armoire coffee bar

From Armoire to Coffee Bar

Hate seeing all those ads that tell you if your furniture hasn’t stuck with the times, that you should buy some more on-trend furniture? Here’s a way to take one of the most obviously dated pieces you have and give it some new life!

armoire coffee bar

Hey there, friends, and happy Friday! I’m offering up something slightly different today, something outside my normal lane, but it’s still kinda sorta food related so I’m just going to go with it.

We got ourselves a great new coffee bar! It replaced an industrial set of shelves that we had there previously and gave us a beautiful look and the ability to close and lock drawers so that grabby little toddler hands can’t get into them.

I posted a picture and friends asked us where we had gotten it. I told them “Upstairs.” Upstairs? Some kind of funky new shop in Old Town? Nope. Literally upstairs in our house.

Because this is what it was before we decided to make it into a coffee bar.

Yep, that’s our old TV armoire! It’s part of the dark cherry furniture set my in-laws gave us when they were downsizing and we’d just moved to Virginia from Hawaii with next to no furniture.

The dark cherry stain and the style weren’t my thing, but who says no to free furniture in this day and age, especially when it’s made of solid wood? No MDF, no veneer, not even the high grade ply, but solid wood. It was good solid furniture, and Scott and I figured that if the dark cherry really got to us, we could do something about it later.

It’s now later. I’m figuring out what I want to do with the rest of the furniture now, but the armoire was at the top of the list. It was the one piece of the set that we just couldn’t figure out a good use for. This furniture was made in the early ’90s according to a tag we found in one of the drawers, and as such, that armoire was suited to hold a big old tube TV and not a lot else.

Or so we thought until I came across this image on Pinterest.

I can’t find this original image, but do a quick search on Pinterest for “armoire coffee bar” and you’ll get hundreds of ones that look just like it. Still, it was enough to get me thinking about how to turn that old TV armoire into something useful – and something that was a lot more our style!

I’m usually dead set against painting wood furniture. I love the look of natural wood, especially combined with metal and stone and bright white walls. However, I decided to give it a try with this piece to see how we liked it, figuring I could always strip the paint and the stain later if we didn’t like it. Turns out, we love it!

We started by looking for paints. We didn’t want to go with the blue pictured in the original image, but something bright and clean. We ended up going with Black Dog Salvage’s furniture paint in Clean Canvas. It comes out with a beautiful matte finish and doesn’t require any sanding or prep. You just paint.

Although I sanded and prepped. I ended up putting one base coat and two more solid coats on to get the look I wanted for the piece.

We had widened the TV cutout in back so that we could hook up a small fridge – which helped a lot when I was first home from the hospital and pumping for Marcus – but now we needed to enclose the back.

Scott had the idea of lining it with fresh cedar, which is both beautiful and smells awesome. So he covered the cutout with thin plywood and wrapped the interior of the coffee bar in tongue-and-groove cedar, made for lining cedar chests and closets.

He also built a thin cove around the top so that we could run a strand of LED lights inside and give it some interior light. The switch is just inside what used to be the inner cabinet.

All we had to do was throw down a couple of rubber serving mats to protect the surface, add new hardware to the doors, and load up our coffee makers {yes, we have three, it’s excessive, but two were gifts and each have a very different purpose}.

We absolutely love the finished result!

armoire coffee bar

Let’s take a look again at the before and after!

I’m so happy we were able to give this piece new life and also better meet our needs for the coffee bar. The shelves we were using before went up to Scott’s office to hold his books and saved us from having to purchase any more storage for him.

We’ve still got a lot of work to do on our house and on tweaking things so they’re more efficient, but the more we work on, the more I’m finding that we don’t need new things. We often don’t need more storage but different storage and fewer things. And sometimes, it’s really easy to find a solution if we just creatively shop the house first.

What did you guys think of this makeover?

About the ChefKristin

Career Army officer with a tendency toward workaholism. On the side, self taught cook, carpenter, and gardener, working to build a beautiful life for my family. Trying to tilt my balance in the right direction.


    1. Thank you – and congratulations on your upcoming house purchase! It’s all kinds of fun figuring out how to make it your own!

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