Evolution of a TV Stand

My son has been enjoying The Police lately, so I’ve had ample time to contemplate the old TV stand I replaced last year, which now serves a stereo stand. I’m reminded of the difference time, taste, skill, and resources can make in a design. I’ve built three TV stands over the last fifteen years, and each one encapsulates the capabilities and materials available during construction.


My first TV stand, now a home for electrical supplies.

The first was plywood, the shelves cut to size by the local lumberyard and housed in dadoes cut in the 2 x 4 legs with a circular saw. Screws secured the shelves to the dadoes. Then I finished it using paint leftover from an apartment remodel. The circular saw and cordless drill used to build the stand represented the bulk of tool collection at the time. The slanted front echoed the ladder bookshelves I’d built for the living room, and each shelf was designed for a specific component–receiver, VCR, and DVD player.

shaker media stand

TV stand number 2 now serves as a stereo stand.

The second stand was more deliberate. By then I had learned enough (and acquired adequate tooling) to plan and build something vaguely in the Shaker style. I built with solid cherry using frame and panel and mortise and tenon joinery. Adjustable middle shelves made it more flexible than the original stand if I needed to switch out components, but changing technology meant that I didn’t need four bays. The VCR was never hooked up after our move into the house, and other components were getting smaller with each generation. With some some sheet goods and solid stock left over from a wardrobe build, I began to consider a stand with a smaller footprint.

Arts and Crafts TV stand

The reverse tapered legs, overhanging top, and stepped arch on the bottom rail place this TV stand in the West Coast Arts and Crafts style.

While the difference between stands one and two was marked more by skill and tooling, taste played a greater role in the design of the third stand. In the intervening years between stands two and three my interest in the Arts & Crafts style had grown, so I designed along those lines while taking into account my materials (plywood for the case and much of the top, solid wood for the face frames).

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