As you build your design vocabulary, “repurpose” is certainly a word you’ll want to add to to your lexicon, and having the imagination and skills to recycle, renew, and yes, repurpose an orphaned piece of furniture is a talent that will serve you well as you decorate (and re-decorate!) your home.

Take the armoire, for instance. Once used to store clothing, the built-in closet soon made it obsolete. When enormous home entertainment systems came into vogue, the armoire had a new purpose: hiding a television, VCR, gaming system, and tons of bulky tapes. Now that we have thankfully streamlined the way we watch TV, should we relegate armoires to garage sales and basements once again? Not so fast. Armoires are made to store things, so why not expand your vision of what an armoire can store?  Read on, and discover how to repurpose an armoire for almost any room in your house.

Repurposing 101

Vintage and used armoires and wardrobes come in almost as many styles as every other type of furniture. Experiment with what looks best in your chosen room. If your house rocks a Mid-Century vibe, you may want to get a Danish Modern armoire or find a newer piece with modern style such a used armoire from Design Within Reach or Crate and Barrel. Is your home eclectic or bohemian? Than just choose an armoire that looks great, and be sure to pay attention to scale. Armoires can be large, and though they can make a great focal point, you don’t want them to totally dominate a room. Once you’ve chosen your piece, you can go DIY or LIA (Leave it Alone). Many older, less precious pieces will perk up with a fresh coat of paint or with some pretty paper lining its shelves. In terms of storage, your armoire will likely have some open storage as well as drawers, and shelves hidden behind doors. Keep this in mind when you stock your armoire. Put the prettiest items on display (pretty booze bottles, glassware) and hide the more utilitarian stuff (corkscrew, paring knife).


Your clothes are in the closet, but wouldn’t that collection of Manolos, Louboutins and Chucks look great displayed in your bedroom? An armoire with glass doors is perfect for storing and displaying the artworks that are your heels, wedges, flats and sneakers. Bonus: certain pairs won’t be forgotten at the back of the closet – they’ll be right where you can see them so you can make sure you rotate them into your wardrobe.


Bathing Beauty

If you’ve got the space in your bathroom, almost nothing looks more romantic and spa-like than stocking an armoire with neatly rolled, color coordinated towels and washcloths. If your bathroom is Shabby-Chic or French Country, paint an old fashioned armoire white and add some beautifully packaged bath salts, lotions and soaps. Not only will you always have clean towels at the ready, your bathroom will be a chic oasis.


Snacky Storage

Who doesn’t need more storage in their kitchen? A repurposed vintage armoire can ensure that you always have what you need for baking a batch of cookies or throwing together some spaghetti and marinara on a school night. If you want to store items you buy in bulk (flours, pastas, beans) pick up attractive matching storage jars that will lend a harmonious look to the open shelves.  Woven baskets that fit lower shelves are perfect for holding canned goods or kitchen linens. Spice jars and condiments will fit nicely in drawers.


Take it Outside

A used armoire is a functional and charming way to store all manner of garden tools, as well as providing a space to do repotting and other garden chores. Find an armoire that you won’t mind painting – any shades of violet or green will look great outdoors – and create a charming potting shed in your yard. Inexpensive brackets can hold shelves on the back of the armoire, and hooks are perfect for gloves and small tools.


Luxe Laundry
Install an armoire next to your clothes washer and dryer and watch wash day go from not-fun to super-functional. Want to add a touch of glam to laundry-doing? Paint your armoire a pop-y, glossy color on the outside, and line the interior (shelves, drawers and all) with a printed wallpaper that makes you grin every time you see it. Large, lidded glass jars are perfect for holding powder detergents, and baskets on shelves store stain remover and other laundry products. Smaller drawers are perfect for an iron and mending supplies.


Drinks Are on You

With bar carts all the rage, turning your used armoire or vintage wardrobe into a drinks station, or barmoire, is an idea verging on the necessary. Install a wine rack and holders for stemmed glasses and you’ll be ready for the fun part, which, as far as we’re concerned, is the styling. A unified color palette is a great place to start: we’ve seen amazing home bars that stuck to, say, an amber and orange color scheme, with maybe a touch of chartreuse. Need a type of booze that doesn’t “go”? That’s what hidden storage is for. Have fun with glassware, bar tools and even matching paper straws. And prepare to keep it stocked. Everyone’s coming to your place for drinks.


Don’t be afraid to be get creative when you bring new life to that armoire. Takes these ideas, expand on them, and dream up some ideas of your own.