How To Give An Old Entertainment Center A Makeover With Paint – No Sanding Required

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Here’s how give an old entertainment center a makeover, what kind of paint to use on wood furniture and how to paint furniture without sanding.

I recently gave my family room a little makeover geared toward giving the space a brighter, more updated look.  But, when I was thought I was finished, I realized that something was still off.  It took me a while, but I finally realized that what I needed to do was to give my old wall unit entertainment center a makeover.

White entertainment center in neutral family room.Pin

I had been telling myself for a long time, that keeping the natural wood was a good thing because it added a bit of warmth to the room (and natural wood certainly does!), but the color of the wood used on the entertainment center just wasn’t cutting it.  I think it was pretty, but it just wasn’t right for the new look and feel of the room.  Take a look at what the entertainment center looked like before, after the rest of the room had its makeover. Something just seemed off.

The wooden entertainment center.Pin

Even though I knew that something needed to be done to it, I almost let myself not do anything at all for fear of making a mistake.  Before I took the major step of painting it (once it’s painted, it’s painted – right?), I used Pinterest as a resource to look for entertainment center ideas to inspire me.  Fortunately, I was able to follow my own advice about overcoming my decorating fears and am soooo glad that I did!

I’ll go ahead and fess up and tell you that I didn’t paint it myself – I hired my painter to come in and do it.  What would have taken me days and days, they were able to knock it out in a few short hours.  I even snapped a quick pic with my phone so that you could see what the painting process looked like.

Two men painting the entertainment center.Pin

I had a few questions and concerns.  What is the best kind of paint to use on wood furniture?  Did I need to sand it first or wipe it down with something like mineral spirits?  It turned out that the products they used didn’t require any sanding or wiping down beforehand.

The painters applied one coat of Sherwin Williams oil based ProBlock Primer in white and two coats of Sherwin Williams SuperPaint semi gloss interior latex in Extra White.  A full third coat wasn’t needed, but there were lots of places that needed the third coat touch-up.

Sherwin Williams primer and paintPin

Painting the unit wasn’t the only update that I gave to the entertainment center.  I also removed the doors and filled all of the holes where the hinges had been.  Even though I wasn’t going to reuse the doors, I had those painted too……just in case.

A neutral armchair in the living room.Pin

Bookcase vignette with faux greenery and a glass cloche.Pin

If you look closely you can see that hardware doesn’t look exactly the same either.  Nope, it isn’t new hardware, nor did I paint the hardware.  I simply didn’t use the backer plates for the knobs when I reapplied the hardware to the cabinet doors, which adds to the updated appearance.  Don’t forget those little details, they make such a big difference in the look!

White entertainment center.Pin

I allowed the unit to “cure” for three days before adding anything back to the shelves, including the tv.  I was so proud of myself for not buying anything new to fill them with.  Everything came out of my design stash.

Bookshelf vignette with faux greenery and stacked books.Pin

The other choice that I made was to remove everything that used to live on top.  The items that had been on top just looked too heavy now that the unit was painted white and after filling the shelves again.  I thought that I’d be placing something else there, but I’m pretty much loving the cleaner, less heavy appearance.

There is a blue small table next to the armchair.Pin

I think the ultimate compliment came when I asked my daughter what she thought of my old entertainment center makeover and she said, “Mom, that looks just like Pottery Barn!”.


How To Update An Old Entertainment Center With Paint.Pin


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  1. Barbara Warner says:

    Love it. The white brightens up your entire space, and looks so inviting. It’s a “very white” white which I prefer. It seems like a big update, too, on style. I like it better without the doors.

  2. This turned out to be such an improvement. I agreed with your original choice to leave the wood tone because it seems that we are on painted furniture overload. But now that it is painted, it definitely was the right choice. It gives the room that fresh feeling you were looking for. Also, I think it flows better with how your other rooms are decorated. Great choice!

  3. It looks great! I know you’ve struggled with that piece for a long time, and you made the right decision. It definitely brightened up the room and updated the space! I have a dining room with that same issue but haven’t been able to pull the trigger yet. Thank you for your inspiration!

  4. Darrel Handgraaf says:

    When did you paint the entertainment center???


  5. I love your results and have done the same to a large set of bookshelves I inherited from my sweet brother. I hoped he would approve of my decision! I find myself always redecorating the shelves and have considerably lightened the decor and also, like you, feel no need for anything on top! Good decision!! I also hired a painter initially but over the years have refreshed it myself. Have fun playing with it!

  6. Looks great. You made the right decision.

  7. Wow, that looks awesome! What a difference painting it made! I’m going to paint my entertainment unit now too and I thank you for the inspiration!

  8. My entertainment center is very similar to your “before” and I have thought about painting it many times. I am so inspired by how yours turned out! Now to convince my husband… Have a great weekend!

  9. Margaret Mills says:

    I didn’t think you could put latex over oil based primer or it would peel off. Is that wrong? I’ve been told that by painters all my life. Can you clarify why you can do it in this particular case?

    1. Hi Margaret. You can paint with latex over oil based primer, but you can’t paint with oil based paint over latex. 😀

  10. Looks beautiful! Very inspiring.

  11. It looks great!!! I’m loving your after. So I’m curious to know if you had that little pine sofa table painted to match your entertainment center?

    1. Hi Melanie. I’m so sorry for not answering you sooner! I wound up just stripping the pine sofa table and leaving it bare. 😀

  12. Kristen Kosla says:

    hi. How much does that cost in labor to do it? Just wondering what’s a rip off price vs reasonable? It’s beautiful. Our house came with a built in but I’m so fearful to have it painted b/c what will happen when white is out of style again it’s a built in?

    1. Hi Kristen. I know from experience that paint labor prices can vary wildly in the same area. I also know that the painters I use are extremely well priced (which is why I use them). With that being said the cost to have them paint our entertainment center was $255, which included two gallons of Sherwin Williams paint. Well worth that price to me vs the days it would have taken me! 😀

  13. Love the “remodel” of your entertainment center, it’s hard to believe it is the same piece of furniture. The white is so fresh looking and doing a smooth, semi-gloss finish instead of a distressed one was a good choice. (Having your painters do the job at that very reasonable price was worth every penny). Taking the doors off gives it a totally new look but you were wise to get them painted at the same time in case you ever wanted to put them back on. Also leaving off the back plates to the knobs gives a cleaner look. I agree with you about leaving the items off the top – the crisp white look doesn’t need anything on top of it. Super update of a a slightly dated (finish wise) solid wood piece with great lines.

  14. Brenda L Hopper says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely beautiful! You’ve inspired me to do something similar to our old entertainment cabinet. Our family room looks dark and tired. I think some white paint and maybe a slipcover will breathe new life into our room.

    Thank you for what you do! I look forward to your emails and projects. (I’m a VB girl too.)

  15. 5 stars
    I have an Indian style cupboard in our white conservatory Whilst it looks ok on the inside it looks awful from the garden. Will this paint withstand the heat as it gets very hot in the conservatory as you can imagine.
    Thank you in advance for your advice.

    1. Hmm…..I don’t have any experience with using this particular SuperPaint formulation, but this is what the Sherwin Williams website says about the EXTERIOR formulation of it: “SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint delivers outstanding performance and protects against the elements. Cold and frosty or hot and humid, this formula goes on smooth and resists fading and peeling.” To be doubly sure though, I recommend talking with the folks at Sherwin Williams.

  16. Ann hester says:

    The paint can shows flat paint, but you stated that you used semi gloss paint to paint the entertainment center. Just wanted to double check on the paint finish as I’m getting ready to paint my entertainment center. Thanks!

    1. That’s just an image that I pulled from online, not the actual paint cans. 😀 But yes, I did use semi gloss.

    2. Cami ross says:

      any recommendations on paint brushes/rollers? So happy I stumbled upon your page! We have the exact same entertainment center! Excited to paint it white.

      1. Thank you! I don’t have a recommendation for a particular brand of brush or roller. Just make sure that they’re both good quality, that the brush is made for paint (IE: not for stain) and that the roller you use is lint free.

  17. What are your thoughts on painting out (white) honey oak Mantlepiece in the family room ????

      1. No it is currently Honey Oak and I am debating to paint it darker wood stain or paint it white

  18. Wow! Love all decisions made!! If I had this piece hubby would never let it be painted cause he is a wood purist… I live through the rest of you who can make this happen! Ha

    1. Haha! I know exactly what you mean. So many men despise painting wood. 😀

  19. Nydia DiCarali says:

    It looks absolutely amazing! You’ve inspired me. I have a very dark entertainment center and I’m taking this on after the holidays! Can you tell me what color paint you used?

    Thank you!

  20. Denia Teeters says:

    How much paint did you buy to paint the entertainment center? 1/2 gal./1 gallon?

    1. For my size entertainment center, we bought one gallon of primer and one gallon of paint.