Repurpose An Old Dresser Into An Entertainment Center With Storage

Posted on Jun 5, 2012 in Do It Yourself, Home Decor | 2 comments

An old dresser on it’s way to the dump gets a makeover and becomes the perfect solution for our media center problems.  I am so pleased with the amazing transformation that this old dresser has allowed in our living room.

I am so excited to be sharing this project with you today!  It has been about six months in the making, and was one of those projects that seems to take way longer than it should.  When we inherited this old dresser we intended on using it in a bedroom for its typical purpose.  But this winter I was faced with a living room dilemma that lead me to change my mind.

Over the winter months my son became interested in playing the Wii and other video games.  Over his birthday and Christmas time he got some new games and accessories .  We really never played it and all of the components were just tossed into a basket on the other side of the living room.  I found it frustrating that there was no specific place to put anything.  Each family member would shove it in a different place, and there would have to be a search for all of the games and controllers every time we did want to play.  I remembered the old dresser and had seen them used in living rooms as side tables or entertainment centers before.  Our old entertainment center was perfect for when our kids were infants  – it had no sharp corners, was sturdy and was just the right height.  But now that they are getting bigger there are more game systems and the cords to go with it.  All of that stuff had no place to go.  With the previous entertainment center the cords were all exposed and it was one of those things that kind of bothered me, but wasn’t that big of a deal.  Once I realized we needed a place to organize and store all of the other media it was time to come up with a solution that not only looked pretty but was totally functional, and safe too.

 The dresser really makes a pretty big difference in the before and after picture.  It is the exact same space and television, just a new entertainment center and a few extra touches.  When I first told the Hubby what I was thinking about painting the dresser and using it as an entertainment center he thought that it would look ridiculous to have a dressed in the living room and that he didn’t want me to paint perfectly good furniture.  I took a chance and did it anyway, hoping that he would approve of the finished project.

There are so many reasons why I love how this dresser turned out.  I painted it black and distressed it and love the finish to pieces.  I have always loved the look of Pottery Barn’s black distressed furniture, but…pretty sure a piece of their furniture will never make it into our home because of the extravagant cost.   My furniture redo mimics their paint job so well and cost me under $20.00!

It looks just lovely in our living room and makes the space looked more finished.  Amazing what a can of paint can do to and old beat up dresser.

I decided that to make this dresser work as an entertainment center, it had to work like one.  I have never liked the look of the prefab centers you can buy for flat screen televisions with their shiny black, clear glass, and fake wood.  They just look to modern for the look I try to achieve in our home.  However, they are more functional and allow you to use all of you TV accessories without opening and closing doors all of the time.  To solve that problem I simply removed the two side by side drawers from the top of the dresser.  Our Blu-ray player, Wii, and satellite receiver fit perfectly into the open spaces, and the desk hides all of the cords perfectly.  All I had to do was slide the electronics in , plug them in, and slide the dresser into place!  I also bought a couple of rolls of pretty contact paper from the dollar store to put on the bottom where the electronics sit.  That way I didn’t have to paint the bottom particle board that sits under the dresser.  I just cleaned it well and cut a piece of contact paper to fit the space, peeled, and stuck it into place.  Now the part of the shelf that shows has a little extra character, and the wood is protects from the electronics in case they are slid around and moved.

The process of painting the dresser was well worth the effort for the major transformation that occurred.  I used a can of Glossy black oil based paint, some brushes, dollar store contact paper, a screwdriver, painters tape, liquid sander, tack cloth, and a sanding block to refinish this dresser.

1. First I removed the drawers and cleaned out the dresser thoroughly.

2. I removed the hardware from the drawers and removed the top two drawers completely (I will be doing another project with those later). I also taped off the screw holes so that I could easily put the same drawer pulls back on after the painting was finished.

3.  I used Klean-Stip Easy Liquid Sander Deglosser to rough up the finish before painting.  I have used this on a few projects like my camera display shelf redo, and really like the results I get without the hassle of sanding.

4.  I added two thin layers of glossy black oil based paint using a small roller and a brush to get on the inside, and corners of the drawers.  Oil based paint is super messy to clean up, but I was very happy with the shine and look it gave to the dresser.

5.  After Months of letting the paint dry (some projects take longer than others!)  I used a sanding block to distress the corners and sides of the dresser.  I liked the look of the edges have more distress than other areas, but you can do it however you like.  I used a tack cloths to clean up dresser.

6.  I added dollar store contact paper to the particle board where the drawers were removed from the top and to the inside of the drawers that were left and painted.

7.  I bought some black baskets, and a silverware tray that would fit in the drawers to organize and store all of our accessories inside our new pretty entertainment center.  The games are lined in a row and held with book ends inside the drawer.

I love that everything has a place, and that it is nice and organized inside the drawers.  The kids know exactly where to find and where to return everything, and can now keep their stuff in one place.  The silverware tray was a large plastic tray that I already had, but wouldn’t fit into my drawers in the kitchen, it ended up being the perfect solution for organizing game system controllers and accessories!  The kids now know that if they take it out it should go back to the exact same place, and it’s working remarkably well!

The bottom drawer has two large baskets that hold the kid’s hand held electric games, game instructions, and miscellaneous cords.  My favorite part about having all of their little handheld games in their is that:

1.  Most of the games were expensive gifts from family, this way I know they are safely put away and not at the bottom of a toy bin, or getting stepped on in their rooms.

2.  The kids need to ask permission to go into the drawers of the dresser, and I can keep track of the amount of time they are spending playing games and limit it if I need to.

3.  I always know where to find the games if we are headed to an appointment, or outing where I can grab a game and put it in my purse if I think it would be helpful while we are out and about (without running around the house searching for it).

4.  All of the games that go with the systems are all right there, and not lost in the toy abyss, that is our house.  When they want a certain game, it should be right in it’s spot next to the system it goes with.

I also keep my workout videos and weights in the drawer so the kids aren’t tempted to play with the weights and break their little toes if they are sitting out in the living room.

I am very happy to report that my skeptical husband thinks that the dresser looks perfect, and he is pleased with the organization value that it provides too!  He was totally surprised that removing the dresser drawers would work so beautifully for all of his electronics.  I am so pleased that I took the leap and decided to transform that old dresser into a useful piece of furniture for our home.  With a few bucks, and some elbow grease it has become one of the most used pieces in our home.  I love that it is totally unique and has a ton of character.  It has really changed the feel of our living room and kicked things up a notch!  I love the look of the dresser in our space, and could not have found a more functional piece of furniture that fit our specific needs in that space at any store.  The area looks so much more neat and tidy thanks to one old junk dresser.  It definitely pays to think outside of the box and find creative ways to reuse what you already have. 

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2 Comments

  1. LOVE THIS!!!! I’m sure it took some time from start to finish, but it looks amazing. It is beautiful and functional. I wish I had your vision and ability to make things like this for my house.

    • Thank you Christine- It really turned out great! It is surprising what one can create with junk that other people give away! A little elbow grease and some imagination/inspiration go along way!

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