Is your entertainment center an eyesore? With game consoles, TVs, game controllers, DVD players, DVDs, cords and so many other pieces of electronic entertainment equipment, it's not surprising that entertainment centers often become magnets for clutter.
It doesn't have to be that way. From custom-built entertainment storage units to genius cord organization hacks, these tips, tricks and ideas on how to organize electronics and decorate an entertainment center will help you tame the clutter and turn your entertainment unit from eyesore to eye-catching design accent.
While there are certainly ways to repurpose old furniture or an entertainment unit you already own, it's always easiest to start with a clean slate. If you're stuck with what you have, don't despair! Most of these hacks and ideas will help you organize and optimize your existing entertainment unit, too. If you're lucky enough to be starting fresh, though, here are some things to consider when you're choosing a new entertainment unit.
- What electronics will go on the unit? Some of the things you might need space for include:
- Game consoles
- DVD player
- Game accessories
- Instruction manuals
- Do you need open shelves, closed cabinets, baskets or bins, or a combination of the above? Your best option is usually a combination. Open shelves allow easy access to the items you use most often — and let you get creative with styling — while closed cabinets will protect sensitive components from dust (and hide them out of sight). Baskets and bins are useful for storing gaming accessories, and drawers — with organizers, of course — are a good place to tuck important docs, such as instruction manuals.
- How much space do you have for the entertainment unit? Take advantage of storage hacks for small living rooms to optimize every inch and possibly even free up room for a dedicated entertainment unit.
- Can you mount your screen above a set of shelves or a cabinet? That will free up more shelf space for storage.
- What's the aesthetic of your game room or living room?
- Are you handy with tools? You can create some impressive "custom built" entertainment centers using components bought from IKEA or Amazon.
- Home theater units with removable backs make cord management a breeze, but they can be pricey. You can achieve the same effect with open shelves and cubes.
Upcycling is so on trend right now. Dig out that dresser or sideboard — or find one at a thrift store — and refinish it to fit your room decor. Remove the top drawers and give them a new "floor" to serve as shelving for game consoles, media players and cable boxes. A drill with a hole saw makes it easy to punch out openings for cords to run through. Use the drawers for DVD or video game storage, or even a cozy blanket or two for Netflix nights.
Modular cubby units and cube storage make it easy to assemble the perfect entertainment center for your needs. You can assemble them in nearly any configuration to fit your TV and consoles, and use bins, baskets or plastic buckets in the colors and textures of your choice to add out-of-sight storage. Remember to leave a few open shelves to add your favorite design accents and collectibles.
The best organization plans always start with decluttering, and that goes for furniture as much as it does for entire rooms. Start by clearing everything off the shelves and top of your entertainment shelves and giving them a good cleaning. Go through everything and decide what you want to keep and what's just hanging around because you don't know what else to do with it. If you have older game consoles or games you no longer use, consider selling them or donating them to a local shelter.
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Deciding where to place each of your electronic components can get tricky. Not only do you need to make sure your game console or other device will fit in the space, you also have to consider how to run any cords and cables needed to connect them to the screen, power source and each other. Ideally, you'll want to run cords behind the unit to avoid cord clutter, so you'll have to figure out the best placement for each component to avoid crossing and tangling cords.
Getting your surge protector off the floor or shelf not only frees up space, it's also a great way to reduce or eliminate cord clutter. There are several different ways to mount a power strip on the wall — or on the side of your entertainment unit.
- If your power strip has mounting holes, follow the instructions to attach it to the wall with screws and wall anchors.
- If you want to avoid putting holes in your walls, use heavy duty hook and loop strips to attach the power strip where you want it.
- Buy a wall-mounted surge protector that plugs directly into the power outlet.
This simple hack can make your life so much easier, especially if you find yourself regularly having to reset your modem and router. Labeling your plugs easy to do with inexpensive cable labels — just write the name of the device on the label and wrap the label around the cord just above the plug. You'll never have to worry about unplugging the wrong device again.
The easiest way to avoid cord clutter is to avoid cords. Wherever possible, opt for wireless and bluetooth speakers, sound bars, subwoofers, and game sensors. The fewer cords you have to manage, the easier it will be to keep them neatly organized.
Once you've got everything labeled, positioned and ready to plug in, take a few minutes to figure out how they'll all be routed. Your goal is to avoid getting the cords tangled and crisscrossed. These tips can help with cord organization:
- Use the right size cables. If you only need 4 feet of HDMI cable to connect your console to your TV, use a 6-foot cable instead of a 12-foot one.
- Wrap and tie excess cord lengths with a zip tie or hook and loop cable wrap.
- Connect components to each other, following any manufacturer's instructions, of course.
Try this genius hack if your entertainment unit has open cubes. Cut a piece of pegboard to fit the opening and mount it to the back of the cube. Install pegs to hang Wii and other game controllers, remote controls and other accessories.
Tired of your living room looking like the display wall at GameStop? Try one of these video game storage hacks to keep your games neat, organized, easily accessible, and out of sight.
- Buy bins or baskets that fit the shelves of your entertainment center instead of stacking your games directly on the shelves. Label each container with a game system or type of game, and sort your games to keep them organized and easy to find.
- Use a set of drawer organizers to hold video games and other accessories. They come in dozens of colors and patterns, making it easy to match them to your decor.
- Lose the cases. Remove the games from their cases and store them in zippered DVD binders. The binders can be kept neatly on bookshelves nearby if there's no room on the entertainment center.
- Add drawer organizers to the inside of a storage ottoman and use it to store video games and accessories out of sight.
Looking for more game room design tips and ideas? Check out these game room ideas for even more inspiration.