1 Ugly Cabinet = 4 Stunning Transformations

If I could only pick one DIY/craft hobby to do for the rest of my life, it would be transforming furniture. Even long before I started doing it myself, furniture transformations on TV shows and the Internet were my favorite to see; and I still eat them up like I do peanut M&Ms 😉 There is just something so fulfilling in taking old and tired furniture and breathing fresh new life into it. I’m not super skilled with power tools – but a paint brush I can handle – and a paint brush can sure have amazing transformative powers!

A few weeks ago, I showed you how I transformed old hutch doors into dry-erase boards for our home office/craft room. While writing that post, It occurred to me that over the last three years, I have made over almost every single inch of that hutch…a unit we bought before we even had keys to this house! I thought it would be fun to show you how this one single cabinet turned into four separate projects/makeovers…and ultimately, four different and unique pieces for our home!

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We bought this dining hutch at a local up-scale consignment store about a month before we moved into this house. I was looking for a unit we could use as a television stand, and I knew the design of this one was perfect. However, they wouldn’t allow us to separate the top from the bottom. So for $250, we bought the entire hutch…figuring we’d sell or donate the top part. $250 isn’t exactly cheap by thrift store standards, but this unit was solid oak and a complete bargain for the condition it was in! Little did I know how much we’d get out of this single purchase!

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Let’s first chat about the bottom unit, which was the whole reason we purchased the piece. 

Transformation #1: Media Stand. I was big-time crushing on all the dressers-turned-media stands I had seen online. I loved that this unit had three drawer compartments along the top (that could easily be removed), but also featured doors below (concealing tons of good storage!). We removed the drawers (and kept them!), installed wood shelves, and gave the entire unit a cosmetic makeover with paint, stain, and hardware cleaner.

Related Posts: DIY Media Stand Makeover / Inside the Media Stand / Polishing Brass Hardware

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To this day, this transformation is one of my all-time favorites. The size, scale and design of the whole piece just works so perfectly in our space and it holds all of our media components, accessories, movies, games and more!

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As I said, we hung onto the drawers that came out of the unit…

Transformation #2: Rolling Drawer Storage. Shortly after we made over a train table for my son for Christmas, I was hunting around the garage for something in which to put all the excess train track. I was beyond giddy when I discovered that the size and scale of the middle drawer was perfect for under the train table. It was given casters, drawer liner, and a few different paint jobs over the years, but this has been a truly smart and functional storage solution in our playroom!

Related Posts: Rolling Drawer Storage / DIY Train Table / Playroom Reveal 

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Now let’s chat about that hutch we didn’t want and planned on selling!

Transformation #3: Hutch to Bookcase. Inside the front door of our house is a wide but shallow nook. When we first moved in, we were really puzzled about what to put there. I had been casually shopping for something to fill the spot, when I was literally standing in the garage one afternoon and the discarded hutch snapped into focus. We had put the hutch aside to photograph it for Craig’s list and I instantly knew we didn’t need to shop for a new piece after all. I think Hubby thought I was nuts, but I said “let’s just try it out.” Wouldn’t you know it was the most perfect fit ever. I’m pretty sure its makeover started that afternoon. By simply removing the glass doors, all the hardware, and the decorative trim along the top (which was just screwed in), we had a decent bookcase in need of a new look. A paint-and-stain combo completely modernized it, making it almost unrecognizable as a dining room hutch!

Related Posts: Hutch to Bookcase Makeover

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To this date, I think this is still one of our most clever transformations. The shelves are deep and tall enough to hold a pretty significant book collection (although tall books only work on their sides!). And since we coordinated the paint treatment with the base part of the unit, we can always marry the two pieces back up should we need to later down the road!

This little nook has also served as our “mantel” while we’ve lived here, holding seasonal decor and mantel-scapes (when I’m in the mood to actually pull them together!). Nothing really lives on this bookcase permanently, I’m always changing it up!

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And what about those doors that we took off the hutch and stored for (literally) almost 3 years? They became…

Transformation #4: Cabinet Doors to Dry-Erase Boards. In recent weeks, we re-arranged our home office/craft room, leaving me in desperate need of something both large and functional to place over the work counter. While out on a run, it occurred to me that the cabinet doors I had been hoarding away all these years could easily become some snazzy dry-erase boards with the addition of some paint and wrapping paper. This transformation was quick, inexpensive, and simple…and oh-so-perfect for this space!

Related Posts: Cabinet Doors to Dry-Erase Boards / Modern Work Station Reveal

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Phew – four great projects and unique pieces for our home from one single $250 purchase! So fun, right? For those of you who have been reading along for years, did you realize they all came from the same piece of furniture?  Would you have ever guessed so if I put their “after” pictures side-by-side without the originals?

(By the way, in case you are keeping track, there were two more drawers from the base unit that didn’t get a second life. Last summer, during the Everything-Must-Go-Now purge and yard sale, I sold the two small drawers. I kind of regret it because I am sure I would have come up with something for them eventually.  They were bought by another crafter/re-purposer, so I know they’ve been given a new life…just not by me 😉

I am by no means a pro at furniture re-finishing, as I am still experimenting with ideas, techniques, tools and paints. I’ve got a ton to try and learn still. However, in the furniture transformations I have done, I’ve learned a few things about how to really get the most band for your buck and create true one-of-a-kind pieces for your home:

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I am always in such conflict because I like to purge and get rid of things I’m not using, but at the same time can’t bring myself to get rid of things that might be useful again some day. This post certainly encourages me to hold onto things a bit more…which isn’t necessarily a good lesson for someone who needs to start purging and selling in preparation for our next move!

Hope you guys enjoyed this walk down memory lane! Now I am REALLY hankering for a new furniture project. If only the warmer weather would come and stay!

See you Friday,

Megan

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14 Responses to 1 Ugly Cabinet = 4 Stunning Transformations

  1. Wow this is incredibly impressive! You're so resourceful. I love that you're giving new life to a piece of furniture instead of junking or selling it. I wish I was more creative in this way! Great ideas!

  2. Megan, Thanks for sharing . We have a similar cabinet that I have been trying to get rid of for years. You have given me the idea to totally repurpose this cabinet.

    • Hi Grace!

      Thank you so much for leaving such a nice comment! I am always so inspired when I see old/dated pieces of furniture transformed into something wonderful, so I am so glad you found inspiration from my work here! Good luck with your piece and please share the results if/when you do something to it!

      Happy Sunday!
      Megan

  3. I stumbled across this DIY on pinterest. My parents are getting ready to sell their home and they have a similar piece that they won’t be taking and I need a TV stand for my gym. I think this may be a perfect solution. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • You are welcome! Hope you’re able to do something fun with your parents’ piece!

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Megan

  4. I love that you used every single part of this! A few times I’ve seen an amazing piece that I want to use one part of but didn’t buy it because i didn’t want to waste the rest. Maybe now I’ll just keep the extra parts and try to be more creative!

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