How to Repurpose a Vintage Window Into a Cabinet

12 Materials
1 Day

Are you looking for a way to repurpose an old chippy window? I’ll share how I repurposed a vintage window into a cabinet in one afternoon.

I am a HUGE fan of beat-up, vintage windows. I mean, who isn’t? They add so much architectural interest to any space. And there is so much you can do with them.

The Inspiration Piece

While my husband and I were on a boat trip in Port Townsend, Washington, we went to my most favorite place in town to shop, the antique mall. We spotted this cabinet and snapped a picture, knowing that we would one day use it as inspiration to recreate something similar, using one of our vintage windows at home.

I knew mine would be more beaten up and chippy. We originally had crown molding on top, but it was too much for the wall space above our toilet in our powder room.

Here is the vintage window we decided to use for our cabinet project.

There’s some crown molding in the picture above that we had leftover from another project. We originally added it to the cabinet but decided to take it off at the end due to the size of the space we were installing the cabinet in.

Most windows won’t need this step, but ours had little “dog ears” that needed to be removed with a chop saw before we could move forward with the project.

Constructing a Frame Box

We used reclaimed pine boards, originally installed in our home for shelving, to make a box for our cabinet. Using a table saw, the boards were ripped to 5″ wide for both shelving and the frame. The boards for the shelving, top and bottom of the cabinet were cut to 18.5″ long. The boards for the sides were cut to 32″ long.

Here are the pieces we cut to create the cabinet frame and the shelves that go into the cabinet.

We used wood glue on all joints to increase the strength of the cabinet.

After applying the glue, and before nailing, make sure the corner is square.

Then we used a nail gun to secure the joints in place while the glue dried.

And here is our framed box for the cabinet.

Add a Tongue and Groove Back to the Cabinet

After cutting the tongue and groove to the proper length of 32″ with a chop saw (any saw will do), we installed it to the back of the cabinet. Again, I glued and nailed this in place around all the edges.

I drew a line with my carpenter’s pencil to show where I should place my nails to secure the shelves.

Install Hinges and Cabinet Latch

Install the hinges, and the cabinet latch by predrilling holes and using wood screws.

Caulk, Putty and Paint

Now it’s time to caulk the corners and fill the nail holes. Because we chose to leave the crown molding off in the end, we didn’t need to paint the cabinet. We just left it chippy and beaten-up.

I wanted the tongue and groove to have more of a dark, rustic look, so I applied stain with a foam brush. And yes, if you look closely, you will see that I did a TERRIBLE job taping the shelves off, and I got stain on some of them. I’m just going to pretend that I did it that way on purpose and it gives it more of a vintage feel!

What did I learn from this DIY project?

I really wish we would have had the crown molding attached to the top as the inspiration picture did, but then we would have had to hang it somewhere else in the house. And we do not have the luxury of free wall space.

I will be switching out the pull for something bigger and chunkier.

I will do a better job taping the shelves the next time I stain.

But I think you can get the idea here, and make adjustments as needed. I know you’ll agree that a cabinet is a great way to repurpose a vintage window.

Resources for this project:
See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
Shiplap and Shells
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  1 question
Join the conversation
2 of 8 comments
  • Bry Bry on May 21, 2022

    This is such a good idea. With varying size windows the possibilities are endless. My brain immediately went to "pantry" with a deeper build, like 12-14". Thanks so much for sharing this plan. Gonna keep it for the future.

  • Cheryl Kennedy-Jones Cheryl Kennedy-Jones on May 21, 2022

    LOVE THIS!!!!!