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Modifying Our Media Center + Keeping It Organized

Mid century media console in neutral living room // How to keep media console organized // via Yellow Brick Home

media center | coffee table | vintage rug (similar) | pouf | arm chair

Sometimes a seemingly tiny change can make a huge impact. We always say that if someone walks into a room and can’t pinpoint why they love it, it’s been done well! Our goal is always for the details of an entire room play nicely together, so it comes together as a whole cohesive space.

With that mindset, we’ve been on the hunt for a perfect credenza. The recent sofa/coffee table/chair swap was the largest part of this rooms’ update, but the old credenza was feeling like it didn’t fit the space any longer. We considered giving it a new life with a fresh coat of paint, but what we really wanted was something wood toned. Something to bring in an extra layer of warmth. Kim mentioned a few weeks ago that we’d finally tracked down the right piece – but it needed a couple of small tweaks to be just right. Here’s what it looked like after putting it into place, pre-tweak:

Mid century media console in neutral living room // How to keep media console organized // via Yellow Brick Home

We ultimately landed on the Nagano Sideboard from At Home, thinking that it would offer a beautiful compliment to our oak flooring, nearby coffee table and the caramel leather of our arm chair without being too matchy-matchy. We first fell in love with the sturdy look of this piece months ago (and we couldn’t believe that it was still available!), but something still felt the slightest bit off.

Mid century media console in neutral living room // How to keep media console organized // via Yellow Brick Home

We agreed that the credenza was a bit too top-heavy, and Kim had been searching for an excuse to try these rounded legs from Prettypegs for ages. This felt like the perfect application! These legs would allow the piece to sit lower to the ground and create more breathing room above, and they would detract a bit from the overly MCM feel of the credenza (since nothing else on our first floor fell into this category). The replacement legs are designed as upgrade pieces for popular IKEA furniture, but the included mounting hardware is universal so we pulled the trigger and waited anxiously for the legs to make the overseas journey to our doorstep!

Mid century media console in neutral living room // How to keep media console organized // via Yellow Brick Home

We ordered our Prettypegs in a raw finish since we knew we’d be staining them to match the new credenza. After one thin coat of Golden Oak stain and two coats of matte Polycrylic, the finished look is a near identical match to the credenza!

Mid century media console in neutral living room // How to keep media console organized // via Yellow Brick Home

While the new legs dried, we made a couple of small modifications to allow the sideboard to function as our new media center. The hole saw made quick work of providing cable access to the left cabinet section where the stereo receiver and our electronic gadgets would eventually reside.

Note: We’ve found so many uses for our hole saw kit, that it found its way onto our recent roundup of essential tools for the DIYer. It’s a seemingly odd tool that we find ourselves using more often than we realize!

Mid century media console in neutral living room // How to keep media console organized // via Yellow Brick Home

After the access hole was complete and free of sawdust, we reconnected our electronics, tidied up the cables, and we were ready to attach our new Prettypegs! The hardware included with the legs is seriously heavy duty but almost invisible once installed. We were very impressed with the quality. The new legs brought the credenza lower to the ground (by a little more than 2 inches), and we spaced them a little farther apart than the original legs, giving the piece better proportions and a more squat, solid look. Yes!

Mid century media console in neutral living room // How to keep media console organized // via Yellow Brick Home

This before and after gif illustrates how that seemingly small difference makes so much more sense:

Mid century media console in neutral living room // How to keep media console organized // via Yellow Brick HomeMid century media console in neutral living room // How to keep media console organized // via Yellow Brick Home

The installation of the new television and low profile wall mount (similar) required a bit of touch-up paint, so while we were at it we finally took the opportunity to paint the frames of our left and right in-wall speakers. The speaker grilles are paintable as well, but they’re slightly off-white right out of the box, so we left them as-is and they almost disappear into the wall while still sounding fantastic!

Mid century media console in neutral living room // How to keep media console organized // via Yellow Brick Home

In order to keep our delicate electronics safe from the Lucy’s curious little hands, we’ve installed safety latches on the left door and all three center drawers. The right door opens up freely to reveal a basket full of her stuffed animals and other toys. Lucy has quickly found great joy in flinging the door open and yanking the basket to the floor, spilling her toys everywhere. Her goofy giggle as she looks up at us like she’s actually getting away with something cracks us up every. single. time.

Mid century media console in neutral living room // How to keep media console organized // via Yellow Brick Home

Mid century media console in neutral living room // How to keep media console organized // via Yellow Brick Home

The long search for the right piece and the subsequent modifications were well worth the effort for a finished product that we’re thrilled with! The living room finally feels whole again, and we’ve found ourselves spending as much time in this room as possible – something we weren’t doing as much in the previous configuration; it just wasn’t working as hard as it could have been for our new family dynamic. The warm neutral tones are cozy and inviting, and the lower proportions of the furniture make the ceilings feel higher than ever. We often find ourselves counting down the hours until we get to settle in to our favorite spots on the sectional, dim the lights and enjoy an evening cocktail (or two).

If you find yourself drawn to a piece of furniture but wish there was one thing done differently, give it a chance! We’re big proponents of modifying a piece to fit your needs exactly. Don’t settle for less, friends.

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  • Kristall Spaces1.28.19 - 4:36 AM

    It looks great. It’s true sometimes a tiny change can make a huge impact. Also, your living room decor is stunning. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • danielle1.28.19 - 7:07 AM

    Love the new credenza! I actually liked the original legs better, but I like that you featured peg legs. I’ve used them as well on non Ikea projects and they are a great tool. I’m surprised you didn’t buy the Samsung frame tv. I saw it on Chris Loves Julia and I know you guys are friends and I think it would really fit your aesthetic better…make things less heavy on that side of the room. Any reason you went with a thin edge tv but didn’t buy the Samsung frame? Just curious as I am considering for my new tv.ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.28.19 - 8:15 AM

      Great question! The Frame was the first contender we considered, but it struck out for one big reason: It wasn’t available in the size we needed! The 43″ was too small, and the 55″ was too large. We needed something in the 50″ range, so we had to nix it for this space. I actually asked Julia a bunch of questions about theirs, if they love it, the art mode function, etc, and knowing how happy they are, we’d like to put one in Tree House (especially since we don’t want the TV to be so in-your-face in our little getaway!). But here, it hit the chopping block pretty quickly due to size constraints.ReplyCancel

      • danielle1.29.19 - 7:10 AM

        Very good point! 55 inches feels massive to me too. 55 is visually to close to 60. And 60 is one of those TVs that go in front of a fake leather recliner chair with a hole for a beer in the armrest and plays sports at full volume all day. And 43 seems a bit nebbish for a living room. Something to really ponder before I make my purchase. But yes 55 works in the treehouse. Something about a vacation home makes oversized TVs feel less confrontational. :-)ReplyCancel

        • Kim1.30.19 - 9:24 AM

          hahahaha, love your description. I can picture that chair right now… ha! We’re actually going with the smaller one for Tree House! I think. We’re still waffling, but we don’t want the TV to be the focal point there!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa1.28.19 - 8:34 AM

    I like the new legs much better. Pretty genius!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey1.28.19 - 9:22 AM

    Looks so much better! Make sure it’s mounted to a stud, lower furniture is actually one of main causes of tips on children because people think to only anchor taller furniture.ReplyCancel

  • Meg1.28.19 - 9:27 AM

    Looks fantastic! And the Jellycat octopus creeping out in the picture just cracks me up! Can I ask where you found the flat storage basket in that next room?ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.28.19 - 9:36 AM

      Picked it up at Target a few years ago. :)ReplyCancel

  • Vivian1.28.19 - 9:31 AM

    How did you attach the peglegs to the credenza? Did you have to drill new holes for them?ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.28.19 - 9:37 AM

      The Prettypegs come with a mounting bracket that is REALLY sturdy! It attaches to the bottom with screws that we drilled little pilot holes for.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah1.28.19 - 10:16 AM

    Seeing the wall straight on had me thinking, have you ever considered mimicking the pretty arched opening of the entryway onto the opening of the reading nook? I’m a symmetry person at heart, too, and feel like it would make that wall sing!ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.28.19 - 10:19 AM

      Hi Hannah! We definitely considered this in our first wave of renovation, but there were a few things keeping us from forging ahead: The opening to the nook isn’t as wide, therefore the proportions of the arch would have been a little different, AND there’s a header above and to the right of the nook opening (you can see this in the first photo the best), so things might’ve looked a little busy.ReplyCancel

  • thelady1.28.19 - 10:36 AM

    The new legs are so much better! What a good resource. I have also stayed away from some pieces with the MCM legs–good to know!ReplyCancel

  • Yasmine1.28.19 - 11:31 AM

    Everything looks beautiful! :))) Could I ask for a link to your credenza safety latches, please? And how are they working for you? I have a 14-month baby and need to start putting latches on all my cabinets and drawers in the kitchen, living room, bedroom, etc.ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.28.19 - 1:18 PM

      I can’t seem to find them online, but we bought them at Lowe’s! They’re the kind that have a little latch that you push down. Very simple and invisible. We have them ALL of our lower cabinets – kitchen, credenzas, office, etc.ReplyCancel

      • Yasmine1.28.19 - 5:34 PM

        Thanks so much for letting me know, Kim! I’ll look for them at Lowe’s =)ReplyCancel

  • Jess1.28.19 - 12:19 PM

    I thought the original piece was perfect (and maybe would be in my space), but the change you made really suits your space so much better. It really does change the proportions to give an overall lighter look and doesn’t crowd your tv as much.ReplyCancel

    • Scott1.28.19 - 1:24 PM

      Thanks Jess! In all fairness, we did actually mount the television where is it knowing that the new legs would drop the top of the credenza a few inches. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kayla yuditsky1.28.19 - 4:29 PM

    Love this piece, im actually surprised it’s from at home! We were excited to check out our new at home store but found most of the furniture pieces there to be a bit junky- wobbly, crooked doors, etc. We’ll have to give it another shot I guess!ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.28.19 - 4:30 PM

      It’s similar to Home Goods that way… every piece of furniture needs a good inspection and it can be hit or miss, but it’s still worth checking out for the deals, we think! This piece is hunky and great quality.ReplyCancel

  • Malia1.28.19 - 8:34 PM

    Everything is so perfect! LOVE IT!ReplyCancel

  • Gina1.29.19 - 7:34 AM

    Do you have a recommendation on how to mix wood tones? We love this credenza, but most of our other wood pieces are a dark walnut. How do you make mixed wood tones look intentional and organic?ReplyCancel

    • Kim1.29.19 - 8:36 AM

      Great question! I think this can definitely be a whole post, because we’re asked this a lot (it’s on the list!). But we’re big fans of mixing wood tones and metals for a more layered look. I don’t think there’s one right answer here, but start with one wood tone that takes the lead (such as walnut) and then bring in other tones with a similar value, i.e., warm undertones, etc.ReplyCancel

  • Tara C1.29.19 - 1:40 PM

    Just a note, but I would love in posts about changes to a room if you also included a picture of how the room looked previously. It’s so helpful to really seeing the evolution. I don’t think you actually have a picture of the old media center and what that wall looked like before in this post. I love your content and your style! Just a thought.ReplyCancel

  • Susannah2.1.19 - 11:36 AM

    I added legs to an old teak media cabinet to turn it into a sideboard in my dining room… the (amazing original heart pine) floors in my 1895 farmhouse have such a serious slope that I cut a full INCH off the back legs to make the top sit level. Talk about customizing a piece to fit your space!ReplyCancel

  • Katarina - Sukhirugs.com2.2.19 - 5:58 PM

    Love how you’ve paid attention even to the slightest detail in the room. It’s so cozy, warm and inviting thanks to the neutrals, but the furniture in rustic, slightly industrial style is a jackpot. It fits so well with the rest of the space that now seems much more open than before. I completely understand why you can’t wait to come home and be in this lovely room. Well done!ReplyCancel

  • Claire2.3.19 - 8:24 AM

    Hi Kim, I absolutely love your living room! I have a question about your coffee table. When I click on the link and go to the YLiving website they have two color options for this coffee table. One option is black ash with brass and the other option is white oak with black chrome. The coffee table in your photo appears to be a much warmer shade than the white oak on the YLiving website. When you purchased your coffee table were there other wood tones available at that time? Or is yours the white oak shade? I am considering buying it for my living room but I want to make sure the color is right. Thanks!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.4.19 - 8:16 AM

      Great question! We were so concerned over the same thing, but I can assure you that ours is white oak with black chrome. We initially saw it in person in a shop in LA while vacationing, and we couldn’t stop thinking about it even after we returned home from our trip. We were so confused when we saw the photos online, so we called the store, and they also confirmed for us that the online photos are VERY deceptive! I would describe the white oak color as more of a birch, which is exactly what we were looking for.ReplyCancel

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