DIY Upcycled Bench From an Old TV Stand

by | Sep 15, 2021

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I found this old TV stand for free and though, what the heck – let’s turn it into a bench for our breezeway. It was super sturdy, and not doing much good sitting outside. Here’s what I did to take it from ugly 80s to upcycled TV stand turned into bench.

OK first of all I want to say this project almost didn’t get done. Seriously.

I’m mortally afraid of spiders. I freak out. And have panic attacks. I cry like a little baby. Yep, I just don’t like them.

Anyway, this TV stand had been sitting outside for months when I rescued it and brought it into the house. Dirt and leaves? No problem. But the SEVERAL spiders that were hidden in this thing WERE NOT OK.

Thank goodness my partner is tougher than I am when it comes to bugs.

Speaking of, I think I’ll use this time to save whatever pride I have left to say that in order to do this project we had to move our super heavy elliptical into the basement. It had been put in the breezeway because we were planning on making a home gym in the garage, but ultimately scrapped that idea when our 50 year old garage panel box didn’t have any extra 240 breakers for heat.

So anyway, I lifted from the top of the stairs and my partner was on at the bottom. I’m smaller, so obviously I didn’t want to be in the crushing spot if that sucker came careening down the stairs.

Except it didn’t. It got hung up on every. Single. Step. And yours truly lifted it and set it down on the next step the whole way down the stairs.

Basically I did all the work.

Anyway, thanks to both spider killing and elliptical moving I was able to get this little project done.

Please note: Our whole house is a renovation and this room isn’t pretty! Please look at the DIY project, not our desperately 80s home. Thanks.

DIY Upcycled Bench – Before

This is the before photo - it's an old, 80s style ugly TV stand that's brown

As you can see this sucker is right from the 80s. The first thing I tried to do was repair the paneling on the front – I really liked the rectangle design. Unfortunately since it was left outside the wood was too rotten and they kept breaking. Oh, and a couple were missing too so that didn’t help.

Love flipping 80s things? We also did our fireplace, see the pictures here.

How I Refinished This Bench From an Old 80s TV Stand: Step by Step

Step 1 – Remove Trim or Repair

Showing the trim being pulled off of the bench doors

If you do want to repair anything on your project this is the time! Glue peeling panels, buff corners, etc. If you choose to remove stuff, that’s OK too. I used a hammer to knock the pieces off (they came off easily) and then pulled the nails out with a pair of pliers.

Step 2 – Sand

It’s a good idea to sand the whole thing, but especially places where you have some rough edges (like where I removed nails) and really smooth areas that the paint may not stick to.

If you look at the after pictures you can see that I missed some glue when sanding and it’s super noticeable.

Step 3 – Paint Handles

Front of the bench is unpainted, sanded, and the handles are spray painted with gold paint

Since I was using spray paint for the handles I opted to paint them before everything else.

Step 4 – Prime

Prime everywhere you plan to paint, but make sure you leave the part you plan to stain out. Don’t get any paint on that part because I will show through.

Step 5 – Paint

Paint where you primed. Make sure your paint has time to dry completely between coats. Mine took three coats of paint, and even then I’m not 100% happy with the outcome. Other types of paint, like chalk paint or milk paint, will probably go on easier.

The blue is some random paint I had left over from my son’s room. I meant to paint it Chinese Porcelain, which I used for the accent wall in my living room, but grabbed the wrong can from the basement. Oops. I’ll probably add another coat later.

Step 6 – Stain

Stain can be messy, so make sure you’re careful with this step. I only did one coat and used a foam brush to spread the stain around. I used a black varathane stain. Stain takes a long time to dry – I allowed it to dry for 24 hours before moving the stand.

I really like the look of the stain on top and I think it turned out great.

DIY Upcycled Bench – After

Cat sitting on a blue bench with a black stained top - this is the finished product

So there you have it! I made sure to paint the inside of the cupboard too since it’s likely going to get left open sometimes. The cat seems to like it…

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