Before and After: A $100 Redo for an Early-2000s Media Cabinet

published Apr 27, 2022
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Credit: Sydney Black

Before you ditch an older piece of furniture for something you’ve been eyeing online, consider for a moment if you can convert your old piece to get the same look. It’s more sustainable to reuse an item, it’ll probably save you money, and might even be fun.

Take it from Sydney Black, who made her fiancé’s hand-me-down wooden media console look “like a brand-new piece straight from a CB2 catalog.”

She and her fiancé were considering getting rid of the old cabinet because it was “dated and worn,” Sydney describes, and the glass doors made it hard to conceal clutter, which she didn’t like.

“We originally planned to donate it before our last move, but we struggled to find a replacement of the same quality for an affordable price… so I started to look into updating the piece in a way that could hide the mess,” she says.

With the help of Google research, black paint, and a budget of $100 (plus some hands-on help from her parents and fiancé), she transformed the dark brown cabinet into something more bold, organic, and modern. The process took about a week.

Credit: Sydney Black

First, they disassembled the cabinet, then sanded all of the surfaces. After sanding, they decided that relocating the cabinet door handles would help to modernize the piece, so they spackled the original holes (located about halfway down) and drilled new ones higher on the door frame for smaller, sleeker brass pulls installed after painting.

Credit: Sydney Black

Painting the cabinet black took about three days including priming and dry time, Sydney recalls. Next, came the grasscloth detailing on the doors.

Credit: Sydney Black

“One difficultly was determining how to add the caning since we knew we wanted to keep the glass in the frames to deter our cats from scratching,” Sydney says.

But, as it turns out, the inserts that held the glass in place also helped hold the woven sheets in place, and “you can’t even see the glass in front,” Sydney says.

She’s very pleased with the added natural texture. “I was worried that the door frame openings would be too small to make an impact, but I was proven wrong in the best way!” she says.

Credit: Sydney Black

Her advice post-DIY is to not be afraid to take on a small-ish project like this, and she’s certainly glad she did. For just $100, she now has a cabinet that would cost almost three times as much (at least) from a retailer.