How to choose the best entertainment center

Choosing an entertainment center is becoming more complicated as options and features expand to accommodate different needs. However, doing a little research can save you time and money when searching for the right entertainment center.

The most important thing you can do before shopping for an entertainment center is take measurements. Measure the space where you plan to put the piece, and the doorway a complete piece will have to be moved through. Although often overlooked, the measurements of your electronics are sometimes the most important. Measure the television, the DVD player or VCR, any stereo equipment, and any game systems that you plan on storing in the entertainment center. These measurements can be vital in deciding the size and shape of the entertainment center you choose. Make sure to allow for room if you plan on eventually upgrading to a television that is larger or of a different shape.

Also consider what you need to store in your entertainment center. Remember you may not be storing just electronics in your entertainment center, but also remote controls, movies, instruction manuals, and books. Many models of entertainment centers come with handy storage features such as extra drawers and shelves designed to store your DVDs, CDs, and VHS cassette tapes.

After you have decided the approximate shape and size you want in an entertainment center, think about what type of design you are in search of. Styles of entertainment centers range from the simple traditional look, to the quaint country design, to the sleek contemporary style. Remember that handles and knobs can be taken off and replaced. A local home improvement or hardware store will have a wide selection of hardware to choose from, giving you the opportunity to bring your own unique style to your entertainment center.

You may also want to consider examining the entertainment center for the quality of the wood and construction. Many less expensive models are made of Sauder or pressed wood. While these models are much more affordable and will likely last several years, they may not have the durability to last a lifetime or withstand frequent moves. If you are looking for a piece that will endure through the ages, consider an entertainment center constructed mainly of solid woods or veneers. These models can be moderately priced or very expensive, but they will more likely be able to stand the test of time.

The veneer is the use of thin pieces of wood glued over a substrate. Veneered wood does not expand and contract as much as solid wood, so it is less likely to be damaged when exposed to varying temperatures and humidity. However, damage to veneered wood can be difficult and expensive to repair. A veneer is generally less expensive than solid wood. Solid wood furniture is strong and durable and easy to repair, but it is more susceptible to environmental changes, expanding when the air is moist and contracting when the air is dry. Because of this, solid wood pieces may eventually show shrinkage or even split.

To save on cost, there is also the option of buying an entertainment center that needs to be assembled. Ready-to-assemble entertainment centers come in a variety of styles and constructions. If you choose this route, make sure the instructions are easy to read and that you have all the tools you will need. Also, find out how long the piece you choose typically takes to be assembled, and add to that time if you do not consider yourself very handy. Remember, it’s best to assemble your entertainment center in the room in which it will be used. This eliminates the inconveniences involved with moving large pieces of furniture through doorways and around tight corners. Another advantage of a ready-to-assemble entertainment center is that it can be disassembled if you move. Remember to save the assembly instructions in case you need them later on.

Whatever entertainment center you choose, take a good look at the floor model that represents the piece you will be getting. Check for damage, scrapes, and cracks. Make sure the piece is stable and not wobbly. If a floor model shows damage or problems, you can expect that it is likely your entertainment center could experience the same thing.

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