Entertainment Center Buying Guide for Flat Screen Television Owners

May 30, 2014 By Chris Stone
Emma Entertainment Center

Emma entertainment center, pictured in honey maple with black glass front

If you browse the pages of a modern design magazine or website, you might notice that the placement of the television often seems an afterthought.

There are exceptions, of course. You will see creative photos floating around featuring televisions sitting on top of stacks of luggage or neatly stained pallets. Otherwise though, it would be easy to believe that everybody either lacks a television in the living room or has decided to hang the TV on the wall, presumably to enjoy its miraculous ability to operate without the need for power wires or any kind of cable box or other hardware.

Fear not though, as there is still hope for those of us who don’t live in a magazine spread.

Unless you completely skipped over the title of this post before reading, you probably already know that we’re going to say entertainment centers. Yes, it’s true. Entertainment centers may be the last bastion of hope for flat screen television owners if living rooms and family rooms are to remain both beautiful and practical, while still affording us the storage space that we need in our real life living rooms.

Contemporary entertainment center designs have come a long way since a couple decades ago, when TV furniture needed to accommodate large, heavy television sets and tended to have a very specific, predictable look and feel. You probably remember more than a few of the old style wall units with the single big glass door protecting an FM receiver and double tape deck. Which brings us to the first step of our entertainment center buying guide, and perhaps the most important:

Measure the Television for your Entertainment Center

Fortunately, measuring for your TV has never been easier. Assuming you own a flat screen TV, depth is not an issue, so you only need to know two dimensions, width and height.

The furniture manufacturer will have specifications that include how much space is available for the TV. All you need to do is make sure that space is bigger than the actual dimensions of your television.

If you are shopping for an entertainment wall unit and you don’t have the television yet, the easiest solution is to look at the television you want online, where you should see length and width specs.

One last tip about television size: as technology gets cheaper, TVs are very common upgrades. If it’s been a while since you got a larger TV or if you watch a lot of television in your home, it’s a good idea to consider getting an entertainment unit with some extra space available in case you get a bigger TV in the future.

Plan Where the Entertainment Center Will be Placed in the Room

When planning for TV furniture in a living room or family room, you usually have to begin with considering the placement of doors, windows, staircases and any other permanent features of your room.

Sometimes there is a single, most obvious placement for the television and entertainment furniture. In some rooms, there will be two or more places to choose from. In this case, you want to think about the seating for each possible scenario.

What kind of seating is going to go in the room and how will it be arranged? Would a certain seating arrangement create any undesirable situations, such as having people facing a bright evening sun or a heavily trafficked doorway?

Think about how close or far people will be sitting from the wall unit. How far away from the television is best? People have come up with a few complicated sounding mathematical ways to answer this question, so here is a more direct answer to the question of how far it is usually recommended to place seating from a modern television:

36 inch TV: Sit 6 to 9 feet away

50 inch TV: Sit 8 to 12 feet away

60 inch TV: Sit 10 to 15 feet away

72 inch TV: Sit 12 to 18 feet away

How Large Should The Entertainment Furniture Be?

This can be the most challenging part of choosing the perfect entertainment center. Going back to those magazines mentioned earlier, it’s tempting to go for the smallest, lowest thing that will fit your TV. This looks great for staging, but a valuable fact to keep in mind is that the most common complaint people have about their home is a shortage of storage space.

The obvious solution for storage is furniture, of course. The living room, usually among the largest rooms in the home, is actually the best candidate to accommodate a rather large piece of furniture.

Victor Wall Unit Entertainment Center

The Victor wall unit measures in at over twelve feet long, offering many doors, drawers and open storage.

Think about it this way: you’re deciding on the piece of furniture that is probably going to be placed against the largest wall in the largest room of the home. Does it make sense to consider going a little bigger? Yes it does.

Customers thank themselves for making the choice to make the most of their floor space with a taller wall unit. Depending on the type of room and how you will use the entertainment unit, you may choose a unit with lots of open shelving, plenty of doors and drawers, or some combination of these.

If you will be showcasing display pieces, another thing to consider is an entertainment center with glass doors and perhaps even some internal lighting. These kinds of features accentuate decorative pieces.

With the above tips in mind, there’s no time like the present to check out our own line of customizable entertainment centers. Each one can be ordered in any of our furniture finishes and colors.

Thanks for reading!