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We are so excited to once again be participating the One Room Challenge.

For the next 8 weeks we will be transforming an unfinished basement room into the ultimate family hangout room, beginning with a custom built in entertainment center!

If you’re new here, WELCOME! You can learn more about us here.

Certainly be sure to follow us on Instagram for behind the scenes progress and updates!

What is the Room Challenge?

The One Room Challenge is a biannual event held every April and October.

Each round 20 design influencers are selected to take the challenge of being featured designers and transform one space in just 8 weeks!

Additionally, guest participants like ourselves are also invited to transform any given space during the same time frame.

Each week designers and guest participants share their progress via the One Room Challenge platform as well as blogs and all forms of social media.

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Be sure to join us each week to check our progress!

Of course if this isn’t exciting enough, several guest participants will be selected by the editors at Apartment Therapy, the official media partner for this event to be featured on their site.

Clearly, that would be an amazing opportunity!

You can easily navigate through each week of this ultimate modern coastal family room project below.

Modern Coastal Family Room Design Plan

Mood board for the modern coastal family room with a built in entertainment center.

If you’ve been following along for a while you know that last spring for the One Room Challenge we built a Jack and Jill bathroom with that Modern Coastal style that I love.

So, needless to say you’ll find that same feel in my family room design.

Let’s begin with the flooring.

First we chose a waterproof laminate with a natural distressed white oak finish.

I feel this flooring has a relaxed coastal feel to it and will hold up well to the traffic of a busy family.

Next we layer in coastal inspired rugs and fabrics to create a relaxed and cozy feel.

Are you starting to see why I love this coastal vibe.

This busy mom needs a home that feels calm and casual!

Measured rendering of the the built in entertainment center with fireplace.

Certainly one of the main features in our family room design is the built in entertainment center wall.

Not only will it feature the navy blue color that I love, but it’s also been built to hide away all of the media components.

Measured rendering of the built in shelves and reading nook for the basement family room.

Another area we are creating in this room is a reading nook with bookshelves and storage underneath.

It will be the perfect spot to curl up with a good book and relax.

Measured rendering of kitchenette cabinets for the basement family room.

In addition, this room will also function as an entertaining space.

With that in mind, we will also add a kitchenette or wet bar area.

Again, the cabinets will feature the Hale Navy paint and we will install a brick backsplash.

This room is filled with so many DIY projects so I can have a high-end custom look for a fraction of the price.

So be sure to check back each week and see our progress!

Just between you and me . . .

Also there’s one more item I’d like to tell you about.

There is no way we could possibly do all of this work in just 8 weeks!

This is a project we’ve been working on for several months.

We are sharing projects with you each week, but just know we are not super-humans!

This was a joint effort with our husbands.

They are right by our side helping us with each project.

But all of the design plans and ideas are all mine!

Of course a special thanks go to our husbands!

For cheering us on and HELPING us create this ultimate family hangout room!

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Before we dive into our built in entertainment center, take a look at the plan for the entire basement.

How Much is a Custom Built-in Entertainment Center?

I read that the average cost for a custom built-in entertainment center is $3,000 to $15,000.

And most people pay around $9,000 for a full-wall solid wood entertainment center with shelving, storage cabinets, and a TV mount.

However, doing it yourself with a few basic tools can literally save you thousands of dollars.

We used the following tools to build our entertainment center:

At the end of the post we’ll give you a break down of how much our built in entertainment center cost.

Design the Built In Entertainment Center

Measured rendering of the the built in entertainment center with fireplace.

First and foremost before starting a project like this, you’ll need to design what you’d like your built in entertainment center to look like.

Mine is customized to hide all of the media equipment.

Let me just tell you that when I saw the speakers my husband bought I about died!

I thought they would be hidden away in the ceiling.

While there are speakers hidden in the ceiling, there are also 4 huge speakers that are not!

But as you scroll down you’ll see how they are neatly hidden away behind the rattan cabinet doors in the built in cabinets.

With the measurements of the speakers in hand, we first began to design our built in entertainment center with Sketchup.

Sketchup is a free online modeling software where you can bring your project to life.

It will help you create the dimensions and measurements for your project.

With this in mind, we chose to build our own lower cabinetry to fit our needs.

But you can easily buy stock kitchen cabinets and create your own built in entertainment center.

In this post we are focusing on how we put all of the cabinets and shelves together.

We will have individual posts on how to build the cabinet carcass, how to build cabinet doors, how to install rattan in a cabinet door, how to make an oak countertop and how to install an electric fireplace.

Preparations for the Entertainment Center

2x4v boards are used to frame out the fireplace area.

Since we started with an unfinished basement space you’ll first see that there is no drywall on the walls.

First all of the electrical, cables and speaker wire is run in the wall area.

2x4v boards are used to frame out the fireplace area.

Then it’s framed with 2×4’s for the fireplace surround area.

Back wall of the fireplace are with studs, insulation and wiring for electric fireplace, HDMI cable, and speaker wire.
Lumber on the cement floor of the basement framing the toe kick area for the built in cabinets.

Next we framed the base area for the cabinets to sit on with 2×8 lumber that was ripped down to 7″ high.

A man's hand holding a shim with a level on the lumber.

Shims are used to ensure that the base for the cabinets is level.

Wood is added to the side of the fireplace area for the built in entertainment center.

Before the cabinets and shelves are installed, wood it attached to the frame of the fireplace box.

We are installing an electric fireplace, so there is no need for duct work in the wall.

Dry wall is added to the front of the fireplace area for the built in entertainment center.

Can you build cabinets with MDF?

MDF, (Medium Density Fibreboard) is an engineered material made by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into fine particles, combining it with wax and a resin binder and applying high temperature and pressure.

It is an ideal choice for cabinet construction.

It cuts and assembles into pieces that, when built into a cabinet, provide a stable base for shelving.

We have used MDF to build all of our built ins in both of our homes, including the built in bookcases and fireplace in my parents home.

Not only is it easy to work with, but it’s much less expensive than plywood.

In addition, when cutting MDF board you don’t get the splitting that you do with plywood.

Built In Entertainment Center Shelves

MDF board with a groove cut along the back of the side panel with a table saw in the background.

The built in shelves are constructed the same way we built the mudroom cubbies and also the same way we built the custom shelves in the wall, with one difference.

A groove is created in the back of each side and top piece, so a backing can be added to the shelves.

In previous projects we have used the wall as the backing for the built in shelves, but we discovered that the wall was crooked behind our entertainment center.

So this time we added a backing to the built in shelves.

DIY shelves lying on it's side on the cement floor while being conctructed.

They are constructed using 4’x8′ 3/4″ MDF sheets that are cut down to the depth of the shelf.

Then a router with a straight cutting bit is used to cut a 3/4″ wide groove 3/8″ deep where each shelf will be placed.

Wood glue and nails secure each shelf in place.

Notice in the photo abode that the shelves are 1″ shallower than the frame of the shelves, allowing for the backing to fit into the groove.

The groove was made on the table saw 1″ from the edge, 1/8″ wide to fit a piece of utility plywood.

You’ll find the video below helpful in seeing how the shelves are constructed.

Back of the built in entertainment center bookshelf with a back panel slid into place.

Here is a view of the back side of the built in entertainment center shelf with the backing in place.

Test Fit Cabinets and Shelves

Cabinet carcass and book shelves are placed into position along the built in entertainment center wall.

Once all of the cabinets and shelves are built, it’s time to place them into position and make sure they all fit nicely together.

Since our built in entertainment center is constructed to fit wall to wall, it is important that we dry fit it before installing each piece.

The lower cabinets are secured to the wall at the studs.

And where the wall was crooked shims were used to make everything square.

Prime and Paint

Woman's hand holding a paint spray gun applying primer to the bookshelves.

Before we begin to paint, I applied paintable caulk to all of the seams.

Now it’s time to prime all of the shelves and built in cabinets.

Using the Wagner paint spray is certainly the easiest way to get a big job like this done.

Plus, when using a sprayer you definitely get professional results!

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Woman's face covered with paint dust, wearing a blue bandana and blue t-shirt.

However it’s not pretty!

Paint dust gets everywhere!

And make sure you where where a mask!

We used plastic drop cloths to seal off an area of the basement for painting.

But even with all that effort the dust still manages to get upstairs.

Once we finish this project, by house will definitely need a deep cleaning!

4 book shelves painted navy blue sitting on a plastic paint tarp.

After the primer is dried, we lightly sanded each piece before applying 2 coats of paint.

Navy blue paint is applied to the built in cabinets and along the wall.

For this project we used Behr’s Premium Cabinet and Trim enamel in a satin finish.

The color we used was Benjamin Moore Hale Navy mixed in the Behr paint.

I love this color!

It definitely looks so rich!

2 men lifting navy blue painted built in shelf placing it on the oak countertop of the built in entertainment center.

Once all of the painting is finished with the sprayer, we installed the oak countertop over the cabinets.

Then it’s time to bring in the shelves.

Woman's hand holding a brad nailer, attaching the booksleves to the side cabinet.

The built in shelves are then secured to the cabinetry on the sides and the fireplace area.

Navy blue painted built in shelves and cabinets with oak countertop, roughed in fireplace area with work tools on the cement floor.

Now doesn’t that progress look amazing!

Attach Moulding

Cleats are installed on the ceiling and on top of the booshelf with tools on the shelf.

Now that all of our built in entertainment center pieces are installed and painted we need to add the finish details with the moulding.

First we need to create a header area above the shelves and two cabinet towers on each side.

To do this we attached a cleat to the ceiling and the top of the cabinet.

Then scraps of MDF wood is cut to fit between the top of the cabinet or shelf to the ceiling.

The wood was mitered at the corners and then nailed in place.

Wood is installed along the top of the built in entertainment center to the ceiling with wire coming through holes for the library lighting.

The plan is to install library lights above the shelves.

So, holes are drilled through the header board for the wire to be threaded through.

Crown molding is nailed to the top of the built in entertainment center and to the ceiling.

Next we added crown moulding all around the top of the built in entertainment center.

Molding is applied for most of the built in entertainment center, with door frames on the cabinets.

And then 2 1/2″ flat moulding was added to the shelves.

Woman's hand holding a brad nailer attaching white primed molding to the front of the bookshelves on the built ins.

Once all of the moulding is attached to the built in, caulk all of the seams, fill in all of the nail holes with wood putty and sand until smooth.

Built in book shelves painted in Hale Navy blue mounted over an oak countertop, with champagne gold library light mounted above.

We also added a 1″ piece of moulding where the cabinets and shelves meet the header.

Hale Navy blue paint is now being applied to all of the white primed molding on the entertainment center.

Now we’re ready to finish up painting all of the moulding.

It’s so exciting to see this progress!

Installing Hardware

Champagne gold long cabinet pulls setting on the top of the oak countertop on the built in entertainment center.

Certainly adding the hardware to a beautiful built in entertainment center like this is the icing on the cake, or jewelry with a new outfit.

Just take a look at this gorgeous hardware we got from Amerock!

In my opinion, Amerock has the most beautiful hardware and you can really feel the quality when you place it in your hands.

For my built in entertainment center I chose the Stature pull in Champagne Bronze with a 8 13/16″ center.

Woma's hand holding champagne gold hardware against template on the navy blue cabinet door.

Certainly drilling holes into my beautiful cabinetry is a little stressful!

What if I make a mistake, or they are crooked?!

I had purchased a Kreg hardware jig, but my pulls were too large, so we made our own jig.

To create a jig we used my quilting ruler and marked the alignment for the top of the door with tape.

We then marked and drilled holes in the ruler for the pull.

With the ruler being clear, we could flip it to either side and were able to quickly drill all of the holes for the door pulls.

Woman holding a drill, drilling holes into the navy blue cabine doors for the hardware.

We used the locking Kreg clamp to hold our jig in place when drilling the holes.

Woman holding a drill attaching screw to the champagne gold hardware on the navy blue cabinet door.

And to make it go a little faster, we used two drills.

One had the drill bit in it and the other the driver bit.

Built in entertainment center with Hale Navy blue painted cabinets and shelves with rattan doors and champagne gold hardware.

And just take a look at this gorgeous hardware!

Built in entertainment center with Hale Navy blue painted cabinets and shelves with rattan doors and champagne gold hardware.

I think the door pulls look stunning against the navy paint.

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Completed Built In Entertainment Center

Built in book shelves painted in Hale Navy blue mounted over an oak countertop, with champagne gold library light mounted above.

I’m so anxious to fill these beautiful shelves and start to decorate our family room.

Left side of built in entertainment center with Hale Navy blue painted cabinets and shelves with rattan doors and champagne gold hardware.

In fact, this past weekend we watched our first program on the BIG screen!

Woman standing in front of navy blue built in entertainment center. wearing black leggings, black and white buffalo check shirt and a denim jacket.
Full view of built in entertainment center with Hale Navy blue painted cabinets and shelves with rattan doors and champagne gold hardware. Center of the built in is a white fireplace mantle and surround with an oak mantle.

This elegant built in entertainment center really anchors this side of the room.

While hiding away all of the elements I didn’t want to see.

Right side of built in entertainment center with Hale Navy blue painted cabinets and shelves with rattan doors and champagne gold hardware. Door open showing large speaker that is concealed behind the rattan doors.

The side tower cabinets each hold huge speakers.

Built in entertainment center with Hale Navy blue painted cabinets and shelves with rattan doors and champagne gold hardware. Door open showing large speaker that is concealed behind the rattan doors.

One of the lower cabinets houses the sub woofer.

And another one has all of the gaming consoles, DVD player and surround sound equipment.

White fireplace mantle area with a hidden compartment in the center for a large speaker.

And there’s a secret panel that opens for the center speaker in the fireplace surround.

When the big screen is pulled down you don’t even see it.

I think it’s pretty clever how we were able to hide all of the media components so my room can still look beautiful.

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Built In Entertainment Center Cost Break Down

I’m sure you’re all curious, wondering how much did we spend on this entertainment center.

For one thing it’s huge, the wall is 18′ across.

  • Framing supplies: $150
  • sheetrock $50
  • MDF $480
  • Poplar lumber $200
  • electrical $60
  • library lights $160
  • electric fireplace $650
  • hinges $52
  • cane $195
  • paint and primer $162
  • nails, dowels, glue $50
  • brick for fireplace surround $200
  • moulding $100

We hope you found a little inspiration here today.

So tell me, are you ready to make a built in entertainment center for your home?

Remember to check back each week as we continue the One Room Challenge.

Each week we’ll share a new DIY project.

Next week we’ll share how to build the cabinet box along with the kitchenette.

What are your favorite elements in this room so far?

We’d love to hear from you!

Please share your thoughts and questions with us.

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Thanks for stopping by and as always here at Sunny Side Design…

WE HOPE TO BRING YOUR HOME TO THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Carina

    This is beautiful and inspirational! Congrats!

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank you Carina for your kindness.

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