Do you feel like your electronics, video games, CDs, DVDs, and other tech toys are taking over your home? The heap of various systems, power cords, controllers, disks and the peripherals that come with them can turn your home entertainment center into an unsightly mess.
Certainly, the need for attractive and versatile storage options has never been greater. But with some clever display and storage solutions, you can streamline your home media center and turn your entertainment chaos into a manageable mix.
Display versus hideaway
First, decide if you want to keep your media under wraps or on display. There's no right or wrong here; it's just a matter of personal preference.
Some people like to have their large, flat panel TVs out in the open, but want to keep all the other equipment tucked out of sight. If that's the case, look for an attractive TV stand with drawers for media storage. TV stands come in all styles from vintage to modern, as well as different heights - if you or your kids spend a lot of time on the floor playing video games, you'll want something that sits lower to the ground. If not, you may want a taller piece that keeps the TV at eye level while you're sitting on the sofa.
If you prefer to have everything out of sight until you're ready to use it, consider an armoire or entertainment center with doors. Armoires are especially nice for concealing the TV and any associated media clutter when you want a quick way to clean up the look of your living room. Look for one that has precut holes in the back for wiring, which will make plugging in your electronics much easier.
If space is the major issue, modular furniture designs allow you to extend the units upwards and outward at varying heights, and may help you configure just the right size and shape to fit your needs.
Within your entertainment furniture, the most efficient use of space is to stacking equipment. Be careful not to stack any equipment with venting on the top (such as amps or satellite receivers) because they might get too warm. Use chair-leg protectors (small plastic discs) as spacers between these pieces of equipment when stacking.
Some of the best advice for adding storage solutions is to look UP! Vertical space is often under-utilized in the home, and the home entertainment center is one of the best places to use it. Buy furniture that makes full use of the height in your room - for example, an entertainment center with a bridge and audio piers over the TV for storing DVDs, CDs and games, or a full-scale wall system that has lots of levels for storage space.
If you don't want one large piece, consider installing shelves above and/or around the TV to display and organize your stuff. Think of other hard-to-reach areas in the room, such as above a tables or sofas - open shelves here may be the perfect place to display the things that you only want to access occasionally. You might also frame your TV stand or armoire with tall bookcases, which give you more flexibility in changing the room around than one large piece of furniture.
Make ALL your furnishings contribute
Make sure tables and stands work overtime by choosing two-tiered coffee tables that add an extra display surface or built-in storage, end tables with attached magazine storage, and ottomans that open up to store DVDs or game controllers.
Cut down on cord clutter
Acquiring new electronics and getting rid of old ones are a nightmare if your cords are a jumbled mess behind the TV. Fold mailing labels back on themselves around each cord and label the wire. Don't forget to label the cords that connect different components to each other, as well as the cord to the electric supply. Then bundle like wires together to cut down on cord clutter.
No matter which media storage solution you choose, you'll enjoy your home entertainment that much more when your home is organized and clutter-free.