Remove the dresser’s top drawers.
Unscrew any side glides, a raised center rail, stops or anything else that controlled the drawers’ movement inside the dresser. If the dresser has drawers below, you should see front and back supports that hold the drawers’ center rails. Leave the supports in place. You will use them to hold up the shelving. If there are cabinets below, the drawers’ “floor” -- the cabinets' "roof" -- becomes the shelf.
Fill the screw holes with wood filler, using a putty knife. Sand the patched areas smooth when the filler is dry. Sand the entire dresser lightly, if you plan to paint it.
Measure the inner area for a base or shelf, if needed. Cut the base to size from 1/2-inch plywood, using a handsaw or circular saw. Cut the plywood shelf in half, widthwise. Insert each half through the drawer openings to put them in place. Angle the shelves to get them in, if needed. They should fit well enough that you won't have to screw them down, but if they seem unstable, use at least two 1-inch wood screws to attach each half to its front and back support.
Cut cord holes in the back of the dresser, if you plan to have electronics, such as a satellite receiver and video player on the shelf, using a hole saw. Plan the holes to be roughly behind the components, so that they aren’t visible from the front.
Paint the entire stand, inside and out, using semi-gloss interior paint and a 4-inch roller after applying a coat of primer, if the dresser has a glossy stain or varnish finish. Use a 1-inch angled paintbrush to reach the corners and grooves.
Things You Will Need
- Wood filler
- Putty knife
- Medium-grit sandpaper
- Measuring tape
- 1/2-inch plywood
- Handsaw or circular saw
- Hole saw
- Semi-gloss interior paint and primer
- 4-inch roller
- 1-inch angled paintbrush
- Even if your TV is the wall-mounted style, a dresser below completes the look and provides somewhere to house any electronic components.
- If you don't use the shelf space for electronics, place accessories or good-looking rattan baskets on it for storage.
- Some dresser backs are simply lightweight fiberboard stapled in place. Rather than cutting the shelf in half to put it in place, remove the fiberboard, using a staple puller or flat screwdriver and pliers, put the plywood in place, and then replace the dresser backing with staples.
- Discard the removed dresser drawers or store them in case you decide to use the piece as a dresser again. Alternatively, recycle them as handy storage boxes in a shed or garage.