How to Transform Your Media Center

My house has been in need of a media center for a while. We had a pretty nice setup at our old house, but since we moved to our new house 10 months ago, our TV/electronics area has been a mess.

Our old media center

Our old media center

So, my sister and I began hunting for a free/cheap piece of furniture to refinish for my media center!

We faced some obstacles, though. First off, the wall that the TV is on has a non-functioning fireplace. We’re renting, so we weren’t able to do anything with it, except hide it. Second, the wall is not totally flat. That is, it has a flat middle, then curves out on either side. So we really had to find something with specific measurements, otherwise this project just wouldn’t work.

But we hit some good luck!

My sister saw an ad on Facebook listing a free (but so crappy) dresser! She got the measurements and, other than being just a bit too short, it was perfect!

Not pretty, but free!

Not pretty, but free!

I see potential!

I see potential!

This dresser had mismatched and missing hardware, kid’s drawings all over, and two half-destroyed drawers. But it’s incredible what a bit of love (and paint) can do!

To get this dresser looking like it’s new, fabulous self, here’s what we needed:

  • Paint (we used paint from a previous project) = Free
  • Plaster of Paris = $6
  • Polyurethane = $4
  • Paintbrush/foam brush = $2
  • Plastic paint bucket = $1
  • Hardware = $10 ($2 each piece at Hobby Lobby)
  • Dresser = Free
  • Total = $$23

Now, how did we do it? I’m pretty unskilled at refinishing furniture, so I enlisted the help of my very talented sister.

  1. We moved the dresser onto a drop cloth on the back porch. we then lightly cleaned the whole thing. No need to go crazy, we just wanted to make sure the paint would stick to the wood.
  2. We then mixed the paint. In order to achieve that softened, chalky look, we mixed up our own chalk-board paint! To do this, just mix 3 parts pain to 1 part water to 1 part plaster of Paris (3:1:1).
  3. We then painted the dresser with even brush strokes, and used two coats.
  4. Once the paint was completely dry, we used the foam brush to apply a coat of polyurethane. This helps seal the paint, protecting it from any scratches or other damage. Because we knew we’d be placing items on top of the dresser, we ended up doing a second coat on top and on each shelf. *Note* If you do a second coat of polyurethane, you need to wait AT LEAST 4 or 5 hours. If the polyurethane isn’t completely dry, the brush will actually peel the first coat as you apply the second coat.
    Looking good with paint and two coats of polyurethane!

    Looking good with paint and two coats of polyurethane!

  5. Once the dresser was dry, we replaced all of the hardware! The door was missing a handle altogether, so we added one that looks like a door-knocker! Love it!
  6. Last step: We put the drawers back in and moved the dresser into place!
The finished product!

The finished product!

My husband helped me decorate (I’m going to be moving a few things around LOL), but we’re in love! I’m toying with the idea of buying black hinges for the door, but I’m not sure if I really want to put more money into it. Besides, it looks so much better than our previous setup, why mess with it!

I’m hoping to work on some more furniture soon, so I’ll keep you all updated on how it goes!

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