In Episode 9 of The Weekender, DIY expert Monica Mangin crafted an inventive, highly functional media wall unit complete with an electronic fireplace. This ultimate living room upgrade is modern, stylish, and it provides plenty of storage space for entertainment essentials.
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Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation and safety. Check to see if you need a permit. Observe applicable building and electrical codes. Contact a licensed electrician if you have any doubts or questions about the connections, or if your home's wiring doesn't appear compatible with the changes you're making.
Locate and mark the wall studs using a stud finder. See How Do I Find a Wall Stud? for help. Use a nail gun and finishing nails to secure a full-length board to the center of the wall closest to the chalk line, aligning the nail with the stud line. Check for level.
To learn to use a nail gun like a professional, watch Nail Guns 101.
Continue working up the wall, staggering the seams of the boards, nailing planks to studs. You can panel around windows by cutting the sill with a handsaw or oscillating tool so planks nestle behind the sill.
Save and reuse your scraps when shorter lengths are needed.
Add cap moulding above the last row of planks for a finished look. See Install Decorative Moulding for tips on cutting and attaching moulding. Trim the insides of the windows with cut-down pieces of scrap wood or corner moulding, using 45-degree angles at each corner.
The concept for this build is to create a series of smaller rectangles with dividers that, once installed, gives the appearance of one large storage unit. You can adjust these measurements or use a different type of wood to suit your design, but to construct our media unit, we cut a 3-inch cheater block for positioning the legs of the unit and made the following cuts out of white birch plywood:
For help selecting plywood, watch Which Plywood Should I Use?
Stand one 71-1/4-inch plywood piece on its edge and, using a nail gun and finishing nails, attach an 11-1/2-inch piece to the outside edge of either end.
To create the placement for the “legs” of the unit, align your cheater block with the end of the 11-1/2 and mark a 3-inch line with a pencil on each side. Connect the two lines using a level. Do this on the inside and the outside of the plywood piece to create a nail guide.
Align another 71-1/4-inch piece with the 3-inch lines you marked on the 11-1/2 and secure with a nail gun using the line guide you created on the outside for accuracy.
Measure and mark 23-3/4 inches from both sides of the rectangle. Insert one 8 x 18 divider in the opening and secure on top and bottom with finishing nails. Repeat on the other 23-3/4-inch mark to create three individual units within the larger rectangle. Repeat the previous steps to create another matching unit. These rectangles will create the left and right sides of the media console.
You need accurate measurements to ensure your dividers are evenly spaced. Brush up on your measuring technique — watch How Do I Use a Tape Measure?
To create the center of the media console, use the 47-1/4 lengths in place of the 71-1/4-inch pieces. Use only one 8 x 18 divider.
We used poplar for our project, but you can use the material of your choice. We made the following cuts:
Align the 1 x 3 between the legs on the front edge of the unit. Using wood screws, attach the plate to the underside of the unit to close the gap between the bottom of the unit and the floor. Repeat this on both the left and right units.
Repeat the previous steps for the middle unit with the 1 x 3 x 47-1/4.
Using wood screws, drill pilot holes and attach the 3 frames together. See How Do I Drill a Pilot Hole? for tips. We secured the top, middle and back at the top and bottom, but you can use more screws if you like.
(Optional) If you would like to create a back for your media console, roll the unit forward so the face is resting on the ground. Rip 2 pieces of plywood to 8 feet x 18 inches and attach to the back with finish nails. This step prevents small items from slipping behind the console. Return the console to its upright position.
Using 1 x 3 boards cut to 7-3/4 inches, use a speed square to center the trim on each vertical divider and secure with finishing nails.
For a more seamless look, we created a top for the console out of 2 19-3/4-inch x 8-feet pieces of white birch face plywood. We extended the edge to accommodate the doors. You can choose whether or not you want to cover the doors or if you want to maintain a solid edge.
Begin by running a bead of wood glue around the top edges of the left half of the console. Arrange the top so that it sits flush with the walls. Secure with finishing nails. Repeat on the right side of the console.
Cut two lengths of decorative moulding to 8 feet. Affix to the outer edge of the new top using wood glue and finishing nails for a polished edge.
Cut 1 x 10 planks to length. Sand smooth and paint or stain the desired shade.
Use wood putty to fill the holes in the paneled wall and media console. Let dry and sand the entire wall and unit smooth with a hand sander. See How Do I Use Sandpaper? for tips. If you want to smooth the edges and corners of the adjoining structure, use a block plane, then sand smooth.
Attach the doors to the fronts of the unit. We left the middle two open for media storage. Whether you close all or some is up to you.
Apply two coats of primer and paint, allowing each to dry completely between coats.
The concept for the mantle is a 3-sided rectangle. The open side will attach by sliding onto the header board. We made the following cuts out of pine planks:
Begin by cutting a 45-degree angle on the edges of the planks to create 90-degree edges that look smooth and seamless.
Join 2 of the 8-foot lengths using wood glue and finish nails.
Use painter’s tape to stabilize the seam and hold the two pieces of wood together while you work.
Flip the mantle and attach the 7-foot-1-inch length to the third side using the same method.
Attach the end cap to the side with matching lengths using wood glue and finish nails.
Repeat the previous steps to build the other half of the mantle, using the 8-foot-11-inch planks instead of the 7-foot-1-inch.
Fill all holes and seams with putty. Let dry and sand smooth, using a block plane on the edges and seams if needed. Stain or paint the wood with the shade of your choice.
Move the pieces inside and fit the mantle on the wall to ensure placement. Then, working with one side or the other, mount to the header using heavyweight screws through the bottom of the mantle. Add a few screws through the top for added security.