How the Xbox Series X and Series S fit into the most popular Ikea furniture
We tried life-size console mockups in everything from a Hemnes to a Kallax to a Fjallbo.
Dan AckermanEditorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications.
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ExpertiseI've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever.Credentials
Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
There's a better-than-decent chance that your next console is going to live in a piece of Ikea furniture. The assemble-it-yourself Swedish brand is known for inexpensive media centers and TV stands, which range from generic white boxes to industrial-style metal shelves.
Having gotten my hands on life-size plastic mockups of the upcoming Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, I slipped both into my bag and headed down to the nearest Ikea (literally walking distance) to see how the new consoles worked with some of the most popular living room furniture in the store.
These faux consoles are the actual plastic shells of the Xboxes, just without the game-playing parts inside. In person, both look modern and sleek. The Series X is smaller than you would think from photos, but also too tall to work in most living room media centers, unless turned on its side. The Series S is almost a perfect console size -- and the white design with a black ventilation grille on top looks even nicer than the Series X. The round grille reminds me of a vintage portable radio, and I'd love to see something similar in the Series X some day.
Here's how the two mock consoles fit in Ikea's main living room media units.
Kallax, $35-$180 These cube shelves are everywhere, and beloved by DJs and board game collectors for their generous storage space. I tried a couple of different Kallex combinations, and was pleased that the bigger Series X was able to fit in upright with some headroom to spare.
PS, $99 I love the retro locker look of these cabinets, and there's plenty of room both on top and inside. I'd just be concerned about leaving the console running with the door closed for heat reasons.
Malsjo, $399 About as classic as a media unit gets, which also means it's not exactly the most modern look. Plenty of room, but again, I'd leave the sliding glass door open for heat dissipation.
Lommarp, $289 I hadn't seen this traditional-style unit before, but I immediately liked it. There are two large open areas to put your consoles, with precut holes for wiring in the back. The beige version looks too generic for me, but the dark green option gives it a modern kick.
Besta, $99-$299 Another popular Ikea piece you've probably owned at some point. The shelves have plenty of room, if you flip the Series X on its side, but the glass doors on the floor sample were a no-go for me. You can, however, customize it with different doors, or no doors at all.
Hemnes, $169 When I mentioned that I was going to Ikea to check out the media cabinets for future console use, the first question I got was about the Hemnes line. It comes in a variety of colors and configurations, and the name is used for TV cabinets, dressers and other furniture. With a middle shelf, there's only room for the Series S. Take that shelf out and you have a large open space for the bigger Series X.
Fjallbo, $149 The hardest-to-pronounce Ikea cabinet may be the nicest-looking one I saw during my field trip. The industrial design was a welcome break from the dorm-room aesthetic of some of the other choices, and the metal grate doors offered ventilation without leaving your cabinet shelves wide open.
Lack, $16 There's cheap, and then there's Lack. If you absolutely, positively need a media unit and have less than 20 bucks to spend, it's either this or a couple of old milk crates. On the plus side, it'll fit your console, and there's no ventilation issues, because there's no front or back to it.
The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S both go on sale on Nov. 10. The PS5 will be available on Nov. 12, but it's larger and has a more stylized design, so I suspect I'll be paying another visit to Ikea soon.
Watch this: PS5 vs. Xbox Series X: Full comparison