Here’s a little hack I made from IKEA GRIMSLÖV kitchen cabinets, turning them into a shiplap entertainment center.
We initially wanted our favorite carpenter friend to build a custom wall unit for us, but he was too busy at the time. We looked for prefab wall units at IKEA, Amazon, Wayfair, etc., but couldn’t find just what we wanted. My wife wanted the speakers hidden, and we both wanted a built-in look, so I know I would have to do some hacking.
Having built two IKEA kitchens in the past, I thought maybe I could use IKEA kitchen cabinets and modify them. I bought the 15-inch deep variety, as opposed to the usual 24-inch deep cabinets typically used in a kitchen. (Caution, some A/V receivers won’t fit in a 15-inch deep cabinet, so be sure to measure your components.) I think using the 15-inch deep cabinets makes it look more like an entertainment wall unit; nobody suspects it’s actually modified kitchen cabinets.
We found some custom wall units online that used shiplap, which we liked. We thought that adding shiplap would give it a more custom look. Initially, I planned to use smooth, white shiplap for a more formal look, but then I came across the gray “barn wood” shiplap with the somewhat “distressed” look. I thought that would be perfect since it was going in a lake house. Definitely glad I went with the gray; gives it a nice contrast and custom look.
Build IKEA cabinets per IKEA instructions. Add trim to sides and tops to give it that built-in look. For the sides, I just bought some primed 1x4s and cut them to fit. Attached them with L-brackets. For the tops, I just cut some of the same 1x4s and nailed them in place with a finish nailer, then caulked. I painted those pieces with Behr Ivory Palace paint which perfectly matches the off-white of the IKEA GRIMSLÖV cabinets.
Installing shiplap was simple. Just cut to width and nail in place with finish nailer. Cutting the doors for the speaker openings was simple, too. I used a circular saw and just did a plunge cut until I got near the corners.
There I finished the cut with a sabre saw/jigsaw. For a smoother cut, use a circular saw blade with a high tooth count. You’ll need this to cut the countertop, too.
To make things perfect, you should probably sand after you cut. I didn’t, but after painting where I cut with the Behr Ivory Palace paint, it blended it nearly perfectly.
I initially bought pure white speaker fabric from Amazon.com. But as you can see from the photos, it didn’t match well with the off-white of the IKEA GRIMSLÖV cabinets. They ended up looking gray instead. So, then I bought some off-white speaker fabric from Amazon, and they match pretty well. After putting the speakers in the cabinet, it made the fabric darken somewhat.
Doubling-up on the off-white fabric did the trick visually and didn’t impact the sound quality.
How long and how much did the shiplap entertainment center cost?
About $1500 for the IKEA stuff, $100 for the shiplap and $15 for the speaker fabric.
What do you like most about the hack?
The shiplap, the hidden speakers, and the built-in look. I was worried about the sound quality with the speakers in the cabinet, but the sound is great!
What was the hardest part about this shiplap entertainment center?
Keeping everything plumb and level. When you put in the trim pieces between the unit and the wall/ceiling, you find out that your wall and ceiling are not perfectly plumb and level!
What to pay special attention to?
Be careful when cutting the doors for the speaker openings. I kind of messed up on one, but found that the paint hid the blunder pretty well. If you screw it up too badly you can always buy another door.
Looking back, would you have done it differently?
Initially, I cut out a space in the shiplap for the TV mount, but later realized that made it too recessed to hang the TV. So, I had to reinstall the TV mount on top of the shiplap. Also, don’t just cut several shiplap boards the same length. You may find out that your tall cabinets are not perfectly plumb. Measure each board as you go. Ideally, you want to measure the height of the boards so you don’t have a really small one on top or bottom. I screwed up my measurements (not accounting for the gap in the shiplap), so it didn’t turn out perfect. But I can live with it!
Very happy with it, and we’ve received lots of compliments on it. My carpenter buddy asked me if I wanted a job! 😉 Of course, he can build stuff from scratch, whereas I can only hack IKEA stuff!