Can't figure out how to handle the television, stereo equipment, and a fireplace? Here's one stylish solution.
Wall Entertainment Center

Let's face it. No matter how hard we try to get around it, the television is a big part of our decor. Add to this a collection of CDs and DVDs, and you're left wondering: Is there a way to contain this clutter stylishly? Sure, an armoire would do the trick, but then how would you arrange furniture to enjoy both the TV and the fireplace? Here's how Lynne and Steve Hamontree of Greenville, South Carolina, got it right.

Let in Light
Their home was undergoing a major renovation; the family room was part of new construction, and architect Mark Maresca developed a plan for the space. Instead of filling the entire wall with built-ins, he added a series of small windows above custom shelves. The mullions are positioned in a star formation and painted black.

Custom Cases
Built-in bookcases below the windows house everything from the television and stereo to DVDs and decorative items. They also provide ledges to display a collection of urns.

To the left of the fireplace, pullout shelves allow easy access to the family's CDs and DVDs. Three shelves are devoted to all the stereo equipment, leaving just enough room for a few accessories to soften the look. On the opposite side of the fireplace, the TV sits on a pullout shelf so that it can be viewed from any direction.

The walls and trim are painted creamy white. This brings clean, simple lines to the space. However, the room is not completely colorless; the ceiling is coated in warm ocher. This yellow hue carries over from the connecting kitchen, uniting the rooms.

Color Combination

Key Placement
An oversize coffee table anchors the space and is flanked by two charcoal sofas. The arrangement allows the Hamontrees to enjoy the fireplace while kicking back to watch their favorite flick.

Keys to Custom Shelves
You'll want to inventory a few items before calling a carpenter to re-create these built-ins.

  • Measure the television. Don't forget about the depth; you'll need space for ventilation. Some electronic equipment emits heat, which could cause wood to warp.
  • Measure any other equipment you'll want to include in the built-ins. Do you have space for speakers, or could they fit into another area of the room?
  • Count your media collection. Leave room for new purchases.
  • Allow space for items such as books and picture frames

"The Wall That Has It All" is from the December 2004 issue of Southern Living.