Don't tell me there is nothing you can do with an old entertainment center.
Our "How would you repurpose an old entertainment center?" contest turned up almost 40 clever ideas for giving new life to these seemingly"outdated"monstrosities.
The most popular suggestion was to convert oneinto a cocktail bar, but other ideas includedtransformingthem into sewing centers,scrapbook and craft stations,stand-alone pantries and simple garage storagespace.
Plans were also submitted for aunique kitchenetteand several reworkings that updated the unitsinto attractive and functionalmodern entertainmentcenters.
The most unusual idea was to use one as a breeding ground for monarch butterflies.
The winner received a $150 gift card to the HabitatReStore, and all of the other entrants featured herereceived tickets to the Feb. 9-11 Nashville Home and Remodeling Expo at Music City Center.
Here are some of our favoritere-use ideas:
First place: Home office with desk
Coleen Schamanteof Murfreesborois our winner for creating adesk and home office storage unit out of a large woodenentertainmentcenter for a mere $32, using the doors to make a desktop.
"I had a beautiful, solid oak and custom-built piece of furniture that I couldn't just get rid of. We needed a new desk, so why not?"said Schamante.
Sheremoved the two center doorsandthe hardware like tracks and hinges and measuredfrom the bottom of the cabinet (where the TV used to sit) to the floorand cut one of the doors to that size as the desk support. "The other door would be cut to whatever size you want the desktop to be," she said. Use L-bracketsto attach the cut door to the wall unit and the support.Then, have glass cut to fitand place it on top of the desk, said Schamante, whose biggest expense was the glass.
New look for TVwall
Nashville firefighter Kenny Peektook a 20-year-oldBroyhill Fontana wall unit and sawed off the top totransform it into an updatedcontemporary piece for the den in his Joelton home. The project involved removing the top shelving of all three pieces of the original unitand attaching the bottom pieces together to make one 9-foot-longbank of cabinetry. Creamy white paint and the addition of 1/16-inch tigerwood laminate flooringto the top completed the new unit. Then, he mounteda5-by-10-foot piece of fiber board to the studs on the wall behind the cabinetand added matching laminate for the backdrop for his 70-inch TV.Peek's total expense was $266.
Peek said at firsthe hadtried to sell the original unit "but nobody wants them. I couldn't give it away." When he looked atnew cabinets and found prices approaching $5,000, he decided to tackle a conversion. "We were tired of it butI liked the bottom, so Ijust chopped the top off and came up with this."
When her new 50-inch TV would not fit into her entertainment center, Betty Neuhoffof Nashvilleturned it intoan attractive bar for less than $150, with just a few simple steps.
"The furniture was too nice to get rid of and too expensive.So I came up with the idea toturn it into a bar in my recreation room," she said.
She added a mirror ($75) to make it look larger and thenaddeda simple wire wine rack ($25) andlighting ($150).Then it was just a matter of stocking the bar. She added,"We added black Granite (optional) to dress it up and not worry about ruining the wood surface;that was a choice."
Christina Bozenkaof White Housemade a pantry out of an entertainment center that she bought off Varagesale, anonline garage sale site. "When webought our home, we had a contractor give us an estimate for adding a pantry and it was over $1,500.So I made a pantry," she said, noting that she simply addedshelves and a lazy Susan and painted it inside and out. Total cost: less than $50. And she wins sometickets to the Nashville Homeand Remodeling Expo.
AbbieRidley of Nashville also had a great pantry idea, turning an old wood cabinet into a cute pantry, using paint, baskets and better shelving.
Karen Kriegerof Mt. Juliethad the simplest and cheapestre-use of all — just usean old entertainment center"as is" in agarage for storage.Krieger got extra points (and some tickets to expo) for having gotten her cabinet free by pickingit upfrom a mall parking lotnear a dumpster. She flagged down some passers-by to help her load the heavy wooden piece into her husband'struck and has been using it ever since to store stuffin her garage."The entertainment centers would be even better than the piece I got," she said, noting that they would provide even more storage space."I don't knowwhy people don't use these entertainment centers in their garages for storage."Cost: Free.
Irene ParentofFallsGrovestarted with an entertainment center she bought 15 years ago at a hotel resale storeand recently spent $57 to turn it into an office organizer.
"When we moved 2 years ago to our current house, we had an opening in our home office the perfect size for the entertainment center.So, I decided to repurpose it for the space.With built-in shelves for baskets, it's great storage for office supplies.Part of the TV opening I left for our printer, with a shelf for extra paper at the top.The other side fits our office safe.Plenty of drawers for organizing important papers, envelopes, pens, pencils, staplers, etc." Her expenses includedwaterbase polyurethane for $15,knobs for $10and baskets for $32.
Roxy Birkmaierof Spring Hillconverted an old entertainment center into a well-organized sewingcenter with a place for her sewing machine, suppliesand even an ironing boardfor $160.
Molly SchenkofCollege Grovepurchased an armoire off of VarageSale for $30 and then boughtpegboard, pegsand wire baskets for $30 at Lowe’s.Three decorative baskets were purchased at Hobby Lobby for $5, with a40 percent-off coupon. The end result is a scrapbooking center with everythingshe needs for about $65.
Bonus room organizer
After painting an old entertainment center, Karen Stewart put itin her“kid’s living room” to hold all of their board games and other things. "I utilize baskets to hold things like old photos, Pokemon cards, sheet music and more."
Gift wrap station
Diane Wall created a gift wrap station with compartments forrolls ofpaper and lots of accessories and supplieslike bows, ribbonand scissors."What a great way toorganize and keep everything under 'wraps'!”she said.
Hatching hutch for Monarch butterflies
This has to bethe most original reuse: Barry Jonesof Hendersonvillesuggested salvagingthe bottom part of anentertainment center to useas a TV stand and then movingthe top pieces outside to a covered porch and addingscreenand cloth to make a Monarch butterfly hatching hutch. He didn't actually make the hutch but said it could be designed to "allowmonarch butterfly eggs to progress through their four stages of development from eggs to mature butterflies."
Kitchenette in acabinet
Melinda Heltsley shared a great idea for akitchenette that she had seen in a B&B in Texas, made from an entertainment center.
"The owner had created a little 'kitchenette'thatfit into the décor perfectly and was very useful as a mini kitchen.As you can see by the photos, there is a small refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot, sink, set of dishes, ice bucket and a shelf for condiments and other frequently used items."
She noted that shedidn't have the need for such a kitchenette, butthe concept would work well for a "short term rental unit without regular kitchen access, a man cave, in-law quarters or even for an adult child that moves back home!"
Other ideas included creatinga dresser, a bathroom organizer, a game closet, a display case for a collection of owls, anda garden shed - achieved by adding a tin roof to the top of an old unit that was placed outside.
Reach Ms. Cheap at 615-259-8282 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/mscheap, and at Tennessean.com/mscheap.
About the contest
I invited readers to send ideasfor the "What would you do with an old entertainment center?"project, the estimated cost of the transformationand, if possible, pictures of the finished project.
Nashville Home and Remodeling Expo
The 2018 expo occurred Feb. 9-11 at the Music City Center. Tickets are $10 at the door, or $8 online.Exhibitors include companies specializing in flooring, landscaping, countertops, windows, glass, doors, bathrooms, tiny housesand mattresses.Plus there will be workshops and seminars, including a Friday, Feb. 9, talk from Ms. Cheap. More information:nashvillehomeandremodelingexpo.com