Many entertainment centers are made from synthetic wood. Others have veneer. This is not an article for those types of wood. This article applies only to living room entertainment centers that are made of real wood such as oak, cherry, maple, pine, walnut, etc.
Remove the TV, stereo, VCR, DVD player, and game systems from the entertainment center. Untangle and separate all cords if need be. Separate each device and safely set them on your kitchen table or counters. Putting them on the table and counters keeps them out of the way and safe. It’s a good idea to take a minute to dust them all off. Use a soft damp cloth and gently wipe down the devices and their cords.
Remove all books and movies from the entertainment center. Place them in order on your living room couch. Putting them on the couch keeps them near so that when it’s time to put them all back they will be right there and you won’t have to make a million trips from room to room.
Use a soft damp cloth to dust the entertainment center off completely. Ask a friend or your spouse to help you carry the unit out to your workshop or garage as this is something that you do not want to do inside of your home. Ask one of your kids or someone else to get the door so that you and your carrying partner do not have to stop or set the unit down as they can be very heavy. Once you get moving it just go and get it out there. A handcart is not use full for an entertainment center. I wouldn’t recommend you try it. Carrying it is the best way. If you attempt to use a handcart you may damage the unit.
Okay, once your living room entertainment center is out in your garage or workshop it’s time to put on a face mask and protective eyewear. Ready an electric handheld sander with rough grit sandpaper and sand the old finish off of each and every surface. Once you are down to bare wood and no old finish remains on the unit at all switch to fine grit and go over it again.
Use a dry cloth to remove all of the dust from when you sanded. You don’t want any dust to remain or else you new finish will have bumps and blemishes in it. Once the surface is completely clean decide whether you want to leave the wood natural, or if you want to richen the color with stain.
Stain can be applied using a clean dry cloth. Simply rub it on in a circular motion. Quickly rub it back off to avoid dark spots. If you are happy with the color proceed to the next step. If not apply a second coat of stain.
The final step to refinishing your living room entertainment center is to apply a couple of coats of polyurethane. Poly helps to protect the color of the stain. It also protects to wood. A poly surface is useable and cleanable. Slowly pour polyurethane into a clean paint tray. Apply the poly using a large foam paint brush. Allow the first coat 30 minutes to dry then apply another coat. Allow that coat 30 minutes to dry then apply a third and final coat. Allow the final coat to dry for 12 hours, or over night.
Once the final coat is completely dry bring the entertainment center back into your home and set it back in your living room. Replace the devices, movies and books. It’s always fun to rearrange when doing this as it creates a new look. Your old dull living room entertainment center will look brand new. The new finish will last for years!