When it comes to DIYers, old furniture isn’t what it appears to be. For us, an old bulky entertainment center looks more like a great starting point for a perfect piece of furniture. Perfect, because we do it ourselves to fit our specific needs.
If you’re like most do it yourself enthusiasts, you are constantly looking for the perfect project for a piece you have. Or a piece to fit a project you have in mind. From benches to rabbit hutches, those “useless” clunky cathode ray tv entertainment centers are probably the most adaptable pieces out there.
We have inspiration and “do it yourself” video guides here for some of the best repurposing ideas for entertainment centers. Whether you are looking to upcycle to a kitchen cabinet or a play kitchen, create a wardrobe, vanity or bench – we have you covered.
These projects go from a simple coat of paint and a little elbow grease to a major rebuild. Choose a project based on your level of expertise, the tools you have available, the time and money you want to invest (most of these are really inexpensive). Then, dig in!
1. For the Kids Room, A Play Kitchen Entertainment Center Rebuild
From simple to complex, you can do just about anything with this kitchen. For some, just painting the unit with a stove-top and sink is all that is needed to make a great imagination play-station for their kids. For those who want to get more in-depth, the sky’s the limit. You can get old RV sinks, faucets (or just use a small basin or bowl, it really is that easy) and dress it out with curtains and all the bells and whistles. You can also use creative cupboard door placement, like in the video below, to mimic refrigerator, freezer, and oven.
Here is a great tutorial and inspiration video:
2. Dress Up/Vanity Upcycle, or Child’s Armoir
Using a slightly different color scheme, this same idea can be used to make a really nice dresser for your room as well. Tops and short hanging items go in the armoire part, accessories, and jewelry can be displayed on the doors. These can serve all sorts of functions, including acting as a closet in your baby or toddler’s room, or sprucing up your guest room.
Whether you are planning on adding doors, or just a coat of paint and some extra shelves, these videos have some great information. How it is done, of course, depends on what you want it to be when you are finished.
We have included two of the more common entertainment center styles, the cabinet frame, and the standard square layout.
Armoire from TV cabinet entertainment center DIY video:
DIY video for a standard square entertainment center into child’s vanity/dress up center:
Most of our children, at some point in time, love to play “dress up.” Using a small mirror, hooks, a hanging bar, shelves, bins, or baskets, and things you likely already have: this project can be as quick or involved as you want it to be.
3. For the Kitchen: Cabinet Upcycle or Wine Rack/Bar
Looking for a custom cabinet or bar? TV cabinets and entertainment centers are an idea piece of furniture to start from. For a fraction of the cost of custom furniture or even factory made modular cabinetry, you will have exactly what you need.
Looking for the best way to display your wine or bar? Just need a smaller bar for a man cave or kitchen? A perfect solution is a repurposed entertainment center bar!
4. Bench or Flat Screen TV Stand Rebuild
You can do a lot more with your upcycle than just storage, or display, though. Imagine the perfect hallway bench, reading nook, or end of the bed seating. With a few pretty simple steps, you can take that entertainment center from tall and tippy to short and stylish.
From a simple hall or entry bench, suitable for storage and beautiful to boot:
Depending on the starting shape of your entertainment center, you can cut it down for a different outcome. Like this one, with a small elevated area to hold a lamp or decorative element.
Or, if you have an entertainment center with a nice glass panel you want to keep, or are looking to keep some of the height, you can go this route:
You can also make the old entertainment center into a piece suitable to the modern flat screen tv by cutting it down and replacing the top at the desired height.
You could also choose to cut them down to a slightly taller stature, counter height, and create a beautiful buffet or sideboard for the kitchen. To do any of the projects in this section, you are going to need to know how to cut your starting piece down to size. This video walks you through step by step on how to cut down an entertainment center.
5. Vivarium, Small Animal Home, Bird Cage, Or Rabbit Hutch
From cats to snakes, birds to bunnies, we love our pets. Housing our animals has come a long way, and giving them the most room, in the best-suited environment, is high on our list of priorities. However, large enclosures, playpens, and runs for our animals can get very expensive, very quickly.
An entertainment center offers the roomy base from which to build a pet castle on the cheap, without a huge footprint.
Using coroplast or linoleum to line the entertainment center, and sheets of acrylic or glass for doors/side walls, you can create a cool vivarium. (The one pictured below is pretty extreme, but it can get those creative juices pumping.) Using that same kind of thinking, and some nice chicken wire or screen material, you create a spacious aviary for just about any species of bird. Entertainment centers can be made into housing for more than one pet, as well.
Here is a video that explains how a double decker vivarium can be made from a single entertainment center.
Not into reptiles? How about an upcycled rabbit house? With a little bit of elbow grease and research into your animal and what substances may or may not be toxic to them – the sky is the limit. And seriously, do the research – some animals chew on their cage, is the paint you are about to use toxic to them? Is the plant you want to pot noxious to them? How about the wood you are using to build the ramps? Just make sure you know before you build.
As you can see, that clunky old entertainment center can be given new life. Whether it houses life or not, that’s up to you.
Repurposing, upcycling, reinventing, and revitalizing the tons of lonely entertainment centers out there is a great project. It can be done cheaply, as many entertainment centers can be found for a very reasonable price in your area online or in thrift shops. And, though some of these projects show the use of expensive tools, you can do most of them with a basic set of hand tools and a few supplies from your local building center.
CC By 2.0 United Soy Bean Board via Flickr.