Corner Unit Design - Advice sought

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Forum topic by Milo posted 02-07-2013 02:32 PM 1477 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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869 posts in 3559 days

02-07-2013 02:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question shaker

Ok, hoping to get some advice from you experienced cabinet makers and furniture makers.

I HOPE to start on a major corner unit build sometime in the near future (next month?), and am actually doing my due diligence for once and planning out the build in advance.

I have some questions I am hoping to get answers for, and would appreciate the advice.

The unit, in general, needs to be big enough for a 42” flat screen, plus dvd player, Dish box, and an extra shelf for clock and knick knacks. So at least 3 shelves maybe? I’d also like to be able to store DVD’s in drawers in the base unit.

I would like to do this in shaker style.

SHOULD I just hunt down plans and stick to that?

Should I cabinet ply for the carcass?

Would it be better to build a square unit rather than a corner unit?

What am I not thinking of?

I appreciate the early advice so I avoid problems in the future!


-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

7 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3185 posts in 2497 days

#1 posted 02-08-2013 02:37 AM

Milo, I have never built a corner unit or anything Shaker so take this for what its worth.

I think you already have a fairly good picture in your mind of what you want, so I am not sure how much good someone else’s plans will do for you. Also, if you can find plans, you will likely need/want to modify them reducing their value.

For a large project like this, I think plywood would be a good idea. However, 3/4” cherry ply might be a little expensive so you need to factor that in as well. Then there is the decision about the face frame and how you will attach that to the ply. The shelves will likely need a lip for rigidity with a 42”+ expanse. Speaking of the shelves are you okay with cutting long 45* angles so they will fit the corner?

A rectangular cabinet will probably require less total space since you won’t lose the corner behind the cabinet. Do you have the ability to make a 3D design with SketchUp or a similar tool? That will show issues as you work through the design phase.

You should also plan a way to reduce heat from your components if you plan to use closed compartments. It can be as simple as openings in the top and bottom to allow the heat to escape or you can get small fans that turn on and off with a thermostat. Try to design openings for all the cords and cables. Ideally, none will be visible from the front yet are easily accessible when you need to change your configuration or replace a component. The unit will be heavy so you might want a way to secure it to the wall to avoid having it tip over during an earthquake or hurricane.

I am certain there are additional considerations, but this all that I came up with off the top of my head. Hopefully, more knowledgeable people will chime in here. Finally, I don’t mean any of this to discourage you; it is a very doable project if you think it through carefully. HTH

-- Art

View Milo's profile


869 posts in 3559 days

#2 posted 02-08-2013 01:10 PM

Thank you for the reply. Your comments on heat are extremely appreciate since I forgot about that completely. Also, you remind me that I need to do some research on the best way to incorporate electricity into the unit so I CAN reduce visible wiring, which I really want to do.

I was considering 4 small drawers over 2 large already, for the support reasons you mentioned.

I am NOT a big sketchup person. Fan, yes, use, not so much. I just am not getting the hang of it.

I standard square unit WOULD use less wood, wouldn’t it?

Excellent suggestions though, THANKS!

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3525 days

#3 posted 02-08-2013 02:20 PM


Corner Entertainment Centers were my niche in the market for a number of years (before flat screens). I actually started a separate division to my company called; “The Corner Shop”. The reason; everybody wanted to put their big bulky TV’s in the corner and there were very few mass-produced corner entertainment centers on the market at the time. One size does not fit all.

Each unit had to be custom designed taking into consideration the wall space available in the corner (how many inches did we have from the corner down each wall before a window, door, register etc. that would restrict the size of the unit). Also the size of the TV, making sure to allow enough opening on the front for a TV and in a lot of our designs, allowing for pocket doors to be able to retract into the cabinet beside the TV.

I would suggest you start with your footprint layout first. I always cut the back corner off (made it flat across the back) for a couple reasons. You really don’t need all that depth and making sure we could get one of our units in a customers home.

I always did the casework in plywood with solid wood face frames, doors, etc. Some of our units we would do the interiors in black melamine so the TV would blend in with the interior more and actually made better viewing when the TV was on.

I’ll try to go back and find some of my drawings for the entertainment centers and let you see how we went about making the case and face frames. I never made a shaker style, but that would be real easy to do.

Advantages and disadvantages of a corner unit:

Advantages of a corner entertainment center; the unit will look more custom for the corner and will not stick out into the room as far as if you take a box type cabinet and set it in the corner on an angle. A box type entertainment center in a corner looks exactly like that ( A box in the corner).

Disadvantages; your corner entertainment center will always be used in a corner, whereas you can take a square cabinet and use that on a flat wall later if so desired. More challenges in designing a corner entertainment center over building a box, but to me the end results are worth it.

-- John @

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3090 days

#4 posted 02-08-2013 04:35 PM

Lots of good points here. I am working on a (flat) similar media center.

The main thing is to design from the inside out. That is, start with components: Boxes as well as screen.

I have never seen components in drawers. They are typically in a cabinet bay with shelves cut in the back to allow easy cable access between units. Contemporary stuff doesn’t have to be behind glass for remotes to work. Worth checking on.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3106 days

#5 posted 02-08-2013 05:44 PM

I built two corner cabinets for our living room and they really looked nice. I got the plans from Wood magazine’s internet site. It seems like I had to pay about 10 bucks for the plan but they were very good quality plans. Once you paid all you had to do was download them so no waiting. You could easily modify the plans to what you need.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5240 posts in 2733 days

#6 posted 02-08-2013 05:49 PM

Take a look at the pic (the only one) under my projects. If you think such a style might be of interest, I can describe what I went through to do it. The thing about his is that though it’s a corner cabinet, it’s not a triangle. Look at th pic below of the shape of the shelves. (As almost always happens to me, LJ seems to truncate my pics so you only see one side, but you should still get the idea.)

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Milo's profile


869 posts in 3559 days

#7 posted 02-08-2013 11:27 PM

Huff, any pics or plans would be GREATLY appreciated.

Charles, I’ll go look, but if you have a pic, can you post it?

Fred, thanks for trying! I do think I get what you are trying to say though.


-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

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