If you are looking for small but solid furniture that isn’t flat packed look no further than Dunelm Mills. What no one tells you about Dunelm is that not only do they have a fantastic range of styles, colour ways and an emphasis on building a ‘look’ but that the furniture seems to be the perfect size for downsized living and well built enough to withstand my hack!
… I was looking for a tv stand that was small enough to fit in my mum’s living room and a lot higher than average… 85cm tall in fact. There was nothing in any of the tv unit ranges in Ikea or any of the High Street chains. 85cm takes the tv to a good a good eye level for my mum; like many elderly people she prefers an armchair that is relatively high and supported. My mum’s tv armchair is a G Plan Recliner Chair, super comfy and with good lumbar support.
So this where we come to the hack! We found a sideboard that we loved the look of and it ticked most of our boxes
- it’s tall
- well proportioned, small and shallow it fits neatly in a small living room
- dark stained wood to blend in with the other furniture (it’s dyed acacia wood)
- it’s well made, solid and it came ready assembled
But it isn’t made to accommodate the cabling that comes with a tv and its accessories, and it had doors.
So it’s a good candidate for a hack it to make it perfect!
All you need is an electric drill with a holesaw attachment with an arbor, which is a pilot drill bit. This a wood boring attachment that makes a circular hole large enough for an electrical plug to pass through. You can buy them in B&Q or Wickes in a small set, I got my ones as part of a big set of drill bits like this one from Screwfix.
Get your mobile phone or camera ready, a tape measure.. and pencil to mark where the holes go.
Make a record
First thing that I did was photograph the back of the tv, and the accessories to have a record of which plug went where. I then I unplugged everything from the power sockets. Once that everything was powered down, I unplugged HDMI and aerial cables, one appliance at a time so that I wouldn’t get mixed up with what went where.
Positioning the holes
Originally we planned to remove the doors and use the unit as if there were two open shelves under the drawers but after placing all of the electrical accessories inside the unit we decided to keep the doors. Everything fits inside and it would look neater in the living room to close the cabinet doors when the tv isn’t in use. After trying out different arrangements of accessories on the two shelves I marked the holes to the centre of the unit. The top shelf hole is levelled up with the power socket behind. Before you drill do check that the cables will reach from the unit inside to the tv above…or you might find you need to drill another hole…or invest in a longer HDMI cable
Thread plugs and wires through the holes in the back of the cabinet, replug all of the appliances checking against your digital photos. Finally, plug everything back into the mains sockets and turn on the power, you should be all plugged up and ready to watch. When you push the cabinet backwards into position make sure that none of the cables or connections are squashed anywhere.
and that’s it, the Dunelm sideboard is now a tv unit.
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