Grandma’s hutch is no doubt a source of family pride. After all, it was Grandma’s and was maybe even in your family lineage earlier than that. Unfortunately, these bulky pieces of furniture tend to be large and sometimes kind of ugly. They take up valuable living space in your dining room, kitchen, living room, and in some homes even a bedroom.
Rest assured there are ways to repurpose these overbearing pieces of furniture without dishonoring Grandma. You can keep her heirloom in your home, and you can use it for a much different purpose.
Items You May Need for Repurposing Grandma’s Hutch
This project won’t require major restructuring, but you will need a few simple items, depending on which of the five ways you choose to repurpose the piece. You likely have some—if not most—of these things in your home already.
- Drop cloth
- Paint brush
- Painter’s tape
- Measuring tape
- Power saw
- Screw driver
- Stud finder
- Craft glue
- Spray adhesive
- Soft cleaning rags
- White vinegar
- Craft or scrapbooking paper
Repurpose the Hutch for the Bathroom
Even if you can’t fit the hutch inside your bathroom, place it just outside the bathroom door. Either way, it makes an excellent place to decoratively store all of your towels and linens.
Start by deciding whether or not you want to change the color of your hutch. Since most of them are made of wood, your least time consuming and most cost effective means of changing its overall appearance is to paint it.
Begin your project by removing the doors and drawers. You will need a screwdriver to remove the doors. Be mindful of the glass in the doors.
Lay a drop cloth on your floor and lay the drawers and doors on it. Ease the entire heirloom onto the drop cloth as well.
Sand the entire hutch, wherever there is finished wood. All you need to do is scuff it up a bit so paint will readily adhere to it. Clean all of the sanding dust from the doors, and drawers with a soft cleaning cloth.
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Tape off the area around the windows so you don’t cover them with paint. Note: Even if you plan to not use the doors on your repurposed hutch, paint them to match the piece anyway. That way if you decide to use the doors later or, or to part with the hutch, you have all pieces in the same color.
Paint the entire hutch. You will likely need to do two coats. Allow it to dry for at least 24 hours before proceeding.
If you have good quality towels, or attractive bottles of perfumes and lotions, consider leaving the hutch doors off. This will also save room if you opt to move the hutch inside the bathroom. Roll the hand towels and face cloths and arrange them among the bottles. Place the remainder of your towels and linens inside the hutch drawers.
Do a thorough housecleaning of your bathroom closet? You’ll likely come up with other interesting items to display on the shelves.
As Book Storage
Even though we’re living in the age of eReaders, many people still love the feel of a hardcover book in their hands. Those people collect dozens of books each year, and need somewhere to store them. If this describes you, read on for a great way to repurpose your hutch for book storage.
Decide upon the room in which you want to store your books. Then, based on that room’s décor, decide if you need to paint the hutch or leave it in its present state.
If you decide to paint it, simply refer to the aforementioned steps. If not, you only need to thoroughly clean the hutch with a soft cleaning cloth and a bit of white vinegar, remove the doors, and proceed.
This might be an excellent time to clean your books, before placing them in their new designated spot. Did you know you can clean the inside of your books in addition to the outside? Dust the pages individually, and then place each book inside a bag filled with rice. The rice will absorb any musty odor. Brush away any pieces of rice after removing the books from the bag a day or so later. The result is odorless books that are dust free.
Consider lining up your books by color. It will add an element of intrigue and design to the room to which you’ve moved the piece. Stand some books—always spine out—and stack others one atop the other for even more intrigue and style.
Stash soft cover books and magazines inside the hutch drawers or lower cupboard. If you wear reading glasses and never seem to find a pair when sitting down to read, consider placing a couple of extra inexpensive pairs inside a drawer or cupboard. Add a good reading lamp and comfortable chair to a space adjacent to your new book storage piece, and prepare to catch up on some reading.
Have you checked out the price of entertainment centers recently? They’re ridiculously expensive. Why spend that kind of money when you can simply repurpose Grandma’s hutch for your TV, DVD player and more?
This repurposing project requires a bit more work than the rest, but nothing the average homeowner can’t complete. Start by measuring your TV if you plan to include it in the entertainment center. Remove the doors and shelves from the hutch and draw the area that will be cut out to accommodate the TV on the backing of the upper part of the hutch.
Prepare the finish on the hutch if you wish to change the color, as mentioned in the steps above. Once the paint is dry, continue with the following steps.
You will be hanging your TV on the wall, although it will appear as though the entertainment center is securing it. The back of the hutch will actually frame the TV instead. Drill holes in the backs of drawers or lower cupboards to accommodate cords for a DVD player, cable box, etc.
Follow the instructions on your TV wall bracket. Place the hutch over the bracket and hang the TV. Hook up your DVD player, cable box, etc. They, along with DVDs and other forms of media, will hide nicely inside the drawers or lower closed cupboard.
Like to Entertain?
If you entertain frequently, you might consider repurposing your hutch into a bar. Hopefully Grandma won’t roll over in her grave! There are several ways you can do this. Choose the one that most suits your sense of style.
Remove the doors from the hutch, and choose whether or not to paint the entire piece of furniture, using the steps mentioned earlier in the article.
Remove the shelves from the top of the hutch. Measure the entire back of the upper piece. Cut craft paper or fabric in a bright, fun color to match your style and use craft glue or spray adhesive to cover the entire back. Replace the shelves and line with bottles and glasses for your entertaining convenience.
Keep the doors of the hutch intact. Stand colorful trays as display pieces on each shelf. Line bottles in front of the trays and close the doors. The reflection of the tray colors through the bottles just might become a conversation starter. Try reading: 5 Uses for Lazy Susan
Regardless of which way you choose to repurpose this large piece into a bar, you can utilize the drawers and lower cabinets to house more glasses, mixers, shot glasses, shakers, napkins, and more. Do a thorough housecleaning of all your barware first, putting only those pieces you really plan to use in your new bar.
Hope Grandma’s Not Watching!
This last of the five options for repurposing Grandma’s heirloom is one in which you’ll likely hope Grandma isn’t watching. Why? It involves cutting (well, maybe not really cutting) her precious piece in two.
Most hutches actually come in two pieces and are screwed together at the base of the upper half. If this is the case, taking it apart is simple. If it happens to be the kind that is actually made as one piece, disassembling it won’t be difficult. A small power saw will cut through the section, just above where the full sized drawers begin. Some hutches have small drawers in the upper half, hence the specification.
Once the heirloom is cut in two, and you’ve spoken aloud to your late Grandma several times—begging her forgiveness, set the lower half aside, as this project will utilize the top half only. Decide whether to pain the top or use it in its as-is condition. Next up—move it to your laundry room.
You will need a stud finder to make sure the next steps taken are safe ones. Check the area just above the washer and dryer and mark it with a pencil once you found your stud.
Affix the piece to the wall using multiple screws, making sure at least two are tightly screwed into the stud. Line up your laundry detergent, dryer sheets, fabric softener and more on the lower, easier to reach shelves. Extra towels, clean housecleaning rags, and out of season bedding can be rolled and store on the upper shelves.
Since you’ve now made your laundry room into a stylish part of your home, you might consider a thorough housecleaning of your washing machine and dryer. The tops of each are areas we tend to look at often, without really seeing just how dirty they’ve become.
In conclusion, there are many ways to honor Grandma’s memory, even when not using her heirloom furniture the same way she used it. Consider these ideas and you’ll no doubt come up with even more of your own.
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We actually did this to my mom’s old hutch. She used it for her dishes but we painted it, put fabric on the back and use it for plant and a few knick knacks. We also removed the front doors. There are some very good repurpose ideas in this post.