From Ugly to Ombre: Transforming a 70s TV Stand into a Colorful Modern Bar Cart

By Brittni • Updated on 01/03/2016

DIY Ombre Bar Cart, Styled 3 Ways

Recently, I’ve been on the lookout for a small bookshelf that I can use to store a few things (not necessarily books) that were stashed away in my closet. And after a couple of weeks of casual searching, I found it! Well, sort of.

What I actually found was a semi-sad looking 70s (?) television stand at a local thrift store for $22. I’ll be honest, the price is what initially got my attention, but I liked the shape and the fact that it was on casters too. And I figured I could put my own spin on it somehow.

So, I packed it up in my car and went straight to a home improvement store so I could get some supplies to fix up my neglected tv cart. Side Note: When I was in the car, I kept thinking about that old MTV show, Pimp My Ride, for some reason. The cart DOES have wheels and I was in a car at the time, so it almost makes sense, right?

Anyway, after picking up what I needed and cleaning the stand from head to toe, I started thinking about all of the ways I could use this thing. I swear the fact that it is on wheels opened up a whole new world for me.

So, I partnered with ASUS North America to share how I transformed a $22 thrift store find into a little gem on wheels. And in addition to the before and after tutorial, I’ll also share how you can use a cart, like this one, three different ways in your home.

Testing out the ASUS T100 Transformer Book

Before I jump into the makeover project though, and a nearly endless amount of photos, I wanted to share a little bit more about about the ASUS T100 Transformer Book, which was sent to me to use for this project. And you can win one too – more on that at the bottom of this post.

Believe it or not, I didn’t have a tablet before I got this one. I guess I just assumed I wouldn’t have much use for one. Now that I have one, though, I’ve been using it pretty much everyday.

You can use it as a laptop or a tablet – it’s both (hence the name, Transformer Book). So, you just click a little button on the keyboard, and the screen pops right off to use as a tablet. Which is beyond convenient for me, especially when I’m in the middle of a DIY project. I can do research on it at my desk, just as I would with any laptop, and then unclick the tablet screen, to reference things when I’m down on the floor crafting (and possibly covered in paint). My favorite feature is that it’s a touch screen, which is normal for a tablet, but when you’re using it as a laptop it completely changes the experience. I honestly love it.

It runs on Windows 8.1 and has Microsoft Office 2013. And there a bunch of great apps too – my favorites are Saveur, IKEA DIY and Hacks Hub, and Architectural Digest. You can read more about the T100 Transformer Book here and share the ways that you “Transform Everyday”, by posting photos or videos to Instagram with the hashtag #asustransformeveryday.

Okay! Ready to jump into the makeover process?

Here’s what this television stand looked like before…

Television Stand Makeover // From Ugly to Ombre

Not very cute, huh?

There were a lot of steps to get to the ‘after’ stage. Here are the supplies I used to complete the project:

Primer (I used Cover Stain Oil-Based Zinsser spray primer) // Interior Paint and Paint Brush // Super Glue // Wood Filler + Putty Knife // 220 Grit Sandpaper


I cleaned the entire surface with a normal house cleaner to remove any dirt and grime. Then, I removed the metal pieces that were screwed into the top of the cart. There were some large holes that needed to be covered once the metal plates were removed. So, I used some wood filler to fill those and waited for that to set. While that was drying, I repaired a few areas where the vinyl was pulling away with superglue and taped it together until it was dry (this was not necessarily the ‘proper way’ to do it, but it worked, so hey).

Then I sanded the speckled areas, along with the entire surface of the cart and wiped it down to get everything clean of debris again. Next, I primed the entire cart (two coats) and then painted the bottom shelf and 3/4 of the legs with the teal paint (again, two coats). Once that way completely dry, I started spraying the top color to create the ombre effect.

I originally started with a neon yellow green, but after going through an entire can of it, I realized that white would look better. So, I primed the top again and, while the bottom teal areas were covered with paper to protect it from overspray, I lightly started spraying the white primer downward on the legs (starting at the top), to create the ombre look. It’s easier to do than it looks, as long as you start at the top and lightly work your way down. Getting further and further away from the legs while spraying, the lower down on the legs you get.

Once that was dry, I touched up a few areas on the teal lower portion that had been accidentally hit with the white paint. Then, I painted the wheels a lilac color (I’m obsessed with this color right now) and then sprayed the wheels and the entire surface of the cart with a matte finish sealant  Done!

How To Makeover a Bar Cart

With drying times included, this project took me one day to complete (about 8 hours). And now I can use it around the house for whatever mood strikes me.

Here’s the side-by-side before and after…

Before and After Bar Cart Makeover

And these are the three ways I’ve used my new rolling cart so far (let me know if you have any additional ideas for me):

1. Breakfast Bar and Coffee Cart

Okay, so this first option is fun for when you’re having people over. You can roll it over to the dining table for after dinner drinks or use it for coffee and donuts in the morning.

Bonus! You can store additional plates and glassware on the bottom shelf.

Ombre Bar Cart Makeover (after)

Sliced Oranges for Breakfast

Breakfast Bar Cart Makeover

Breakfast Bar Cart

Ombre Breakfast Bar Cart

2. Rolling Office Storage and Work Station

As you may have witnessed from my Behind the Scenes column, my workspace in the office is pretty much covered in supplies at all times. So I really needed a spot that I could catch up on emails (or Pinterest).

Needless to say, this is how the cart is set up right now in my office and it will probably be there for a while.

DIY Ombre Rolling Office Makeover

Stack of Colorful Design Books

Ombre Rolling Office Cart DIY

3. Plant Stand

I’ve been collecting a healthy number of succulents, cacti, and random house plants the last few months. And seeing the majority of them all in one place like this is fun.

This would be a good entryway piece to greet you when you walk in the front door too. Bonus! You can roll the cart over to the window to give the plants more sun, if needed.

DIY // Rolling Ombre Plant Stand

Lavender Close Up

Ombre Plant Stand DIY

Copper + Cacti

Purple Potted Plants

So now that I’ve shared my transformation, it’s only fair for you to share yours too. Right?

ASUS North America has put together weekly challenge themes so you can join in on the fun and win prizes of your own.

All you have to do is share a photo or video of how you “Transform Everyday” on Instagram, with the hashtag #asustransformeveryday for a chance to win a Transformer Book just like mine, along with other ASUS products (AND 15 Transformer books for charity as well). The challenge themes will change each week and you can check in here to see what the theme each week is. This week is transformative experiences.

And be sure to follow ASUS @asususa on Instagram as well – I’ll be taking over their Instagram feed starting tomorrow (June 19th) and will be over there through June 22nd, sharing some behind the scenes from this project, how I ‘transform everyday’, and more.

Photography by Sarah Eddy //  Concept and styling by Brittni Mehlhoff

This post is in partnership with ASUS North America. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Paper & Stitch possible.

33 comments | Click here to reply

[…] 70s TV Stand to Modern Bar Cart by Paper & Stitch   […]

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Hey! very nice makeover!
I myself often remember the TV show when I am redoing something at home, especially when I am not so successfull I often laugh: “hey X come pimp my shelf (f.e.)”
However one useful tip for you. Plants look great on the cart but they don´t usually enjoy being moved around the house too often on different spots. They slowly adapt to every condition and they might turn yellow or die when having shocks too often. Just so you enjoy them the longest time possible.
Best Wishes!


Hi Sharon. I painted the ones that came on the original cart. Hope that helps. Good luck! I’d love to see a photo of how yours turns out.


Hi! I have a very similar cart I want to redo. Did you get new wheels or paint the old ones? I looked at Lowes for new wheels (I like the ball-ones you have), but only found really heavy industrial-type ones.



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What an amazing transformation you did on the old bar cart! Love the ombre effect. Also, I like the photographs in this post. Great arrangement and lighting!


It’s amazing what a coat or two of paint can do! This looks great and so refreshing!


[…] 1. How to give an old TV stand a ombre look with spray paint! […]

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amazing transformation process, it’s gorgeous!!

lea lacoste

I love the final result! You did a great work and all these ideas are super!


I’ve been wanting to redo my bedroom after I moved house and needed a small desk. I think I have just found the answer!! It is really such a cute but practical little piece; Big pluses in my books!

Oh, and I have a little soft spot for ‘Pimp my Ride’. And ‘Monster Garage’. DIY cars haha // timidlioness


Hey you are my diy idol!!! So uber creative. Thank you for sharing this project. We have beennin the market for a small desk sorta thingy & i just havent found the right one.. THIS is it! I couldnt find one more suitable for our small place. TY!


Aw, thanks Chelsea! The next time I have people over, I’m rolling this thing out and serving something on it. Or I can just be fancy for dinner with me and Jeff. Haha.


Okay, this is cuuuuuuuute! I love it as a breakfast and bar cart best. And these photos are gorgeous!


Thanks Lina! Sarah did a great job with the photography. So, kudos to her for that.


I love how this adds a pop of colour to the room! Also, the photography is wonderful!


We are on the same wavelength about Pimp My Ride. I haven’t thought about the show in years…and have no idea what made me think about it when I was doing this project.


So, so good! I love how versatile it is. I could use a piece like this in the studio! Also, Pimp My Ride was an AWESOME show.

Kelly @ Studio DIY

Thanks Veronika. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find one that you can makeover.


sooo pretty and such a brilliant idea! I wish I had an old tv stand now 😀


Thanks Jenna. You are right – the neon green was not a good choice. I thought it would be fun, but it was just too much. Glad I ended up painting over it.


I love this! I think it was a great choice to paint the top white instead of neon green, and I love the mix of teal + lilac. Thanks for sharing!


Thanks Kristen. I would definitely recommend giving it a try with something you already have.


Love the final result! I have been wanting a cute bar cart lately but might want to just transform something I already have after seeing this!



Haha. I know what you mean about the plant collection. I feel like I’m living in a jungle sometimes. But I can’t complain, I love having lots of plants indoors. It keeps me cheery.


I can’t decide which styling of this cart I like more the desk or brunch bar. However, I know which one I need definitely the plant display the amount of herbs and cacti all over my flat is getting out of hand!


Thanks Leen and Rose.


Love, love, love it!!!!

Rose D'Angelo Designs

Really nice made! 🙂

Leen Philips

Glad to hear that, Jessica. It’s a really affordable option too, which is an added bonus.



Jessica Rose

Really interesting blog post…it’s certainly making me look at secind hand furniture in a new light!

Jessica Rose
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