Repurposing an Entertainment Center
by TDS Reader Contributors
Sure you could sell that old entertainment center, or you can use it for something else! Our frugal readers share their best ideas for breathing new life and new purpose into an old entertainment center.
Dear Dollar Stretcher,
We just got a new big screen TV. It doesn’t fit in our old entertainment center.
We paid a bunch of money for it just a few years ago, so I hate to give it away. Does anyone have ideas on how to use an entertainment center for something besides holding a TV and DVD player?
Ways to Repurpose an Entertainment Center
We asked our frugal readers for suggestions on repurposing an entertainment center. They are quite savvy when it comes to repurposing items in order to save money or make a little extra money. Read on for some of their creative suggestions.
Re-Make Entertainment Center
I took our entertainment center and lopped off the side supports and reattached the top. Now it’s perfect for the newer TVs that are too wide for the old entertainment center. The other electronic hardware fits beneath the top perfectly. Beats throwing away something that still has value.
Think Outside the Box
Depending on its size, you could put it in a closet for organization instead of those closet systems. Garage storage? Pantry items? If it has doors, you could store gifts in it.
When all else fails and you find you can’t use it, sell it.
Melanie (via Facebook)
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Put It to Work around the House
I sold my beautiful oak entertainment center after 25 years to a couple who are delighted with it. I listed it for free on Craigslist, but if you don’t want to sell your entertainment center, here are several ideas to use it to the max.
Move it to the dining room. If you have glass doors on the entertainment center, display fancy china and/or crystal in that section. Add a dowel rod to the TV side and hang your table linens on hangers in that side. Mine had two drawers and a lower cabinet, perfect for storing small linen napkins, large trays and bowls, and more.
Move it to a bedroom. Store sweaters in the side with shelves for electronics. You may want to cover any glass doors to make them look opaque. Add a dowel to the other side and store shirts, blouses, skirts and/or suits. Use any drawers and cabinets for smaller items.
Move it to a wide hallway. Store bed and bath linens in it. Again, you can decorate any glass doors to make it fit into your décor.
Barbara in CT
Play Area Center
Repurposed entertainment centers make great play areas for children. A little paint and a lot of creativity can result in a little girl’s (or boy’s) kitchen, a tool station, a hair salon, or a dress up area. There are lots of ideas and photos on Pinterest.
If you don’t have young children of your own, it would make a great gift or you could even sell it on Craigslist or eBay.
Laundry Room Uses
I’ve been using an old entertainment center in my laundry room for storing detergent, bleach, clothes pins, etc. I also have one shelf devoted to arts and crafts items for my kids. In the bottom cabinet, I store folders of tax income returns and receipts. I also have stored plastic bags and containers full of batteries, light bulbs, etc. in there as well.
The possibilities are endless! You might even use it in a garage to hold outdoor toys, motor oil, garden tools, etc. The idea is to be creative.
From Entertainment to a Functional Bar
Depending on the style and design of the entertainment center, you may be able to use an old one as a “bar.”
When we first got married, we used an entertainment center found for $10 at a garage sale. We used that for quite a while for our TV/stereo. Later, when we replaced it with one we liked better, we moved the old one into our dining room and used the various shelves to store liquor, wine and cocktail glasses, and related items we had acquired over time. We removed the backing (be careful as some may need the backing for stability). The area where the TV used to be was a nice large area for taller items. We later placed a decorative bar mirror on the wall behind that area. It’s a convenient place to mix drinks.
It now serves as a functional “bar,” which I suppose is really still a sort of “entertainment” center for our visitors.
Deet in New York
Use as Computer Desk/Home Office
If the entertainment center has doors on it, use it as a computer desk/home office. If you splurge on a pull-out shelf for the keyboard, you can sit in front of the center comfortably. With doors, you can hide the mess.
Repurpose Entertainment Center in Guest Bedroom
I inherited my mom’s entertainment center, and because it’s a good solid piece of oak furniture, I was very torn about getting rid of it since it didn’t suit our TV purposes. However, I shabby-chic’d the piece and put it into our spare bedroom/guest bedroom.
It’s the perfect place to use as a spare linen closet, and blankets fit into the large opening when folded up. This enables someone to be able to grab a blanket easily when the cold weather is here, and the guest linens go in the enclosed area, as well as other spare items for the guest bedroom.
Use It As a Pantry
Our kitchen is small and we do not have a pantry space. When we bought a new TV that could not fit into our old entertainment center, I moved the entertainment center into my dining room. The sections with glass doors holds glassware and my good set of dishes. it has pull out drawers that holds my stockpiled canned goods very nicely and the section with solid doors holds all my other stockpiled dry goods.
The extra storage space has given me more space in my kitchen and has allowed me to take advantage of more sales at the grocery store now that I have a space to store all of my savings.
Many Ideas for Repurposing Entertainment Centers on Pinterest
If you check on Pinterest.com, you will find many, many ideas for repurposing entertainment centers. I have seen children’s play kitchens made from these. I have seen an entertainment center repurposed into a “purse” closet. I have seen them turned into a newborn’s closet. If you are someone who loves to sew, you can add shelves where the old TV was housed and add baskets for all your sewing items, including fabrics. Use your imagination!
When we upsized our TV, we just put the larger TV on top of our current entertainment center. We added shelves where the old TV was housed and had enough storage for all of the video game systems our kids own in addition to the DVD/VCR player and satellite dish box.
Just think “outside the box” when repurposing furniture that is no longer useful for its original purpose. You will be surprised what you can come up with.
Repurpose as Armoire
I once repurposed an entertainment center as an armoire. I painted it and stacked sweaters and t-shirts on the open shelves and used the areas with doors for clothing that was less attractive (underwear and socks in baskets).
If you don’t want to worry about always keeping the stacks neat, you could hang a little curtain.
Reconfigure to Fit New TV
I contacted a furniture refinisher and asked if it would be possible to reconfigure the piece.
After considering several options, we decided to make the piece shorter. The entire top was removed, the tambour doors were removed, the piece was cut down to an appropriate height for a new television, the shelves were adjusted to fit the new height, and then the top was replaced. The work was done so well that the piece looks like it was originally built this way. I have a beautiful piece that still provides some of the storage I had before and now holds our flat screen TV. It cost us much less than buying even a cheap stand would have and I still have a beautiful piece of furniture.
Perhaps this would be an option for you.
Out-of-the Box Repurposing
My cousin repurposed hers by removing the doors and installing an electric fireplace insert. I’m sure the internet could tell you how to do this.
Turn It into a Craft Nook
Repurpose it into a sewing/crafting/art center. The opening for the TV can be the workspace area. You can put up a corkboard or some pegboard on the wall in the opening area for extra storage/space. The drawers can hold all the supplies, and if you have doors, you can simply close it when not in use!
Heather in CA
Convert into Bookcase
I repurposed an old entertainment center by adding a shelf where the old TV was and made it into a fantastic bookcase with my new wall-mounted TV placed above. It looks fantastic, and no one has noticed it was converted. I love it and the new TV is not too high to watch comfortably.
Look for a Need
We will soon have the same issue, as our five-piece entertainment center was custom-built to house our old TV. Now that we have a flat screen, we don’t need this depth anymore.
A few things I’ve thought of to re-purpose it are to put doors (and maybe legs) on the center section (my husband is an amateur woodworker) and use it as an armoire or free-standing linen closet. We could mount slide-out shelves in the narrower smaller pieces to use in storing canned and dry goods, and the corner curios would fit, well, in corners for displaying of photos and knick-knacks. In the meantime, we’ve placed the sub-woofer behind the flat screen as there is room back there now. This solves the problem of vibrating cabinet doors where it was once housed below the old TV.
Terry in Hoschton, GA
When Repurposing an Entertainment Center, The Sky Is the Limit!
One way of repurposing your old entertainment center is to turn in into an extra pantry. Mine is filled with pasta, pasta sauce, canned goods, flour, sugar, cake mixes, jams, and peanut butter. I get these items occasionally on sale at very good prices. My extra pantry helps me be more creative with my cooking. I know I have a backup for those days we are tempted to go out because we don’t have anything for dinner. With some pasta, veggies and pasta sauce, dinner is ready. I use cake mixes for making cupcakes (yum!) and we hardly ever run out of sugar or flour now.
Another idea for utilizing your old entertainment center is turning it into a photo storage cabinet. I collected our old albums we had throughout the house. I labeled them and store them in one place. I also have a shoe box there where I drop all photos that the kids bring from their sports or class events. I occasionally buy photo albums on sale, and when the shoe box is full of photos, I fill the album with the photos and then label the album with the correct dates.
Other ideas for utilizing your entertainment center is turning it into a gift wrapping center, an office, storage for jewelry/accessories, or even a bar. The sky is the limit.
Put Old Entertainment Center to Good Use in Laundry Room
I have a wonderful idea for your entertainment center. Put it in your laundry room. Add a bar across the wide upper section and hang up damp clothes. This will cut down on ironing time and pesky wrinkles.
Put your liquid detergent, powder detergent, stain removers, fabric softener, and dryer sheets in the sections with doors. This has a dual purpose. It keeps small pets and children from accidental poisoning, and you can see at a glance when to buy more supplies.
Mel S. in California
Reviewed January 2022
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