Shopping for Media Consoles

As televisions and speakers have become increasingly smart, streamlined and wireless, the mess of components and cables that once cluttered living spaces has been gradually disappearing. But it’s still helpful to have a good media console, whether you have the newest ultrathin TV, vintage stereo equipment or both.

“They’re usually the centerpiece of a living room or family room that’s used as a TV watching room,” said Clara Jung, the founder of Banner Day Interiors, an interior design firm based in San Francisco.

The good news is that with fewer parts, your media console can more easily be incognito. It can look like a stylish credenza rather than a blinking control center better suited for a spaceship, Ms. Jung said.

And these days, there’s often enough leftover space inside most consoles to store other things, like books and toys.

“We look at them as a multipurpose piece,” Ms. Jung said. “They should add to the overall design of the space.”

  • Can you use a regular credenza or vintage cabinet as your media console? Yes, but you may need to drill holes in the back for cables, Ms. Jung said, which is easily done with a hole saw.

  • Does the console need semitransparent doors or open bays for components that use infrared remote controls? It depends on your setup, but for many people with smart TVs, that’s no longer necessary.

  • Should the TV be centered on the console? Centering is a good option, Ms. Jung said, but when you have a particularly long console or a picture frame-style television, consider placing the TV on one side and art and accessories on the other.

Customizable plywood and powder-coated steel console

From about $875 at Floyd:

Maple console with overlapping drawer-front detail

$2,595 at Blu Dot: 844-425-8368 or

Louvered wood console by Nathan Yong

From $1,795 at Design Within Reach: 800-944-2233 or

Console with lacquered finish and brass accents

$1,198 at Anthropologie: 800-309-2500 or

Black or walnut console with sliding doors

$699 at West Elm: 888-922-4119 or

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