Unnu -inspired tv stand / media bench
Need a clean & elegant looking tv stand that will hide away all the equipment yet allow remote controllers to work through doors? Then check this out :)
Ever since I came across danish Unnu‘s wonderfully minimalistic tv stands, anything even slightly similar became a instant “must have” on my want-list. Biggest problem here: for me the nearest Unnu retailers are located ~400 km away in Stockholm, Sweden. Not exactly mail order stuff these tv stands..
.. so you might guess I was pretty excited when I stumbled upon Henrik’s Unnu inspired Bestå hack at Ikea Hackers. Now here’s a DIY project I just need to do!
Summary of sorts
What the build basically boils down to, is to modify a set of Bestå shelf extension units to allow A) their doors to fit between the top & bottom parts and B) cut a hole to each door and cover them with thin fabric.
I chose to go about the build using two 1200*380*400 millimeter (mm) extension units and four black-brown Vara doors with push latches. For the fabric, I bought two packs of DLS’ 1200 * 900 mm black speaker baffle cloth. All these parts added up to roughly 200 euros.
Instead of modifying the Bestå extension unit by only moving the side boards backward (like Henrik did), I chose to trim away the excess part going over the rear edge. Bothering with this minor detail is well worth the end result in my opinion: Leaving the boards untrimmed badly distorts the clean rectangular shape.
The Bestå chipboard doors measure 16.2 mm thick. I decided to move the side boards back by 18 mm to have a few spare millimeters for the fabric. During assembly this distance turned out not to be the most ideal, but things worked out even so. I’ll return to this in a bit.
I also was planning to wall-mount the tv stand, but the idea was shot down immediately after unboxing the Bestå parts for taking measurements. The amp (nor the subwoofer) just didn’t fit inside fully!
Using a decent table saw, trimming down the side boards & doors is a snap and end results clean:
The doors measure 380 mm tall whereas the inner height of the extension unit is 320 mm, so that’s 30 mm to be removed per edge. For the cutout I used the following dimensions:
I also spray-painted all the cut edges black, just in case the plain/cut chipboard would show through the fabric. I didn’t have it at hand at the time of cutting and wanted to play safe, simple as that :)
Both the top & bottom boards only need modification as little as moving back the holes for the screw-on metallic assembly pegs (or whatever they’re called) by at least the door thickness. So:
Like said I chose to move the boards back by 18 mm, and this proved a tricky distance because it made precise hand-drilling of holes impossible. 18 mm was just enough to move the hole center to the edge of the narrow slot (which holds the back board) towards the back end. To try drilling on my exact marked spot just made the drill bit center on the slot instead.
End result was, that I had the front peg holes moved back by 18 mm whereas the rear holes moved by 19 mm (or perhaps 20 mm). This made assembly require a bit of excess hammering in order to fit everything together. Lucky for me, (at least this particular) Ikea design allowed for a little slack in its dimensions, and thus the ~1mm difference between peg centering wasn’t critical as to prevent assembly altogether.
Long story short: If you’re building one, make drilling easy and move the holes back by 19 mm.
As for the doors, I had no previous experience of stretching fabric over a frame. Youtube to the rescue:
Starting with one staple on each edge, I worked my way towards the corners one staple pair on opposite sides at the time. First the horizontal and then the vertical edges.
Instead of cutting the corners of the fabric like in the first YT clip, I used Cedar Lee’s technique from the second one. On the hinged edges, I folder some of the fabric under the hinges.
Other stapling technique (or the lack of it)..: Well lets just summarize that I used a lot of staples and didn’t bother spacing (or lining) them up in any clean way. A good guess is, Unnu has these door fabrics cut and installed in a way more professional looking style ;)
With the side boards cut, peg holes moved and speaker cloth installed, the rest is just assembly according to Ikea’s instructions. Final work stage: Install all the electronic hardware, kick back on the sofa and spend a while admiring the new tv stand <3