TV Stand Upcycle – Giving a Craigslist TV Stand a Makeover

Check out this fun upcycled TV stand project! I found a large TV cabinet in rough shape on Craigslist and brought it back to life with paint and a lot of sanding!

This tv stand upcycle took weeks to finish, but it turned out so well. It brings a lot of balance to the living room.

It took 2 coats of primer, 3 coats of paint, and 4 coats of poly, plus filling in holes and attaching new hardware. But it’s finally done!

Refinished tv stand

The back story on this tv stand goes back to when we bought our new couch and gave the living room a makeover.

The new couch was way bigger than our original couch and it dwarfed the old tv stand. Plus, where the couch was situated it could be difficult to watch the tv. We spent a few hours rearranging the room, but nothing really worked.

This picture shows how we moved the smaller tv stand and the tv as far to the right as they would go. It worked but definitely wasn’t a long-term fix especially since you couldn’t see over the arm of the sofa when laying down.

TV placement

We decided to invest in a new tv stand that was taller, with storage, and fit the wall across from the couch. And we needed one on a budget. It turns out, it’s hard to find a tv stand 72″ long and at least 26″ tall.

Then finally, I found it on Cragslist! A tv stand with all the right dimensions, and fun lines, and at a great price. We drove 45 minutes on a Saturday morning to pick it up, which was worth it for the $50 price tag. 

TV Stand - Before

The Big TV Stand Upcycle

Step 1 – Removing Damaged Pieces

At first glance, there were some visible scratches and wear. But nothing that was a deal-breaker at first.

After we came home, I started taking things apart. Then I realized that the piece was actually in rough shape. All of the backing and the bottom liners had water damage. So I did a little demo and dismantled the whole thing. Then I sanded it and applied a coat of primer.

TV Stand disassembled

The previous owners also used a ton of nails and staples and screws to attach the cardboard backing. I used my Dremel to cut off some of the nail heads and staples. We also bought plywood for the new backing. We wanted it more durable for the future.

Dremel on tv stand

Step 2- Primer and Paint

After the first coat of primer, I decided it would be easier to flip the whole piece over. I primed, painted, and sealed the bottom before working on the top. 

TV Stand - bottom

After I finished painting, I realized that I didn’t want to reuse the same hardware. I didn’t think it went well with the new bright white color. So, I went to the craft store and picked up some fun red knobs.

Step 3 – Wood Filler (This Should Have Been Step 2 But I Messed Up)

But the drawers used to have pulls not knobs. So I had to fill the holes, with wood filler, all over my new paint job.

Using wood filler to fill handle holes

Filling the drawer holes meant the drawers needed another two coats of paint. The finish was ruined from the wood filler. I also decided to caulk several gaps in the cabinet doors. They became more visible with white paint versus black.

Seriously guys, do all of this stuff BEFORE painting. It will save you hours and tears.

TV stand - progress

Step 4 – Paint (Again) and Seal

After all the painting was finally done I spent 3 weeks sealing the whole thing. I used 3 coats of poly, sanding between the first two coats. Then it sat in the garage for a week to fully cure. My worst nightmare was it not being fully cured and sticking to the bottom of the tv.

TV Area - Living Room

A Beautiful TV Stand Upcycle

The new tv stand definitely fits the scale of the room better than the previous piece. Plus now everyone can see the tv no matter where they are sitting or laying. We still have to push the tv to the right, but it doesn’t look as weird on this large piece as it did on the small stand.

TV Stand refinish
Practical TV Stand

I’m on the hunt for a large vase or something of that sort to incorporate on the left side of the stand, just to keep it visually balanced with the tv. And so there’s something pretty to look at as soon as you step in from the foyer.

Refinished tv stand

The new hardware is definitely one of my favorite things about this piece now! I really love the subtle pop of red from the knobs and the antique key-hole look of these pulls. Plus the drawers provide great storage for our DVDs, video game controllers, extra wires, remotes and other living room knick-knacks. This being finished brings us one step closer to being done with the living room!

Our to-do list is looking more like this now:

  • Curtains for the windows so they aren’t naked anymore. I’d prefer something with a red pattern that I can buy, but I’m open to making them if I have to.
  • Finish the sofa table we started this weekend. It needs to be about 5 inches shorter (length wise) and to be stained. We are actually mounting a shelf behind the couch instead. Coming soon!
  • Finish sewing the pillows for the couch. It’s been a work in progress for weeks and I just need to get them done.
  • Hang art over the couch to fill in the space and make things more homey.
  • Find a new, longer, tv stand. Now that we moved some things around the living room is seriously lacking storage for DVDs and game system accessories, so I’d like a bigger tv stand. If you’re local, I’m looking for something 72″ wide and no more than 26″ tall. Now I have to redo the one I bought!
  • Get a chair, or two, a side table and a plant to fill the corner of the room opposite the couch. Still hunting for the right chairs, at the right price!
  • Paint our mantel white, maybe add some molding to it, and secure it to the brick so it is more sturdy. I’d also really like to add a large mirror to the mantel to give the room the allusion of being deeper, something it lost with the large sectional being added to the room. Coming soon! (I hope!)
  • Replace the carpet. It needs it. I’d settle for a rug or two in the meantime though!

We are relieved to finally have the tv stand out of the garage and in the living room and to have this project finished in general! I’m hoping to have at least 2 more of those to-do list items finished before July! It’s good to be back in the swing of things!


  1. Love it! Plus I had to say that I heart your extended editions of LOTR. I have the same ones sitting on my TV stand right now 🙂 Keep it up!

  2. Jess @ Little House. Big Heart.

    I LOVE it! It’s the perfect size for the spot.

    Poly. I always skip that step (because I’m a rebel like that). Way to do the thing the right way!

  3. It looks great!!! You did a fantastic job 🙂 It’s all come together so nicely!

  4. Kelly @ Corner of Main

    It turned out really nice! I love the bright white; it was worth all the time spent fixing it!

  5. i love the red knobs…they were worth the trouble!! it looks really good in your home. great work guys!!

  6. Its looking great!! You are almost finished :)I love the knobs. Hobby Lobby has the best!! And World Market!

  7. Looks awesome!!

  8. Funny, this past weekend I was thinking about ways I could spruce up our TV unit in the family room!

    Even though from the sound of it this project was a bit (or a lot!) of a headache, your TV stand turned out great 🙂 I love the little pop of colour from the red pulls – definitely worth the extra effort it took to fill the old holes and repaint 🙂 And the scale works really well in your room.

    I hope you have time now to sit back and relax and enjoy some TV 🙂

  9. Wow! I am so impressed with how it turned out! You did a great job!!

  10. How lovely. It’s so bright, crisp and clean looking. The red knobs are a great pop of color and make a big statement. Looks like you are chipping away at that to do list!

  11. It looks awesome. Definitely more of a classic look and it fits great with the proportions and style of the room.

  12. It looks great!! Sounds like it was a lot of work, but I’m sure totally worth it now that you are enjoying the end result.

  13. Fantastic transformation. I’ve been looking for just the right size and height media stand for a long time, and this gives me hope!

  14. Worth the work – looks great! Now get back to your Gossip Girl marathon!

  15. I love a good make-over. The cabinet definitely came out great. I love that you repainted it and did some structural work as well. It looks great in the spot across from the sofa. Enjoy watching your favorite TV shows. 🙂

  16. It looks so great! I definitely need to learn some of your handy ways – I have like 3 large pieces in my house that I want to paint, but I’m not to sure how to go about it!

  17. WOAH! So much work…but it looks like it was worth it! It’s gorgeous! I love the size and different storage areas. And I agree with your decision to change the hardware—the red knobs are great!

  18. Christine @ Casa

    Love the new stand. The red knobs are perfect! What about hanging some short floating shelves on the wall to the left of the TV to give some height and balance the television? It’d be a great spot to store a few décor pieces or frames, would balance the tv and if done in white- would probably even look like part of the tv stand. You would have to relocate the large wall clock though. Just a thought!

  19. Tracy Young

    I love attempting the same project (almost exactly) has been a nightmare! It was already black (glossy) but needed some touch-ups. Attempted to spray paint…. Mistake! Long story short,what kind of paint did you use?

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