A media closet is a place specifically designed or used to house all of the various components of your home theater room or entertainment center. Rather than have the amplifier, DVD or Blu-ray player, X-Box and any other feature of your home entertainment system out in the viewing room, everything is kept out of sight and orderly. The only thing you see is the mounted television screen. There is no tangle of wires or stack of modular components to collect dust and get in the way. To create a media closet, you actually need a space in which the components can be placed. Unless you have particularly deep walls, it won’t do to build a closet. The best option, then, is to use a closet or cupboard that already is in place.
Step 1: Choose the Location
If it makes things easier, adjust the position of the television so that the future media closet is more accessible. This is not necessary, for cords can be extended across a room if need be. Choose a closet that is either free of clutter or clean it out thoroughly. Your media closet should not be used for anything other than the housing of the components, a fan and DVDs, Blu-ray discs and video games.
Step 2: Shelving
There should be shelves in your media closet to properly hold the components. Many closets already have a system of shelves installed, whether it is a single level just above eye level or a series of layers. If your media center only has three components–amplifier, media player and video game console–you may only need one level of shelving. Decide what you need and set about adjusting the closet to fit the specifications. Portable, modular shelving is available and relatively inexpensive. You can also choose to construct and install wood shelving, although that will require a whole different series of steps.
Step 3: Fan
Perhaps the most vital element in a media closet aside from the media components themselves is the fan that keeps the enclosed space ventilated. Components can get very hot when in use, especially if they are in a closed-off area. The fan need not be mounted in a wall or hooked up to a system of ductwork–it can be portable. It should run whenever the system is in use and for a time afterwards and point at the components.
Step 4: Power Supply
Your closet may already be equipped with a power outlet. If so, plug a surge protecting power strip into one of the outlets to use for the components. If there is no power supply in the closet, set a power strip inside in preparation for the next step.
Step 5: Cut a Hole for the Cables
Rather than have an extension cord for the power strip and all of the necessary cables for the theater system run underneath the door of the closet, it is better to drill a small hole into the wall. With the power drill, drill a hole about a ¼ wide through the wall on the side of the door towards the television. Make a couple of successively bigger holes at which point you use a circular bit or paddle bit to make a hole big enough for a plug-in to easily go through – 1 ½ inches should be fine. Make sure to avoid drill into studs or any power cables inside the wall. It may be easier to drill through the drywall from either side and then clear out the insulation with a utility knife.
Step 6: PVC Lining
Cut a piece of 1 ½ inch PVC pipe to the exact width of the wall and fit it into the hole you made. This will create a smooth passage for the cables to go through the wall. You can even glue it into place and touch up the paint around it, making it look like a part of the wall.
Step 7: Run the Cables
Feed the cable or cables that will run to the television from the components through the pipe and to the TV. Longer cables may be required if the distance to the TV exceeds their length. Plug everything in inside the closet. If you have to, run an extension cord from an outlet outside through the pipe for the power strip and plug it in as well.
Your media closet is now complete. With power and a fan inside the closet, you can watch movies or TV and play video games without having any clutter in the viewing area. As an added measure, purchase a piece of rubber or vinyl stripping to contain the extension cord and cable(s) to the TV. That way, they will be kept out of the way along the bottom of the baseboard.