3 Great Ways To Reuse An Old Chest of Drawers

by Liam McGill

3 Great Ways To Reuse An Old Chest of Drawers

The time has come, that chest of drawers that you’ve lugged from your bedroom to your first apartment and now to your first home is finally not quite fitting in with the rest of your furniture. Whether the piece is a bit past its use-by date, or it’s covered in stickers from your y2k era angsty self, it’s a bit of a shame to just throw out what is an easily restorable piece of furniture. So if you’re in this predicament and have a bit of TLC in your heart, then give these creative ideas a shot!


Toolchest

Tool chest - Mainland Furniture

If you’re a bit of an around-the-house fixer-upper, or you’ve got a grease monkey in your household, an old but still function chest of drawers can easily become a great home for all your tools, screws and associated paraphernalia! If this sounds like a great idea for your garage then here’s some main upgrades we’d recommend for your setup!


Line the drawers/ create cut outs

There’s nothing worse than opening up a drawer and seeing a magic eye of assorted items strewn about everywhere. As such, getting some foam to create cutouts or even some drawer liners can help keep a tool chest organized and tidy

Organize your screws and bolts

Sometimes, all you need to fix a product is just one screw but a messy drawer can quickly turn that screw into a needle in a haystack. Thus, to prevent as many headaches as possible use jars to effectively organize and label your fasteners for quick access. How particular to get is up to you, if you want to label them as particular as “75 x 3.15mm Stainless Steel” or as roughly as “Skrews” the amount of headache is your choosing!


TV Cabinet

TV Cabinet - Mainland Furniture

Granted, if this chest of drawers was in a bedroom that also featured a TV, it probably already served this purpose. However, with some simple tweaking, you can quickly turn that low boy into a pretty sweet entertainment setup with a couple of quick tweaks!

Small drawers for small cables

If you’re using these drawers for a games/theatre room, then you’ll understand that cables and remotes can quickly build up. Like the tool chest suggestion above, clever use of snaplock bags, cable straps and cut outs can quickly turn those top two shelves, usually used for socks and underwear, into an all-in-one accessory hub that will remove the headache of finding another HDMI cable for whatever device needs to be plugged in!

Turn those drawers into shelves!

If your chest of drawers aren’t on metal runners and instead simply use gravity and will to stay in the main body of the unit, then this next trick will have you turning those spacious drawers into a glorious home for your devices with much more airflow than any TV Unit. Simply measure out the dimensions of the space left on the unit with the drawer removed, then purchase a clean piece of plywood, thick enough to hold the weight of the devices and clean enough so that your devices aren’t sucking up any unnecessary wood chips (here’s a great guide on how to apply varnish to your plywood for your convenience.) While you’re preparing your shelf, use a hole saw on the back of the unit to create cable management holes for your devices, depending on the cut it may be worth giving the edge of the cut a quick rub with high grit sandpaper to avoid damaging your cables. Then just install the shelves into the unit, plug in your devices and you should be all good to go!


Buffet/Hall Table

Console Table - Mainland Furniture

Like the TV unit suggestion above, with some simple tweaks a Lowboy can quickly become a fully-fledged hall table or buffet depending on your needs. But this quick tweak can also give that lowboy a new lease of life.

Drawers to Shelves

To repeat the previous suggestion, turning those drawers into open shelves is an easy, weekend project that can turn that handful of drawers into a singular, spacious cavity for any shoes, umbrellas, and decorative vases you choose to store inside. The added benefit of reusing an old chest of drawers is you can choose the amount of shelves you may want! All you need to do is make as many shelves as you desire and place them in a way that fits you.

Covering the goods

If you’re choosing to use this lowboy for use as a buffet/sideboard, then it might pay to look into ways of covering the contents inside. If you’ve got the know-how, you can easily install some cupboard doors into the unit. However, if the contents inside are unlikely to fall out and the design of the unit allows for it, consider installing a curtain above the main shelves of the unit to obscure the contents of your new buffet from the world.


Conclusion

For whatever purpose you’ve made it, your old chest of drawers has had a fresh breath of air given to it. It’s now ready to live another 20 years with a new life and a different purpose. You too can feel proud of yourself, for not just your DIY-prowess, but for also helping the environment by reusing a piece of furniture that might’ve been thrown out before it truly had to. So enjoy your new creative reuse of that chest of drawers with the knowledge you helped make this world a better place by just that small amount.


FAQ

How do I remove stickers from wooden drawers?

If you sticker-bombed your chest of drawers as a young, rebellious teen and now want the remnants of your angsty youth removed the solution is quite simple. To begin, if you can easily peel off the sticker without resistance or it ripping then go that route. However, for more stubborn stickers then this tip should help. This comes from our own blog post so follow that if you want a more in-depth explanation, but if you want a quick explanation then continue reading. Firstly, soak a cloth in vinegar. Then, lay the cloth over the chosen sticker for 5 minutes. Once the appropriate amount of time has passed, peel off the sticker using a scraper or something similar (an expired gift card works great in a pinch). Repeat the above steps if the sticker is stubbornly holding its place, then when finished, wipe the surface down with wood polish to revitalize the offending area.


How do I restore my chest of drawers?

If your chest of drawers has been through a lot and is covered in scratches, scrapes and dents and you’re not planning on re-painting the unit then there’s a variety of options you can go through to rebirth your unit. If your unit has small scratches on it, then our own guide will help cover some household solutions to keep that unit looking as close to new as you can. If your unit is dented, however, then fill the affected area with water, then cover the unit with a soft fabric and use a clothes iron to steam the dented area and restore the area back to normal.

I want to buy an old chest of drawers to do this, what should I look for?

If this article has given you the inspiration to purchase a second-hand unit but don’t know what to look for in regards to a unit worth restoring, then our guide should help you make a better-informed decision on what furniture deserves a second life, and what stuff is destined for the landfill.






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