DIY Network

How to Build a Semi-Recessed Entertainment Center

Only one day is needed to produce an entertainment center using eco-friendly bamboo plywood.

More in Decorating

  • Time


  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard


Step 1: Cut the Wood to Size

Using a table saw, rip the following pieces down to size. These dimensions will fit a 47-inch flat screen television:

  • one – 55-1/2" x 28" for the base
  • four – 54" x 17-3/4" for the shelves
  • two – 35" x 17" for your sides
  • one – 52-1/2" x 17" for your middle shelf
  • six – 17" x 6" for your dividers
  • four – 17" x 8" for your top dividers
  • three – 16-1/2" x 8" for your doors
  • two – 51-1/2" x 3" for the backing

Step 2: Prepare the Base Pieces

On your base, measure and mark a line with a pencil 3/4" from both sides and also one directly in the middle of the piece. Glue the long side of three divider pieces to the base where you’ve made your marks (Image 1). Use a nail gun to secure the dividers to the base from the underside.

Take one 54" x 17-3/4" piece and glue it to the top of the dividers, making sure there is 3/4" on either side. Nail in the top with a nail gun. Drill pilot holes with a countersink bit, then secure the top piece on to the dividers with screws (Image 2). This is your first finished piece.

Repeat the steps, but substitute a 54" x 17-3/4" piece as your base. Let this section dry completely. This is your second finished piece.

Step 3: Attach the Base Pieces

Next, stack the second finished piece on to the first. Using a 3/8" drill bit, make six holes in the top of the first finished piece directly over your dividers. Make six holes in the dividers of the second finished piece. All the holes should be 3/4" from the edge so they line up when piece two is stacked on to piece one.

Apply glue into each hole and insert wooden dowels into the holes of finished piece. Connect the two pieces by placing the dowels on finished piece two into the holes on finished piece one. Using a mallet, pound the top to make sure they’re securely fastened together. Set this piece aside for now.

Step 4: Build the TV Section

With a biscuit joiner, create a biscuit hole toward the upper back and three along the shorter inside edge of the two 35" x 17" side pieces. Create three aligning biscuit holes on the ends of the 52-1/2" x 17" base so that the sides will create 90-degree angles once the three pieces are assembled. Place the biscuits inside the sets of three holes on the side pieces, add wood glue for extra support (Image 1), and fit the sides to the base. Nail the base and sides together.

Create a biscuit hole on each end of one of the two 51-1/2" x 3" back ledgers so they will connect with the top and bottom of the side pieces. This entertainment center does not have a back, so the two ledgers will give us a nice square frame and will provide structural support (Image 2). Place two biscuits inside the top ledger so that it lines up with the top of the side pieces and the base. Secure the top ledger with a nail gun. Glue and nail the bottom ledger on to place, resting on the base.

Glue and nail another 54" x 17-3/4" piece to the top of your sides, making sure it is flush with the matching piece below. You have now constructed your third finished piece. Mount it on to the lower portion with glue and nails, and then it’s time to move on to the upper shelves.

Step 5: Construct Cupboards for the Top

The top section (finished piece four) will have three cupboards, so we will need four dividers. Attach all four 17" x 8" pieces to a 54" x 17-3/4" piece with glue and wooden dowels. The dividers should be equal distances apart, but the edge pieces should both be 3/4" from either side to keep a consistent overhang. Use a mallet to secure the pieces together if necessary and secure with a clamp until the piece dries.

Attach the three 16-1/2" x 8" door pieces to the cupboard with Euro hinges and add hardware so the doors will open. Repeat steps from the "Attach the Base Pieces" section, but this time, attach finished piece four to the top of finished piece three.