Best Place to Buy a TV Stand

Best: None
2nd Best: JC Penney
Various locations
Until some manufacturer figures out how to build an entertainment center that includes a pizza warmer, the available options are far less fun. Choices range from Cracker Barrel Grandma to Bachelor Pad Utility. Here, the plastic built-in DVD rack counts as style. West Elm, the metrosexual Ikea, re-edits Danish modern and Eames playbooks, but its stuff still looks like mass-produced laminate shelving. Marlo Furniture, the ubiquitous local chain, gives good showroom—it’s the Disney World of furniture. Sensory overload will take hold here as your hunt for a flat-screen perch turns into a quest to find out if the store still carries waterbeds. Crate & Barrel (and its hipster offshoot CB2) don’t specialize in sturdy TV cabinets, plus they are slightly pricey. The RoomStore is perhaps the most depressing place on earth. The only relief is knowing that that shrewy red-headed lady from the commercials does not actually work at the RoomStore. There are no best options. But there is a second-best. Once ambitions for sleek are extinguished, falling back on sturdy and cheap will feel inevitable. This is where JC Penney comes in. The store offers a stunning set of boring-as-hell entertainment centers: big, bulky, and in various shades of brown. Some TV stands come with glass doors. Some do not. It won’t matter. The prices are right ($219 and up). Besides, no one notices what the TV rests on.