For some, a home would be incomplete without a TV and the latest media hookups. With the right setup, we can see movies and videos anytime and search the Web on a bigger screen.
But with each new device comes one more clunky console, cable, controller or remote. Suddenly you’re looking for a stylish way to manage a massive electronic eyesore.
Why not have storage for your system that’s as sophisticated as the digital equipment you’ve assembled?
A place for DVD players and cable boxes is just a start. Many media centers also include game systems as well as plug-in devices for streaming movies and other content.
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Whether your setup is large or small, there’s a storage system that’s just right for managing your boxes, cords and widgets. Take a look at what we found:
Manage your media mayhem
If versatility is important, look for a storage system that lets you choose from a variety of mix-and-match components. The Logan Media Suite is one example. The medium suite (starting price $2,995 at potterybarn.com) comes with a TV stand, two hutches with open shelving or glass doors, and two more bases with closed doors. An optional bridge on top can be useful for adding storage to the upper spaces in rooms with high ceilings. The unit also has cord cutouts for managing wires. Bring in a few baskets to keep remotes and video games organized.
Some homeowners shy away from built-ins when their decor is clean and contemporary. Yet, wall-mounted shelving systems are available with the minimalist appeal that more consumers are choosing. The Virtuoso Media Console from California Closets offers that look along with just enough closed shelving to conceal your media setup. This storage system can adapt as your inventory of media components evolves. Add translucent or opaque colored drawer and cabinet panels to hide your CDs and DVDs, charging outlets for mobile devices and other electronics. The average cost for an installed system is $6,000 to $8,000, www.californiaclosets.com .
The media center is a good place to make a statement, said Bobbie Cox, interior designer for Charlotte’s Dragonfly Designs.
That’s the idea behind the Salvaged Boatwood Media Console ($1,395 at Restoration Hardware), which is made from retired fishing boats. The salvaged wood has dings and nail holes that give the finish an aged look that is unique to each piece.
A media center also can become a focal point if its finish commands attention. One way to achieve that is to choose a design that pays homage to a different time and place. There are hints of the ancient Orient in the distressed finish of the Hill Sideboard, finished in blue and silver ($2,920 at www.onekingslane.com). The three cabinet panels on this 38-inch-high piece are made from wood reclaimed from Qing Dynasty Chinese temples.
Cox had a client who wanted a contemporary look and plenty of storage for gaming gear in his townhome in southwest Charlotte. Cox used vertical space to accommodate those requests. The TV and speakers hang on the wall, with frosted glass-front cabinets above for storage.
Media centers come in all shapes and sizes. The Industrial Metal TV cart ($399 at westelm.com) is designed for those with more modest media empires. It has an open shelf for devices that need to receive signals from a remote. The glass doors on the cabinet protect the contents from dust and dirt. Two openings in back make cord control easier. It’s set on casters for smooth relocation.
All dressed up
If the room is formal, the visible storage areas should be as well. The main problem is that media accoutrements often look dark and heavy in softer-colored spaces. Instead of abandoning your beige or caramel walls, arrange the clutter away from sight. “Everything is behind closed doors now,” Cox said. “It’s hidden away, but when you need it, it’s there.”
One way to dress up the room is to conceal the system when you’re not using it. Audio Advice in Pineville sells VisionArt concealment panels; framed art prints cover either recessed or surface-mounted TVs. Prices start at $4,000 at www.audioadvice.com.
More affordable options for dressing up walls while concealing a screen include the Mirror Cabinet Media Solution and Rolling Cabinet Media Solution. Prices start at $449 at www.potterybarn.com.