Back to Business: Repurposed Credenza

Today flat panel televisions are everywhere.  These have become the standard in most homes.  They are a far cry from the big boxes that once sat in cabinets across America.  And if you had a "big screen" you had to sacrifice a corner the size of a love seat in your room.


Now that they are commonplace, manufacturers have begun making furniture for them in all ranges of design and price point.  Of course, the flat panel design gives you the option to hang them on the wall in most cases, but there is still the issue of media and electronic component storage.  Getting the TV at the right height for viewing and storing all the stuff is an important part of most living rooms.

One easy way to get just what you need is to head to your local used business furniture store.  For design on the cheap, this place is a best kept secret.  I have used items from this source many times and gotten great results.  The furniture is, in most cases, made for commercial purposes and therefore built to last.  The hardware is typically much sturdier than that found in many "residential" designs (the manufacturers of these pieces are imagining drawers crammed full of file folders).  It is the perfect solution for your entertainment center needs.

savour... second-hand grand

Get the rest after the jump...

In many cases the piece will be just what you seek.  At times, you may have to make some alterations to suit your needs.  In today's before and after, I needed to change the color and distress it just a bit to tie it in to the furniture in its new home.  This piece is also going to be seen from both sides so a hole had to be drilled through the top for the cords.  The drawers had to be removed from the center to make room for the electronics.

In this case some work was required, but it was only a couple of hours total.  There was some drying time in between.  The project cost $125 for the cabinet and the materials to refinish.  The best part is that we were able to re-use an item that still had plenty of life left in it.   

A few things to consider:

Make sure you measure before you go (and write it down).  The example had to fit within the passageway shown.  There were very few credenzas that were the right size.  As a result, the space for the components/storage was compromised.

If you are uncomfortable refinishing furniture, get a friend to help or do some research before taking it on as a DIY project.  Feel free to contact me for advice.

Don't feel obligated to stain and varnish.  There are some lovely painted pieces out there.  Just be sure to sand and use primer first.

Steer clear of stain and varnish "all in one" products.  I have gotten very poor results with this in the past.  It's not saving any steps if you have to do it all over again.

Don't be afraid to bargain (respectfully).  Most of these places expect it.

Shop around.  The place I use most is sometimes more expensive than others, but the money they raise is for a local children's hospital.  I don't mind paying a little extra to keep stuff out of the landfill and help kids.

While perfect for flat panel entertainment centers, these credenzas can be used for many other purposes.  Stay tuned for one turned bar cabinet.