storage underneath. Even very large televisions can sit atop most TV stands due to their flat tabletop surfaces.

Media Chests

These media cabinets are smaller and typically vertical units that can house a TV and other equipment. Some include TV armoire designs and open up to reveal a television behind its doors, a great option for people who would prefer their television and accessories to be hidden at times.

Measuring Your Entertainment Center and TV

Measure Your TV

There are a few measurements that are important. The screen size of your television does not equal the size of the entertainment center. You must know the frame size, including the height and width of the entire unit, as well as how deep the unit is so that it fits securely. You should also allow about 2 inches of space around the TV so that you’ll have room for cables and so your equipment can have good ventilation.

Measure Your Room

The dimensions of your room are important to ensure that you can see the TV well from each spot in the living space.

— Guidelines for TV Viewing Chart —

TV Size Minimum Viewing Distance Maximum Viewing Distance
30" TV 3.75' 7.5'
40" TV 5' 10'
50" TV 6.25' 12.5'
65" TV 8' 15'

Entertainment Placement 

To place your entertainment center and television, consider how your room is laid out. Keep in mind any sightlines that could be an issue. You want your TV screen to be level with your line of sight when you are seated, and not less than 12 inches below that. Also, power outlets and cable lines are important when deciding where to put it. Further, keep your entertainment furniture away from windows so the backlighting doesn’t create glare.

Entertainment Center Feature: Soundbar Shelf

A slim shelf just below the TV is called a soundbar shelf. This feature allows you to place a soundbar or other oblong-shaped electronic. Soundbar shelves come with cord holes at the back, allowing you to plug the speaker in with ease.

6 Entertainment Center Decor Ideas

1. Modern Placement

A TV surrounded by modern organization: clean zig-zags of shelves, cubbies and drawers. 

2. Wall Entertainment Center

A full wall is always better than a stand! Go big or go home if you want an entertainment center that truly entertains.

3. A Million Little Things

We spy with our little eyes: books, a vase, a planter, a decorative box and a figurine. What other entertainmt decor pieces can you spot in this chic setup?

4. Brown Wood

Warmth feels like home: it reminds us of fireplaces, cuddling on the sofa and the safety of indoor lighting. The warmth of brown wood continues this effect!

5. Living Room Chic

The best color for a living room TV setup is grey, which is cool, neutral and cozy.

6. Simplified

Notice that the cubbies overhead aren't overstuffed. Space plays just as an important role as decor!

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.