Monday, January 30, 2012

How to Make an Industrial Style Media Center

In my last post I shared the before & after pictures of our basement media area.  This project came about because I wanted a cheap and easy but good looking media solution.  I thought the industrial style was perfect down in our "mancave" but all I could find were either expensive (as in $2500 at Restoration Hardware) pre-made options or diy versions that required going to a welder.  Neither idea appealed to me at all.

Instead I re-purposed a couple of sets of steel shelving that I found at our local home improvement store.  The entire project cost about $120 and can be completed in a couple of hours over a couple of days.

How to:

Step One:  Decide on approximate size of desired media center.  You'll want to do a rough measurement of the area where you wish to place the finished unit.  I say rough because you are going to need to work with the prefabricated pieces of the shelving unit.  At our store you could choose from a number of different widths (36" to 60") and depths (16" to 24") and heights (60" and 72").  We choose to go with 2 packages that were 72" x 48" x 24".  The 24" depth was needed to fit the cable box and the surround sound receiver box.  

Each package came with 5 shelves.  In our design we used the combined pieces of 2 sets to build one side by side unit and one taller unit.  

Click here to see the options available at our local Menards.  I'm sure most any home improvement store has similar options.

Step Two:  Spray Paint the steel pieces.  The pieces in our box were originally a light gray that screamed garage shelving unit.  We painted them to give the aged look we wanted.  We used Rust-Oleum Fine Textured Black spray paint.  This gives the closest match to the Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware versions. I tried the Hammered version of the spray paint but the finish is too shiny.  The finish on these needs to be more flat.

You want to spray both sides of all the pieces because all the sides show once built.  It took a little less than 1 can per set of shelves. 

You can see in this picture the slots for where the front and back pieces attach.  Once these are painted and put together you don't notice the slots at all.

Step Three:  Stain the wood shelves.  Now these shelves are made of some kind of particle board.  They are thin but they drink that stain like no tomorrow.  We went through an entire can of Minwax special dark stain.  The entire can.  Gone.  I suppose you could paint the boards but I don't think it will give you as authentic a look as the stain.

Now the stain does not go on perfectly because there really is no wood grain but that's okay because you really just want coverage.  Once you put all your equipment and accessories on the shelves you don't notice the imperfections at all.  

Also, make sure to stain the edges because they show.  Better to do this in the garage when you are doing the top and the bottom than wait until they are in your basement and all assembled and then you have to be really careful and make sure you don't spill stain on the carpet.  Just sayin'.

Also, if you plan your design out ahead you can save yourself a little work by not staining the bottom side of the shelves that go on the bottom as those don't show.  

Step Four:  Build your unit.  This is where you build according to your design plan.  Our particular set of shelves were nice in that it allowed for either a side by side or tall unit and while the top and bottom shelves were fixed the rest were adjustable.  

You can see in the picture below that our wide unit is two units set next to each other.  They are not attached together at all but by putting the tv in the middle on top it appears to be one cohesive unit.  You can see that each side of this unit used 3 shelves (top, middle, bottom).  Each package only provided 5 shelves so we used the parts from the second package to complete this unit.  

I also wanted to mention that these are super strong.  I think the package said each shelf can hold 2200 pounds or something crazy like that.

Here's the cost break down:
The first shelving unit was $70 but then when I decided we needed another one they were on sale so the second one was only $40.  We spent $10 on spray paint and then another $10 on stain and brushes.  So $120 total.  Deal:)

I should mention that if you use this for your media equipment you are going to have to play around with the cord and wire situation.  Because the back of this media unit is open all the numerous cords and speaker wires and such show.  I ended up spending a good hour or more moving equipment around and taping wires & cords to the back of the cross pieces so they would not show.  It's something you may want to keep in mind when deciding on this style for a media center.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~

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  1. Thank you for your tips! We are planning to remodel our home in Bellemeade Farms. These tips come in handy.

    1. Great tips, thanks for the share, please visit my site Here for more tips about industrial shelving.


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