Materials: Boksel sofa table, USB-powered case fans, electric drill and large bits, furniture stain, screws and bolts, furniture feet
Description: For a long time I’ve wanted to replace my old IKEA media center cabinet. Multiple times I’ve lingered in the Besta section but just couldn’t imagine a solution that I liked. Last weekend we found the Boksel sofa table in the as-is section, which met almost all of my desires, but needed a few adjustments.
Apologies that there are no step-by-step photos. The changes are relatively minor but important because Boksel isn’t media furniture. After disassembling the cabinet, it took me about 3 afternoons do all the work. Hopefully these “after” photos demonstrate it well. Here’s the full list of modifications:
1. Drilled new holes for the shelf pegs so the glass shelves could be lowered. My AV receiver needs 7 inches of space (6 in. + airflow), the existing shelves were only about 5.5-6 in.
2. Drilled a 4 inch hole, centered at the intersection of the middle upright and the newly lowered shelves, to run AV cords out the back. The back wall of Boksel is 1/2 in. thick wood, not cardboard or wood ply like most media center units so I had to buy a 4 in. circular saw bit for my drill.
A note about drilling: I find that drilling all the way through IKEA furniture causes the veneer on the exit side to crack and pieces splinter off. To avoid this with the large saw bits I drilled the pilot hole first, drilled partially from one side and then finished the drill from the other side. These holes came out very clean.
3. Drilled two 3 inch holes (again requiring a large saw bit) for ventilation at top-center of the upper shelves. I’ve had problems with electronics overheating in enclosed media furniture so I keep USB-powered computer case fans running over my receiver and Xbox.
4. Stained the inside of the large drilled holes with black furniture stain (Minwax Express Color black) so the lighter color of the exposed MDF wouldn’t stand out against the black-brown veneer.
5. Drilled mounting holes for the case fans. My brain must have been somewhere else when I marked the locations for the holes because on the first try the fans didn’t fit and I had to drill some new holes. It’s not such a big deal because the case fans are in the back and the mistakes aren’t readily visible, yet the imperfection still stings.
To mount the fans I put one of the finger guards on the inside of the cabinet and used longer screws to secure the entire assembly onto the back wall. The USB cable will run from the fans to a powered USB hub inside the cabinet.
6. Removed the existing flat plastic feet, drilled out existing and/or new mounting holes at the corners and center of the unit, and installed adjustable (screw type) furniture feet. The cabinet will be sitting across both wood flooring and carpet, so I want to be able to level out the height.
7. Used a wood “repair” pencil to fill in scratches and a bruised corner. The as-is unit we bought was in pretty good shape with only a few noticeable problems. The Minwax Blend-fil ebony pencil was almost a perfect match to IKEA’s brown-black veneer.
My new media center cabinet is now assembled and waiting for installation of the electronics. I’m a little nervous about putting the heavy TV and receiver on the glass top and shelves, but I think they’ll be OK.
I also would have liked to have installed a cord management solution on the back, but I think some velcro ties will be enough to keep it from being messy.
Jules Yap started IKEAHackers.net in 2006 as a personal blog to showcase the most impressive IKEA hacks from all over the world. Since then, she has learned a lot more about power tools and DIY. Her site has helped thousands modify IKEA furniture with step-by-step tutorials, craft projects and home styling.