Before and After: A Living Room Gets a Big Style Boost with $40 Used Kitchen Cabinets

published Apr 17, 2021
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Closets & Storage
Living Room
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: TV above a white farmhouse-style sideboard

There are plenty of times when small furniture or decor is better than big furniture. This is not one of those times. Here, bigger is definitely better.

In Tara Boettger’s (Just Call Me Homegirl) home, the family room just… felt like it was lacking. “The before was fine, but it didn’t feel complete,” she says. The small farmhouse-style sideboard was nice enough, but it couldn’t offer the functionality — and the oomph — that Tara wanted for the space. “I wanted more storage I wanted something to make a statement,” she says.

Fortune struck when Tara saw five matching cabinets listed on Facebook Marketplace for just $40. She knew she had to jump on the buy before someone else did. “I sent my husband out to pick them up at 9 p.m. so I didn’t lose them!” she says.

Tara had always thought about built-ins for the family room but the cost, she says, always seemed too high. These used kitchen cabinets would help her make her dream built-ins for far less.

The cabinets made for the perfect base for the built-ins. Tara lined them up underneath the TV, then built to-the-ceiling shelving on top, all of which she painted bright white. The built-ins are open in the middle to accommodate the wall-mounted TV. Special touches — like cutting holes to hide TV cords, adding moulding around the top of the built-ins, and installing trim on the faces of the shelves — help make the piece look like a high-end build.

Repurposing secondhand finds helped Tara pull off this piece on an impressively small budget (just $300 for everything), but it was satisfying in other ways, too. “I love that we kept something out of the landfill, created something I have wanted for years, and at a fraction of the price,” Tara says.

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