Uses for an Old Stereo Cabinet

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Even if the stereo hasn't been used in decades, the cabinet surrounding it may have many useful years left. Repurpose the stereo cabinet into another piece of functional furniture for your home, such as a bookcase, toy- or craft-storage station or a bar.

Sturdy Bookcase

  • A stereo cabinet complete with shelves for storing records already has the storage concept down pat. Remove all the audio components within the console; in many cases, pieces are simply screwed or bolted in place. Add more shelves, if desired, and remove the doors or speaker mesh that covers the front of the cabinet. Refinish the piece in colors suited to the room you have in mind for it -- give it a shiny ebony finish for a room with lots of dark furniture, or paint it apple green for a child or tween's room. For a more playful finish, paint a chevron or striped pattern using two paint colors. Paint the piece all one color first; apply painter's tape in the desired pattern; then paint between the tape pieces with the second color. If the cabinet originally held albums, there's even room to display large coffee-table books on its shelves. If desired, keep the tone arm from the turntable and display it as a decorative accessory against a row of books.

Storage Table or Cabinet

  • A stereo console is an ideal height for reuse as a storage table or cabinet, from a hallway console to a playroom alternative to a toy box. Remove the cabinet's original audio guts; then paint the outside of the cabinet one color, the inside a secondary shade. For another look, paint the cabinet to match other furniture or decor in the room; then cover the vertical inside spaces with decorative contact paper in a design such as a damask print or diagonal stripes. Fit the lower shelf areas along the base of the console with fabric storage bins that pair well with the cabinet's color. In a large bathroom, use the fabric bins to store spare towels; in a hallway or bedroom, stash spare blankets or sheets within. Display favorite finds such as conch shells or antique tins in available space outside of the bins. In a toy room, place stuffed toys in one bin, building toys in another, or use the bins in a crafting room for storing yarn, fabric or craft paints.

Beverage Bar

  • A gutted, painted stereo console cabinet becomes a bar and storage area for your favorite types of beverages. Stash favorite liquor bottles inside the cabinet, along with sets of barware to serve and enjoy your favorite mixed drinks. If children share the home with you, keep the original console doors intact and add locks to keep your liquor stash out of young hands. If you don't drink alcohol, use the console in a kitchen or dining area as an espresso bar, complete with an espresso machine on top, assorted espresso and coffee cups beneath. Store a French press, electric kettle or coffee pods inside the cabinet, along with an assortment of teas, spoons and sweeteners. If the cabinet has space, install a miniature refrigerator inside for cream, milk and other items that require cool temperatures.

Vanity or Desk

  • Turning a vintage stereo cabinet into a vanity or desk requires a bit of a structural revamp to the original cabinet. A bathroom vanity requires a hole in the top to install a sink, or, at very least, pipe and drain holes for a sink bowl that rests atop the cabinet. Protect the cabinet top with multiple layers of polyurethane or an epoxy resin to resist moisture. Shelves on either side of a wide console store bath towels or extra rolls of toilet paper. For a desk, cut away part of the inside of the cabinet from the back to allow room for your legs as you sit at a chair. Choose a console with sturdy construction, or bolster the cutout areas with plywood walls cut to fit. Paint the vanity or desk to match other furnishings or decor in the room.

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