Does this entertainment center look familiar? This general design has been very popular in recent years, however, with the increasing popularity of flatpanel LCD and plasma TVs, this design is becoming obsolete.
LCDs just don't fit well in these old entertainment centers. LCDs are rectangular due to their widescreen nature, and these enclosures are, for the most part, square. Plus, things are becoming increasingly streamlined. A bulky entertainment center like this is just out of place.
So what can you do with something like this? Well, you could try to sell it, but these are all over Craigslist lately. I couldn't get rid of mine for even just $20, and it was in pretty good condition. After I gave up on trying to sell it, I decided to turn it into a project...
As you can see, this entertainment center has a bottom area with adjustable shelves (glass doors are not shown in this picture), a center area for the TV, narrow shelves just to the right of the TV area, and one last shelf above the TV area (shelf not shown).
In modifying the design, the real challenge became how to rearrange it so that the particle board would not be showing. The problem is that it's not solid wood. It's particle board covered in a thin wood veneer. This really limited my options since just about any cutting would leave an exposed edge. I didn't want to mess with buying edgebanding and attempting to match the stain.
To make a somewhat long story short, I ended up basically dropping the top down to just above the bottom shelf area. All I really had to do was partially disassemble it, turn it on its side to make a cut, and then cut the side trim to the appropriate length. I connected the top to the rest of it with some dowels so that there are no exposed fasteners.
I'm really happy with the end-product. It has a much cleaner look and it's a lot easier to move (it was previously really heavy). The shelves make a great bookcase and there is still plenty of room to store all of the TV-related electronics. Now, I just need a LCD to sit on top of it...