Media Center for $400: Ikea Besta Media Center Review
A few months ago I did a post reviewing our Ikea Hemnes Bedroom Suite. I found out that people are really interested in knowing whether Ikea furniture is worth the buy! Today I am reviewing our Ikea Besta Media Center.
We purchased our Ikea Besta media center a year and a half ago as a Christmas gift to ourselves. It hides our nests of cords and media equipment and provides some much-needed additional storage. A few things have been modified since we purchased, but overall our media center is very simple (you’ll find out why). You’d never guess it is made of up over twelve total parts! It is composed of the following pieces:
Bottom Unit: 1 Besta shelf unit/height extension unit (shorter), 1 Besta shelf unit/height extension unit (longer), 2 Besta Vara Doors in Walnut, 1 Besta underframe (shorter), 1 Besta underframe (longer), 5 sets of Besta casters
Top Unit: 2 Besta Vara Glass Doors in Walnut (this door is the newer modified version of what we have), Besta shelf unit/height extension unit (shorter), Besta shelf unit/height extension unit (longer), suspension rail (not on ours, but now available)
Here is a pros and cons review of our Ikea Besta media center.
For a smaller, simpler combination this media center provides great storage. It holds all of our equipment hides the ugly cords (we drilled large holes in the backing and threaded the cords straight through). On top we have room to store our board games and DVD’s. Below, we have all of our media equipment and my collection of photo albums. On either side of the 46″ television, I have room for cute lamps. On the bottom, we removed a shelf so that we could store our daughter’s basket of toys. Even with all this, we were still left a shelf for display and some room to grow.
So glad we chose casters over legs. Aesthetically, they aren’t noticeable. In fact, they kind of go with the modern feel. Most of all, it has saved us tons of headache when needed to get behind the T.V. to adjust cords or install new equipment. If you get an Ikea media center or even a TV bench, it’s worth every penny to add the casters.
My favorite feature of our media center is the faux wood grain doors. It is hard to find reasonably priced furniture in an modern style. I can’t think of a better place to purchase inexpensive, Scandinavian style furnishings than Ikea!
Glass Door Option
As I mentioned above, we chose a faux wood grain door for our media center. One great feature of these doors is that the bottom set has a section of glass running through the middle of the door. You can store your media equipment, such as a Wii or Apple TV, behind doors and still remotely control them. Ikea no longer carries this exact door; they have since modified the style. The new one looks just as nice and has more glass area.
Entertainment centers are expensive, but my husband wanted proper storage for his equipment, and I wanted to hide cords! After looking into our options, we realized that Ikea would offer the most well-suited solutions for our tight space. I recall our total cost was around $500.00. While writing this post, I re-priced the same pieces and came in with a much lower price of $369.00! That’s a big improvement from two years ago. More points for Ikea!
Besta Planner Tool on Website
This tool was available at the time we selected our media center, but it wasn’t as user-friendly, so we did not find it helpful. Today I went on the website and found the updated tool. I attempted to re-create our combination. Ours looked came out like this:
Pretty darn accurate! The process of selecting our media center and obtaining the different components was originally a big negative. However, I now have to retract that. You’ll have a definite advantage if you can use the Besta Planner to put your combination together. You can design yours with a slick, visual interface on the Ikea website by choosing parts from a menu and dragging and dropping them onto a canvas. A little ticker adds up your total price for you. When you have finished, Ikea generates a complete shopping list for you! The shopping list does not provide many details about each item, but you can take the article number and enter it in the “search” field on Ikea’s website. This will bring up a photo of the product and detail information. Let me note that even with this great technology, I still think it’s essential to visit the store in person and familiarize yourself with the feel of the dimensions.
Installation of Floating Overhead Shelf
The suspension rail which goes with our top shelf unit was not available at the time we purchased, so we had to use butterfly bolts to secure the floating shelf to the wall. A suspension rail would have made installation a lot easier. The shelves were long and very heavy. Even with the availability of the suspension rail, I would not attempt this alone. You’ll want a second person to help.
This is the second time I’ve run into doors to our Ikea storage being discontinued. The style of our bottom doors have been modified. If we ever wanted to replace one, we’d have to replace both.
Not a Pro, Not a Con
Multiple Pieces and Endless Combos
Ikea media centers are made up of different, customizable components. That was the initial draw for us. In the end, the result was good. The process, however, turned into a real headache. At the time we did ours, Besta Planner tool on the website was not yet available. We had to be very organized with measurements, pricing, and getting the correct parts. With all the possibilities out there, it was hard to boil it down to the necessities. In the end, our budget dictated our feature set. This media center is actually getting a much nicer review from me because of the way Ikea has improved the selection process with the Besta Planner tool!
The Quality Question
The biggest concern about Ikea furniture is whether or not it is quality. I think a media center from Ikea is a fine choice for a starter home. It is not an item that is going to get tons of wear (like a couch). It is probably also not your “final destination” piece of furniture. Yet for the modest price, I say who cares! If we need to replace it in the future, the cost will be negligible. We have had ours for a year and a half, and so far it has been solid. Unlike our Hemnes Bedroom set, there are no scratches or marks on the surface.
To conclude my review, I must say that I am very happy with this purchase. Though I’m disappointed about the discontinued doors (that’s Ikea for you), I’m equally as pleased with the Besta Planner tool and decrease in price. If you are thinking of purchasing a Besta media center, I say go for it! You won’t find a better value for a modern, space savvy piece of furniture.