Upcycled Media Cabinet

My husband is a high school English teacher and this semester he got assigned a film and literature course, which means his classroom needed something to store all the equipment as well as somewhere for the tv to go. But the school didn’t really have a budget for both electronics and furniture, so I took matters into my own hands.

We bought a 1980s media cabinet at the Habitat Restore for $17….

1980 media cabinet upcycle


Then, I turned the open section, meant for a big bulky square tv, into a bookcase with some plywood, hobby board, and 1×2’s….

bookshelf media cabinet

My plywood was kind of a weird shape so I had to Frankenstein it together (then spackle it smooth).  I added 1×2 pieces on the back and sides and fit a hobby board on top to create the shelf. To bulk up the hobby board I added a 1×2 lip in front of it, this also added a bit to the length which was helpful as well.

Next, I emailed my friends at Deco Art and asked if they would supply some Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint for the project. They sent me some carbon (black) paint as well as wax, which I partnered with some relique (gray) paint I already had on hand.  I chose chalky finish paint because there was no sanding required, and painted on two coats (without removing the doors, just opening them up and painting carefully).

black upcycled media cabinetWe haven’t moved it into Matt’s classroom yet so I just styled it up in my living room to share with you. And then it rained all week, so I apologize for the grainy pictures but you get the idea. 🙂

living room black painted furniture

love this thing. The wax helped maintain the nice matte look I was aiming for. The glass door cabinet is perfect for storing the blu-ray player and sound bar (when not in use), the slim build of the cabinet is just right for a flat screen to perch on, and the bookshelf is going to hold the classrooms’ dictionaries and thesauruses.

It’s been hanging in our living room for about a week looking super stylish and awesome, I’m going to be so sad to see it go!

tv cabinet upcycle




So next time you see this bad boys pop up on Craigs List, give them a second look! A little paint and some wood go a long way!


*Thanks to Deco Art for supplying the paint! (All other supplies were at my own expense.)



7 thoughts on “Upcycled Media Cabinet

  1. Love this. I’m turning mine into a bar but this is exactly the look I’ve been searching for.

  2. Hey there! I ould have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some
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  3. That’s going to look way more stylish than any classroom furniture I’ve ever seen! You did a great job. And how fun to teach a film as lit class. I used to use film to teach reading skills; it was easier for struggling kids get a concept (like making inferences) with a video than with a written text. Oops, getting teacher wonky here. 🙂

  4. wow–that turned out so great! like it was always that way and never even had an embarrassing life in the 80’s 😉

      • Stephanie
        I am excited to see your beautiful results. I have a similar cabinet and want to refinish. I love the chalk paint and wax finish look. Can you give me more specifics on amount with each color and how the wax fits in? I am anxious to have same finished look as opposed to plain chalk paint finish. Any tips appreciated!

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