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EXPEDIT entertainment center – this is how to DIY

We recently purchased a home and were looking to add some built-in features. After being inspired by a few post on IKEAhackers and realizing that I had two perfectly good EXPEDIT bookcases available, I decided to attempt to hack an EXPEDIT entertainment center on my own.

I consider myself a fairly novice DIYer but learned a great deal along the way.

Built-in IKEA EXPEDIT entertainment center | IKEA Hackers

Here is a summary of the EXPEDIT entertainment center project:

Step 1: Assembly

I started with two black-brown EXPEDIT bookcases.

Built-in IKEA EXPEDIT entertainment center - two pieces

Step 2: Combine the units

To bring the two pieces together I used a strategy similar to what was done previously here.

I removed the end pieces from each bookcase. Then, used the inner shelf unit of a 2 x 2 EXPEDIT I bought off Craigslist to fill the empty space.

I added a base made from 2 x 4 wood so it was important to use straps to keep the pieces firmly together. The base helped secure the two bookcases to each other. Not only that, it also increased the height in order to match the height of the surrounding baseboards.

Built-in EXPEDIT entertainment center - chain

Step 3: Painting

I used a strategy similar to the one here in order to paint the bookcase white.

The wood frame on the top of the bookcase was later removed in order to lower the level of the countertop.

Built-in EXPEDIT entertainment center - paint

Step 4: Countertop for Expedit entertainment center

I purchased two IKEA Karlby countertops and cut them to size using a circular saw. This was difficult but I managed to make the cuts accurate enough for this project.

To make the straight cuts, I used a straight edge to guide the circular saw.

I left enough space beyond the unit in order to store a surge protector and any wires.

Built-in EXPEDIT entertainment center - almost

Step 5: Fill gaps

There was a small 1/8 of an inch gap which I had to fill with a small piece of butcher block and wood putty.

Built-in EXPEDIT entertainment center - block

Step 6: Baseboards and rails

The picture below shows the baseboards, chair rail moulding, and side board which is removable to allow access to the electrical outlet and TV cords. To help the sideboard stay in place, I placed magnets on the inside of the chair rail moulding .

I had to make all miter cuts using a circular saw but caulk hid any imperfections. As for the inside corners, I tried the best I could to tidy them up.

Built-in EXPEDIT entertainment center - side

Step 7: TV for Expedit entertainment center

I hung the TV wall mount and used a mounting kit to run the wires through the wall. I had to drill through a horizontal fire block which I was able to do using a long drill bit.

Built-in EXPEDIT entertainment center - wires

Step 8: Wainscoting backing

The last step was to add a backing made from wainscoting.

Built-in EXPEDIT entertainment center | IKEA Hackers

Built-in EXPEDIT entertainment center | IKEA Hackers

In conclusion:

While it seems pretty straightforward, this was a pretty big job for one person and a circular saw.

I did the bulk of the work over a long weekend. The finishing touches lasted a couple weeks of doing a few things here and there.

The cost was around $600 including the butcher block, moulding, TV mounting kit, and various tools needed for the job.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the outcome but very glad that it is finished! There are a million details not listed here but I’m happy to answer any questions.

Update (Mar 4, 2019): Perry sent a recent photo to show how the Expedit Entertainment Center has held up after 4 years! He reports no warping of the shelves at all. The only signs of wear and tear is the paint rubbing off a little where the baskets slide in and out. Nothing too bad but requires touch ups.

expedit entertainment center