4 simple ways to repurpose old kitchen cabinets and furniture

June 30, 2015

Renovating? Congratulations! Before you discard all your old kitchen cabinets and furniture, take a careful look at these creative ways they can be repurposed and given a new life.

4 simple ways to repurpose old kitchen cabinets and furniture

Lay that sledgehammer down

Renovating a kitchen brings out the beast in the homeowner, but don't destroy those cabinets just yet. Instead, consider how you might reuse them in another part of the house. You could …

  • Hang wall cabinets in the workroom, garage or garden shed.
  • Put two single or one double wall cabinet in a kid's closet to hold toys and clothes or in a hall closet for storing seasonal gear.
  • Add casters to a base cabinet to make a rolling cart for the laundry room.
  • Make a study desk or worktable with a couple of base cabinets topped with a plain, smooth-surfaced old door.
  • Stack two single or double top cabinets to make a nifty storage unit for sewing and craft supplies.

Shelving from odds and ends

Instead of buying new shelving, look around you: What about those wooden trays you never use? How about that shallow drawer from an old dresser or desk? Or those sturdy in-out boxes from the office? Maybe the decorated drawer fronts from a baby's old chest would make fun shelves for a growing youngster.

The size and weight of a makeshift shelf will determine the kind of brackets and hardware you need when attaching it to a wall, so take your "shelf" to a good hardware store and ask for advice. If you plan to load anything heavy on the shelf, like books, attach it to studs.

New uses for louvered shutters

Why not give those old louvered shutters another new purpose in life? Hinge three or more shutters together so they'll fold accordion-style, to create handsome, practical screens for indoors and out. Long shutters make an attractive screen to separate sleeping and dressing areas in a bedroom or to shade a sunny area on a porch or patio. Secure a panel of hinged shutters to the wall behind a plain bed for a knockout headboard.

Have a weird corner space calling out for something? Stand up a tall louvered screen to soften the angle. Metal or vinyl louvered shutters, laid flat over two sawhorses, make a great outdoor potting table for gardeners. Water and air go through the slats, making it easy to wash and dry pots and garden tools, water and drain houseplants and hose away dirt and debris.

New furniture from spare chairs

Nobody ever seems to have enough small tables, but many of us have too many chairs. If so, think about converting those extra chairs into something more useful. In most cases, straight-backed armless chairs with hard, flat seats are easiest to work with.

  • Paint two chairs of different designs in the same colour to make an attractive pair of bedside "tables."
  • Refinish or paint a straight-backed chair that has arms and set it in the mudroom as a catchall for hats, bags, and umbrellas.
  • Make a coffee table substitute with two or three wooden chairs; they needn't match so long as the seats are approximately the same height. Saw off the back of each one at seat level and sand well; you may also need to trim off any corner protuberances that rise a bit above seat level. To guard against stains, paint the chairs with water-resistant enamel. When the paint dries, line up the little tables as a unique and practical coffee table.

Repurposing the things you have in your home is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint — plus you'll add some funky new designs to the decor that will have your neighbours talking.

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