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. Peg Odenthal says:

    Just had our oak entertainment center painted a creamy white (would have taken me forever, guys had it done in 2 days & worth every penny!); it looks SO much more fresh and brightens up our whole family room; thank you for your inspiration!

  2. Looks great! Do you recall a price they charged. I would love to have something paint my bedroom furniture. It’s off white but has pink undertones. Thank you

    1. So sorry for the delay in replying – for some reason I wasn’t notified of your comment. I can’t remember for sure, but I think it was $200 – $300.

  3. Gigi Olivadoti says:

    Thank you so much. I have been wanting to paint my Entertainment Center for years now but was afraid to. You have given me the courage so I am finally going to tackle it. I love how yours came out. I think I am going to do it myself instead of hiring someone but we’ll see how that goes.

  4. What paint and color did you use on the walls?

  5. Kim Williams says:

    This looks great. I want to paint a grandfather clock. I too am a little scared. You are giving me some confidence!

  6. I love what you did. What a difference in the room.
    We moved & we did the same with the entertainment center. Except we had doors made for the opening & we now use it as our bar. Great we can close the liquor up if no one is having a drink.

  7. Bonnie White says:

    Why oil based primer vs latex?

    1. The painter believes that oil based primer does a better job than latex. You can paint over oil based primer with latex paint, but you cannot paint over latex primer with oil based paint.

  8. Such a beautiful transformation! I love it.

  9. Beautiful and updated! I have a sonar piece by Broyhill that I’d love to paint. No sanding? Was there any gloss on the piece before the primer was applied? Thanks.

    1. Thank you! It was the original factory finish, which had a slight sheen to it.

  10. Where did you find the entertainment center. I have a small space and that size would work. Was it Billy bookcases.Thanks

    1. We found the entertainment center several years ago and a local furniture store. Sadly, it’s no longer available. I know that smaller/narrow entertainment centers can be difficult to find. You might check Wayfair, if you haven’t already.

      1. Thank you so much. Do you remember the Brand

        1. It was actually a very inexpensive piece from Rooms To Go. We originally purchased it for use in the basement at our last house, so we didn’t want anything pricey. It still looks great and has held up very well though.

  11. Sharon Stern says:

    I have the exact same unit and have wanted to paint it for years now. Great to see it done. My daughter and I recently used the same Sherwin Williams products on her kitchen cabinets. Super easy to apply and came out great!

    1. Thank you so much for letting me know that! I hesitated for a long time (out of fear) before painting it, but I’m so glad I did. It made a drastic difference in the look and feel of my family room.

  12. Suzi I love your entertainment center makeover and thank you for inspiring me to do the same to mine!!
    I inherited my parents set and it is a very dark brown oak. I’ve been so hesitant to paint it but it is just weighing down my family room and the pieces are huge and bulky.
    I’m going to take the plunge like you did and see if it helps lighten my room and my mood. Thanks for the gentle nudge.