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DIY Home Theatre – A/V Cabinet

The DIY home theatre build was alot of fun and a lot more planning. First off let me say that I can’t take credit for the design of the cabinet. I found a post in an online home theatre forum where a DIY’er came up with this approach and posted some photos. I took the general idea that he had, and changed it a little to fit my setup. The picture above is my finished cabinet. Behind the cabinet is the furnace room where I have access to all the wires etc.

Step 1: Framing

I framed in the structure of the cabinet using 2×4’s just like any other wall in my basement.  I built in the rectangle frame to create the desired shape of the cabinet. The width of my cabinet frame is 20.5 inches wide. I wanted to make sure the cabinet was just wide enough for the equipment to fit in, and after the cabinet is finished with trim, I was left with a 19 inch opening. Perfect size for most of the equipment to sit snugly inside there. Notice in the picture above there is only about an inch of room on either side of the receiver. This leaves you with a nice clean look.

AV cabinet framing

Step 2: Inside Trim

Once the frame of the cabinet is finished it’s time to attach the inside trim. For the inside trim and also the shelving I used 3/4 inch MDF (medium density fibreboard). MDF is great for this type of project because it’s really easy to paint and it doesn’t warp. The only thing to keep in mind is that it’s CRAZY messy when you cut it with a saw. WEAR A MASK! I bought a 4×8 ft. sheet from Home Depot for about $30 and that was enough to do the entire cabinet.

AV cabinet inside trim and shelving

The inside trim is 6 inches wide, this size allows enough space to hide the 2×4 frame of the cabinet and the width of the drywall. I cut it to fit tightly inside the frame and nailed it in.

Step 3: Adjustable Shelving

To hold the shelves in place I used a closet organizer system from Home Depot and spray painted it black to match the cabinet.

bracket uprights

The uprights are attached with screws directly to the frame of the cabinet. Make sure to check that the uprights are installed at exactly the same height otherwise you’ll end up with uneven shelves.

Here’s a picture of the brackets I used (sorry for the blurry iPhone pic):

bracket for av cabinet

Here’s a picture of the uprights and brackets installed from the back of the cabinet:

back of cabinet showing upright and brackets

Step 4: Shelves

For the shelves there are 2 measurements to keep in mind. The front part of the shelf is the width of the finished cabinet (what you see when you’re looking at the cabinet from the theatre room). It’s really important to cut the front part of the shelf really tight to the trim in order to leave a nice finished look. I actually made each shelf an 1/8 of an inch too wide and forced them into place. The back part of the shelf just has to be wide enough to sit on top of the brackets. No one will ever see it so really not so important how it looks. Here’s one of my shelves finished and ready to be installed:

av cabinet shelves


Step 5: Face trim

The face trim is the trim that sits against the wall and covers the ugly space that you would otherwise see between the drywall, frame and inside trim. I had baseboard trim leftover from the basement reno and just used that to finish this job. Painted it black to match the cabinet and nailed it on.

The whole cabinet cost me about $100 and it looks awesome. As you can see from some of the pics, the only drawback is that you can see every particle of dust on the black paint. Impossible to keep perfectly clean.

av cabinet


DIY Home Theatre – A/V Cabinet. Tyler Andress Brockville Real Estate