Slowly, Amanda and I have been adding pieces to our furniture collection that is more “us,” from replacing our coffee table with a much more “us” one to adding lamps that allow us to add that pop of color we desire. As you may remember from our house tour posts, our current entertainment center looked like this.
This is once again a remenent of my bachelor days. You know, before I knew there was a reason to buy something besides the fuction of the piece. This piece was functional. Thats about all I can say about it.
It had space for all my electronics and was large enough to hold my first television. However, ever since we got our new television, this entertainment center has looked a little on the small side. The console was the exact same width as the television. So, we began looking for a piece that was much larger. A piece that could acutally stand up to our television and rival the attention that a television of this size demands.
However, we weren’t looking for just another media console. We wanted something that was more appealing to the eye. As you know, Amanda and I spend
too many hours on Craigslist searching for anything that would make our house feel more like home. Hell, we even have a weekly post dedicated to just what we have found on that week on Craigslist. Well, in one of those very posts we found our dream solution. Two weeks ago we alluded to the fact that we bought one of our Friday finds and we are finally ready to let y’all in on our decision.
That’s right – we bought a dresser to replace our current entertainment console.
How exactly would we be able to turn a dresser, built for clothes, into a media console? Honestly, we weren’t entirely sure.
We did our usual Googling, but this is one topic that we couldn’t find any help on. Most of the how-to’s we found were teaching how to turn a dresser into an media console by removing the drawers and adding shelves or cabinets. Basically, turning what we find beautiful about the dresser into exactly what we had before. We wanted to maintain the look of the dresser, not destroy it.
Plus, Amanda wanted to hide all the components and never see them again.
So, I did what every man would do in this situation. I grabbed a saw and went to work. Now, in all honesty, I made my share of mistakes, but I hope that I can help others not make the same mistakes I did.
A big perk to my how-to is that it can be done with no power tools. Amanda was happy about this – sometimes I feel like I am the kid in A Christmas Story who wants the Red Rider BB Gun and she is pretty much everyone else telling him that he will shoot his eye out. Except it’s “you’ll cut your figure off.”
Let me start by listing the primary concerns that I had when I began this project:
- To actually use the components, the controller needs to “see” the components
- Electronics put off a lot of heat, which can cause problems if it isn’t allowed to vent
- Will the components fit in the drawers?
Let’s start at the top and address all of these issues.
When you press a button on the remote it sends a infrared (IR) signal to the component telling it what to do. Now, if the controller can’t see the component then nothing happens. That’s why you can’t change the channel from under the blanket on those particularly cold nights.
How would we be able to change the channel while hiding all the components behind the drawer fronts?
This little device is an IR repeater, which acts like a messenger between your remotes and electronics. Basically, all that needs to be seen is that little black rectangle. All you have to do is attact those little circular pieces to the front of your electronics like so:
Then just attach the reciever part anywhere you want. We choose to stick it to the front of our television, since it was black and would blend in with our black television. It transmits the signal directly to your components, even through walls if you so please. As long as you can run the wires, you can change the channel.
The next problem that I was worried about was how would I let the components breathe. They tend to get really hot, especially my Xbox, which will literally melt internally if it gets too hot, wrecking it forever.
Obviously, I didn’t want this to happen.
So, I took a two step approach to solve this problem. First off, I would need to access the back of the components to plug them in anyways so I simply cut larger than needed holes to help with the flow of air. Since the front of the dresser is solid, we can’t see through to the back and the size and shape of the holes doesn’t really matter.
Once the holes were cut in the back, I also cut holes in each of the drawers that would be housing all the goods.
To get these cuts, I used a keyhole saw in the back and I used a regular saw made for wood to cut the holes in the drawers.
Full discrestion here: I did use my power sander to sand the cuts in the drawers smooth, but there is no reason that I couldn’t have used some regular sand paper to do the same thing.
Now call me parinoid, but I felt like just cutting holes really wouldn’t be enough to help the flow of air. So, I attached a fan, and I actually used a fan made for computer cases. The unique feature of this fan is that it is actually temperature sensitive, so in a perfect world it would only turn on when needed. But it has been my experience that our old duplex’s air conditioning can’t keep up with Texas heat, so the fan runs all the time. But, when you are actually using the system you can’t hear it, so it doesn’t bother us at all.
Next was to actually fit the components into the dresser (or should I say media console). Here is where all of my mistakes were made. Honestly, I kind of just expected everything to fit.
Boy, was I wrong. From the amp to my Xbox, it seemed that nothing wanted to work with us. We actually had to retire our dvd player and move the one from our bedroom into the living room, because our old 5 disc player was just too big in every way. When we move, in 7 weeks, I plan on squaring off those drawer cuts to allow the plugs to actually come out the back of the drawer. I’m hoping the components will fit better that way.
After I was done modifying the dresser, Amanda put a fresh coat of paint on the whole thing and sprayed the pulls with a much brighter yellow.
And that is how you turn a dresser into a functional and good looking entertainment center.
Oh, did you want to see a picture? Well, let me remind you of the before.
And the after:
Is there anything in your home that you wish had a little more form with the same amount of function?
P.S. After several nights of gaming and TV-watching, all is cool in the dresser. In fact, the Xbox almost feels like it isn’t even on. Also, the signal that the remote sends is actually better recieved now that we have the IR repeater installed, which is an awesome side effect.
P.S.S. Ever wonder what our pups do while we are painting our projects?
Cullen either rolls around in the dirt or attacks Ranger. While Ranger simply chases his tennis ball around the yard – mostly without any help from us. It might be the cutest thing ever to see him “throw” his tennis ball up in the air and then pounce on it as it rolls around the yard. And yes, that thing you see in Rangers mouth was once a bright green tennis ball.