DIY: How to Repurpose Free/Cheap Furniture


I’m one of “those people” who when I see old, beat up furniture on the side of the road for free, I always pull over!  I’m going to show you how I turned a free writing desk into a bar station for under $40.DIY Bar Station

I found this writing desk on the side of the road one day.  And other than some scratches, it was in good condition, and it was solid wood!  I knew immediately that I could refinish it.  But I didn’t get the inspiration to turn it into a bar station until later. 

Solid wood writing desk

The first thing I did was remove the top two drawers and add a shelf above the bottom drawer.  The wood for the shelf wasn't the same, but you can’t tell the difference once it’s painted. 

DIY writing desk turned into bar station

The next step was to remove the hinged top and hardware on the drawer.  I like to use chalk paint because sanding is unnecessary.  However, I still sand any rough surfaces. 

diy sanded writing desk turned into bar station

To make your own chalk paint, mix 4 tablespoons of Calcium Carbonate with about 1 tablespoon of water.  Use more or less water to get the desired viscosity.  Some people like this mixture either thinner or thicker than paint.  I prefer to it to have the same thickness as the paint.  Stir the mixture into 1 cup of paint, keeping in mind it will make your color a shade or two lighter.

Calcium Carbonate to make DIY chalk paint

Another benefit to using chalk paint is you usually only need a couple coats.  It’s also more durable than paint and you don’t need to prime.  I wanted the piece to have a satin finish, so I applied a coat of clear finish.  You can skip this step if you prefer a matte finish.

Benjamin Moore Evening Sky and Fresno paint samples

I changed the hardware on the drawers and added a self-adhesive liner.  I also drilled a hole and added a round cabinet knob to the hinged top.  Finally, I installed the glass racks, and voila!, I had a bar station!

Wine glass rack and wine bottles

The final step is to stock your bar station with all the necessities!  Here is a list of some of the things I added.

Bar Station Necessities:

  • Citrus juicer
  • Cocktail napkins
  • Cocktail recipe books
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Cocktail stirrer
  • Cutting board
  • Ice bucket
  • Muddler
  • Wine bottle opener

Cocktail books, moscow mule candle, cocktail napkins, cocktail shaker, ice bucket

Muddler, cocktail stirrer, citrus juicer, wine glass markers, wine bottle opener

Supplies for a DIY Bar Station:

The first order of business when my bar station was complete, was to make a cocktail!  Mojitos were a favorite when I visited Spain a few years ago, so here is the recipe from Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails With a Literary Twist by Tim Federle:

tequila mockingbird cocktail recipe book, mojito

The Last of the Mojitos

  • 5 fresh blueberries, washed

  • 3 small, fresh strawberries, washed
  • 8 sprigs fresh mint, washed
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • 1 ounce agave nectar
  • 1 ½ ounce light rum
  • 1 (12-ounce) can club soda

Muddle the berries, mint, juice, and nectar in a Collins glass.  Add 2 handfuls ice and the rum, give a good stir, and top off with club soda. 

*I substituted the lemon with lime juice; the nectar with 1 Tbsp cane sugar; and club soda for 7up, to be more reminiscent of the mojitos I had in Spain, and it was delicious!

diy bar station, liquor rack with copper mugs

The next time you see a free piece of furniture on the side of the road, I hope this blog will inspire you to repurpose it for your home!  

Please comment below with your favorite cocktail recipes or must-have bar station accessories!


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