Repurposing ideas for medicine cabinet and light fixture

by Chris
My hubby and I have bought the 100 plus year old home that I grew up in. Everything is extremely dated. My current project is to spruce up the main bathroom! Any ideas on how to repurpose this functional, yet less-than lovely mirrored medicine cabinet and light fixture? DIY ideas on a budget.
I would love to do something unique with this light fixture so that I don't have to replace it!
Same issue for the medicine cabinet... DIY ideas that are somewhat easy and affordable.
  24 answers
  • Marj MRC Creations Marj MRC Creations on Jan 07, 2015
    I have a very similar medicine cabinet that I'd like to change somehow, so I'll be interested in any ideas.
  • CK CK on Jan 07, 2015
    We had a very similar medicine cabinet and light fixture in our former home. How much 'updating' do you want to do? Sometimes you can do a 'redo' very simply and inexpensively....we did. Here was our mini-redo: 1. Painted the frame of the medicine cabinet the same color as the wall. (Great time to do it if you're going to repaint the room anyway). It REALLY makes the room look bigger. 2. We had a wall mounted fixture so we switched out our fixture to a "wall sconce" style. That allowed the doors to open freely. 3. Actually the existing style of fixture is very good for shaving and putting on makeup :-) But to update it, you can take it off, spray paint it (including the chains) to whatever color you'd choose. (Maybe chrome, pewter, brushed nickel, etc.) and put in newer styled globes. Another possibility is to use some Edison-style bulbs without globes if you like that look. The entire question of "how do I do this" depends a lot on the style you're going for in the bathroom. It's limited only by your own imagination! Have fun :-)
    • See 1 previous
    • CK CK on Jan 07, 2015
      @Juanita I would love to show you but all my photos were on my computer and it crashed before I could put them on a CD :-( My redo was very simple...mostly paint and the things I mentioned before. You'll do just great!
  • Chris Chris on Jan 07, 2015
    Great ideas! I was thinking along the same lines when it comes to the light fixture. From what I am reading and learning, it seems just about anything can be spray painted. I do want to do something different for the globes so I might try the Edison style bulbs first while I keep a look out for something "quirky" to use as globes. I am a big fan of all things quirky! I like the painting idea for the inner trim part of the medicine cabinet. I am wondering if I can add something over the exposed wood... Tiles ?, old barn boards ? I just discovered Hometalk and I am already a HUGE fan! Thank you for your ideas! 😄
  • Tina Pucilowski Tina Pucilowski on Jan 07, 2015
    I would take the mirror out, and crackle paint the frame your favorite color, ( I would do white myself ) On the shelf’s in side I would find old glass gars to put cotton balls, Q-tips and so on in. a little plant. Make it look like a shelf. I put my med’s in the kitchen so my kid couldn’t get them and that’s were I take them anyway. But if you need the mirror put one on another wall. Good luck J
    • Juanita Juanita on Jan 07, 2015
      @Tina Pucilowski Bathrooms need a mirror! How can a man shave without a mirror over the sink? At the very least, one section of mirror has to stay.
  • Danielle Marceaux Danielle Marceaux on Jan 07, 2015
    Like tina says you could use the mirror you could break it and make like a table put some kind of motter holder and put the mirror and and make sure they are down in it thren put glass on top of it has that on that
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jan 08, 2015
    Have an old house, too! Like you, did room by room as time and $ permitted. Like the light fixture - looks traditional. To me, the ceiling tiles are the prob. in dating room. Since this is where you are starting to update, I would take the time and $ to repair the plaster underneath, or drywall. You could reuse the moulding and add a wallpaper border under it for more definition. This will make a huge dif. and the mirror won't bug you as much. However, you could always add some trim to give the mirror a dif look - and to add more "weight" so it is in better balance with the amount of glass.
  • Kim Alessandro Kim Alessandro on Jan 08, 2015
    I may be in the minority, but I love the old light fixture. Perhaps you could spray paint the finish if that's the issue? You could totally "Renaissance style" that bath with that light! Seriously, I love it. The mirror I'd toss...I have one, too in the main bath that I am tossing. Those cabinets are cheap and not worth salvaging, in my opinion.
  • Vero Nishka Vero Nishka on Jan 08, 2015
    I am repurpusing the medecine cabinet into a jewlery cabinet .
  • Leigh Rowan Leigh Rowan on Jan 08, 2015
    After spray painting the fixture to your desired color, You could remove the globes and have small drum shades instead to update the fixture.
    • See 2 previous
    • Leigh Rowan Leigh Rowan on Jan 14, 2015
      @Chris I disassemble lights all the time, when the fixture is down, remove the chains, this also might help with updating the fixture.
  • Molly Molly on Jan 08, 2015
    To a search on diy fixtures there are a lot of people making fixtures out of industrial pipe, if your decor can lean towards that I think that threading the wires through some pipe and attaching mason jars instead of the balls would look great. Leave the mirror as it is great storage paint the trim in a silver, nickel, or get silver leaf from the craft shop and apply that. Pailnting it will do wonders. I agree on the tiles...maybe you can do a board and batten look on them instead of a replace.
    • Chris Chris on Jan 11, 2015
      I have a ton of pins on a "lighting" board on Pinterest so that is a great suggestion! I do like the look you have suggested! Time to look through that board I'd say. 😄
  • Molly Molly on Jan 08, 2015
    You can also take the side doors off for open shelves and keep the middle mirror and paint the insides of the open sides a great colour
    • Chris Chris on Jan 11, 2015
      Hmmm... I will "chew" on this idea. It still keeps the functionality of the mirror and then I could find neat ways to "house" necessities like Q-tips, etc.
  • Mary Yexley Mary Yexley on Jan 09, 2015
    We updated our bathroom on a shoestring. We painted the contractor grade wood vanity and mirror gloss white, added shiny chrome hardware to update it, and added a beautiful chrome and glass fixture above. We even painted inside the cabinets and drawers so the pieces would not look dingy/shabby when opened. If you're keeping the light fixture you have there it will automatically give a very retro look, as it is very '60's/'70's. That's not 'wrong' just need to decide what era you're shooting for.
  • Grandmaquilts Grandmaquilts on Jan 09, 2015
    I would also beef-up that frame. Box around it so the fame appears to go all the way back to the wall- More built-in look than 'just hanging on the wall' look. So much depends on your decor style. Industrial/traditional etc
  • Danielle Sallada Danielle Sallada on Jan 09, 2015
    you could chalk paint it, decoupage, or pebble it..(E6000 some little river stones to cover it), I agree with Grandmaquilts, I would beef it up a bit though. a lil crown molding would do the trick as well as add some interest.
  • Chris Chris on Jan 11, 2015
    Oooh... I like! 👍😄
  • Decorating on a TIGHT budget is my middle name :). I have purchased many light fixtures from the ReStore if you have one close by. Also, I would look at using the globes, from the light fixture as décor items. Depending on the opening like place on old candlesticks or use them to place succulents in them. If you are taking the cabinet out. You could remove the mirror and paint and use it as a spice cabinet or memory box. If you are using it in the bath, I would still remove the mirror and paint it and possible move it to another wall and place a large flat mirror in it's place.
  • Eileen Eileen on Jan 11, 2015
    I would remove the 2 side doors, and use the mirror as the backing on the sides. Not only would it "open it up' for display, but add brightness from the reflection of light fixtures.
  • Molly Molly on Jan 11, 2015
    Please be sure to post your finished outcome, love to see it.
    • Chris Chris on Jan 11, 2015
      I sure will! I can't wait to see how it turns out in the end too! lol 😄
  • Trudy Trudy on Jul 10, 2015
    I agree with Marion from Canada, the ceiling tiles should go. An easy and not too expensive fix is too put paintable textured paper right over the top. Or take them off and put it on the ceiling, then you won't have to fix all theimperfections left when taking off tiles. I like the idea of just updateing the light fixture with new shades and edison bulbs. Search Hometalk for a recent industrial cage light post for ideas.
  • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on Aug 15, 2015
    I saw a post where they used wire cages from a craft store,, @ $9.00 each. used the vintage looking bulbs, painted the dated metal a bit,, It would be perfect for this also.. will look and find the post
  • Fbcmemory Makers Fbcmemory Makers on Aug 19, 2015
    Dollar Tree has trash baskets what are wire mesh. You could replace the glass globes with them- total cost $2.00.....unless you decide to paint them- then just $5.00 more
  • Denise Denise on Sep 15, 2015
    If you have recently painted your bathroom, paint the oak on the medicine cabinet a contrast matching color, like dark grey, dove grey, etc. I agree about ceiling tiles. An alternative is the new textured ceiling tiles, they look custom, and you can paint them, but wouldnt paint them a dark color. Dark ceilings look too heavy, like its coming down on top of you.
  • Cheryl Aull Cheryl Aull on Jan 09, 2016
    trim mirror out in white ! I just covered a popcorn ceiling in my bathroom with sheets of bead board and added new light fixtures....I had the same light that you have and just replaced it with a single fixture
  • Pat Pat on Feb 25, 2016
    Pendant lights since you have tiles (and access to the wiring)