What to do with this built-in?

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My just-purchased home is full of built-in shelves and cabinets in dated oak. This one is off to the side in a TV room, in an area better suited for a bar or something. I need some ideas on how to repurpose it from a TV cabinet into something I will actually use. I hate to rip it out, but it's an eye sore.
q what to do with this built in
  15 answers
  • Holly Kinchlea-Brown Holly Kinchlea-Brown on Jul 12, 2017
    make it into a bar If that's what you want/need. I would paint the piece using chalk paint, move the shelves around so that there is not the honking great (out of balance) blank spot in the middle, probably switch the doors around so that the larger doors are on the bottom anchoring the piece, and if possible the small doors on top. If the small doors can't go on top I would have open shelves there for glassware. Not sure what your personal style is (funky, traditional, farmhouse) and that would influence whether I would distress or decoupage the backing, replace the backing with board and batten, wall paper etc. I wish I had this piece to work on...looks fun!

    • AnissaA AnissaA on Jul 12, 2017
      Thank you for pointing out the lopsided look with small doors below and large doors up top . I have been staring at it wondering why it looks so weird, and just chalked it up to the gaping hole in the center. Putting the large doors below before painting will make a big difference.

  • Molly Anmar Molly Anmar on Jul 12, 2017
    If the area is better suited to a bar, why don't you make it into a bar? You might need to adjust the shelving a little to accommodate glassware or bottles and maybe remove a set of doors on one section. Add a mirror to the inside back for a lighter appearance. See if you don't find some of these suggestions interesting: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/armoire-bar/?lp=true

    To me, this one looks to be a similar style to yours:

  • Her27741863 Her27741863 on Jul 12, 2017
    If you dont plan to use for a tv remove the doors and paint the cabinet. You might add or take away shelving to make the size you want to show case your artsy stuff, pottery or collectables.
    Add some creative lighting. Research built in shelving ideas to find what catches your eye and get to work.

  • Sandy Sandy on Jul 12, 2017
    ok this us not built in. If you don't like it, get rid of it!

  • Ken Ken on Jul 12, 2017
    I agree that this photo is not of a built-in. It may be attached to the wall by a few screws leading you believe it to be built in. Take the screws out and have a friend help you carry it to the curb where someone driving by will be thrilled to take it home. It's what I do with the stuff previous owner's questionable taste had installed.

  • Los6674666 Los6674666 on Jul 12, 2017
    yep, get rid of it!

  • This looks like an after market bolt on piece. If you do not like it, give it away to someone that can use it. Or, make it over. One can never have too much storage. Since it is in a "tv room" - turn it into a beverage / snack center! I would paint the piece, add a tiny dorm fridge or ice maker in the bottom portion, rework the shelves to hold glassware and snack bowls. Stash your chips, candy, water, soda or adult beverages. Gives you more room in the kitchen! I would jump for joy if I had a piece like this.

    Or if you need a "command central station" use it to hold stuff like all the chargers for cell phones, tablets, keys, shopping lists, to do lists, bills, purse, etc.

    • See 1 previous
    • But, at least you tried! I guarantee if you put it on freecycle.org or Nextdoor.com someone will scoop it up asap and keep it out of the landfill. Enjoy your renovation process, to me it is always fun.

  • Jill Kohler Jill Kohler on Jul 12, 2017
    Take doors off and move it to a closet, pantry, or laundry area for extra storage.

  • AnissaA AnissaA on Jul 12, 2017
    Pardon my phrasing - not "built-in", but VERY firmly attached to the wall. Thanks for the helpful suggestions.

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Jul 12, 2017
    Build the bar with it included into the scheme of things, take off the top doors and you can use the shelves to store your glassware, decanters, etc. Use the low shelves for shot glasses and other small things and the bigger shelves you can store some of the taller bottles, pitchers, etc. The lower cabinet you can use to put the things you don't want on display, like stacks of bar towels, disposable glasses, etc. You can use it as part of the bar, or free standing behind the bar.

  • Heidi Heidi on Jul 12, 2017
    I'm not sure what your design style is, so I hope this helps. I would make it into a bar, beverage center. If this is in a more formal area, I would use a mirror inside. You can make a fold down door/ counter, like on a secretary, using a piece of wood, a piano hinge and some chain. Personally, I would stain it to match the rest of the wood in the room, or paint it a high gloss to make it more "formal" ( my style, sorry) I would change out the trim at the top to match your style. Also, would take off the top doors, if possible and replace the shelves with glass. I hope my suggestions help. Good luck!!

  • Sharon Sharon on Jul 14, 2017
    I would paint it the wall color, and maybe paint the inside a contrasting pleasing color, flip the big door to bottom, lose the little doors, add a couple more shelves. Who doesn't need a good bookcase or collectibles case?

  • Gale O'Neal Gale O'Neal on Jul 17, 2017
    Do you sew or need a craft or extra desk area? You could make a fold out section for a table. Something like this pic. Fold up table when not in use. Place a picture or mirror on the underside of table to have decorative look when it is closed. No need for craft or sewing cabinet? You can place it in a guest room and place items like small coffee maker, or guest items in top and bottom sections. When table is down, it is a coffee station.

  • AnissaA AnissaA on Apr 29, 2021

    Finished product: I had it removed and hauled off and replaced it with open shelves and a fun table.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jun 18, 2021

    Make it into a book case or Display unit.