TUAW and Gizmodo both offer many helpful tips for media center set-ups. What inspired you? We wanted a room where people could socialize comfortably w/out the television feeling like an intrusion. The square layout offers plenty of places to sit, and it doesn't feel like everyone is focused AROUND the TV. Connecting the laptop to the TV is a snap and works great because all our media is easily accessible through a hard drive on our network using Airport Extreme....We used books and DVD albums below the stand to hide ugly wires from view. Since we rent, we decided not to mount the LCD, but the shelf above makes everything feel more built in.
Great Tip: Take advantage of your laptop's video out. When connected to a large LCD screen, you have a great jukebox interface (i recommend apple's front row), and screen savers with old photos are very entertaining background for when friends are over.