How To Makeover a Vintage Stereo Cabinet

Furniture and Cabinetry Redouxs, Furniture Makeovers, Le Junque, Tutorials

How to Makeover a Vintage Stereo Cabinet

How many times have you seen one of these old Stereo Cabinets and just dismissed it as a worthless?

I found this old Stereo Cabinet one day while out walking my dog.  I believe people put stuff out on their driveways with a free sign-up because they know I will pick it up.

You’ll Also Love: How to Decoupage Fabric Over Painted Wood

For reals.

It sat in my garage for a few weeks before inspiration hit.  I realized that instead of trying to restore the original turntable inside (trying to rewire something from the 1950s?  WHAT was I THINKING?!!) I could remove the turntable, speakers, etc. and our current turntable fit into the metal shelving already in place.  This piece was meant to come to me!

Whenever I am about to start a significant junk makeover, especially if I got it for free, I seriously feel like this:  Dumpster Diving Super Hero.

Vintage Stereo Cabinet Makeover Superhero Junker redouxinteriors

This is what I really look like when I am deep into a project.  I still see myself as the picture above until I look in the mirror…..

Karen before cleanup

Back to the Vintage Stereo Cabinet makeover.  With some patience and simple tools (plus the ability to just use blunt force to punch and kick out certain guts of the thing) you can do this too!

Refurbished Stereo Cabinet redouxinteriors diy paint

I began by removing all the unnecessary parts.  The giant speaker, the extra wiring, etc.  My first plan was to create a drop in holder of some sort where I think the radio once was on this pull out bin.  

The wood was solid and not agreeable to being cut apart.  I abandoned this idea and just pulled the whole thing out.  This left a large hole in the middle and a shelf would have to be built.

Vintage Stereo Cabinet Makeover parts out redouxinteriors

I used a large piece of scrap MDF, measured the length, the depth

Vintage Stereo cabinet makeover shelving redouxinteriors

and the little notches at the front.  I used my table saw to cut the MDF to size, then a jig saw to notch out the front.

I used Gorilla Wood Glue to secure the shelf down.  No screws needed.  The weight of the shelf + the glue helped secure it in place.

Next I turned my attention to the cabinet doors.  The door below the turntable holder was a mock door and didn’t open.  I had to get creative to figure out how to replace the inserts.  I laid the cabinet face down and had to perform complicated acrobatics to lean over into it and unscrew the wire and fabric that were previously so lovely in the cabinet doors.  You CAN do this!  Just be sure to do some stretching before and perhaps have a loved one on standby in case you get stuck inside the cabinet.

I used the old wood inserts as templates for my new plan.  I cut 2 pieces to fit the inside of the cabinets from scrap plywood.

I  stained the Luon Sheets with Debi’s Design Diary Dark and Decrepit Liquid Patina.  When they were dry, I used Gorilla Wood Glue again and small 1/4″ wood screws to place them into the cabinet frames.

vintage stereo cabinet makeover stained luon redouxinteriors

I then taped them off to begin painting.  Looking back, it probably would have been easier to do this part last, but I like to make things difficult for myself….It makes a fun challenge.  (NOT)

Time to get started on the fun part! I cleaned the entire piece with a mild detergent and did a light sanding.  I have found that this fakey Mahogany stain that was used from about 1920-1960s is a killer bleed-through.  I used Zinsser spray Lacquer and covered the entire piece with two thorough coats. When the lacquer was dry, I mixed dark grey and light grey DIY Paint to create this soft grey.

After my 1st coat dried, I noticed I was still getting a little bleed-through.  Sometimes you will need to apply a little more lacquer where the bleed-through is occurring.  I spot-treated it with a spritz of lacquer, you can use clear nail polish and a steady hand to get the same effect.  I like to use lacquer because the result will be more seamless. When the lacquer dried, I painted the 2nd coat.

I decided to paint the inside a fun contrasting color in a lime retro green. It kind of lends itself to the look of this piece.

I finished my piece with a light 320-grit sanding and an all-natural furniture wax.

Suffering Husband and I hauled it up to our bedroom; I found this crate, already stained at Hobby Lobby, which fit perfectly in the space where the pull-out bin had been.  The cabinet below was perfect for our growing vinyl collection.

Suffering Husband is loving it, especially with all the cool albums I recently found at one of my favorite Vintage and Antique Stores, Block 100 in Provo, Utah.

Next time you find an old stereo cabinet, don’t assume it is useless. Vinyl has made a big come back and with a bit of patience and a sense of humor for the challenges you will find along the way, you can have a pretty sweet Vintage Stereo cabinet playing your old favorites.

Vintage Stereo Cabinet makeover in place redouxinteriors

That’s it for this week’s Trashy Tuesday.  I have TONS more junk to share with you soon. I hope you have the trashiest week full of tons of junk.

You’ll Also Love:

Trashy Tuesday What The Junk?

Drawer Turned Shoe Storage

How To Get The Chippy Paint Look


How to makeover an old stereo cabinet.   Start to Finish, everything you need to know


  1. Shelly Andrade

    Karen, you most definitely rock that super hero cape, lol

    • GTC

      Hey Shelly, I think I am going to start wearing it everywhere I go. Lol!

    • GTC

      Thanks Jenifer, I think it is my “new look”, haha

  2. Catherine

    Funny lady–I can totally see the cape!
    You’d be so proud of me–I went dumpster diving behind a favorite store that just closed. I scored a super cool (and old) industrial scale!
    In any case–you were totally on my mind while I was in there! ; D

    • GTC

      Oh Catherine, I am SO proud of you!! I can’t believe you found an old industrial scale! That is one thing is always on my list. What a great find. Thanks for taking me along in spirit 🙂

  3. Patty Soriano

    Hey, Karen. Good save! Love the idea. Right now we have a plastic black and acrylic chest that hubby bought many years ago for all our electronics. None of the stuff is even used anymore. I have a turntable that I’d like to have out so I can use it, but it’s stuffed away somewhere. Don’t know why. Anyway, I’d love to find a cabinet like this to put my turntable in, and to store the records. How cool ! What kind of vinyl does your hubby like ? or you? And…. what exactly is bleeding through ? and why ? Thanks bunches. Love the cape.

    • GTC

      Hey Patty! Start looking on Craig’s list or local free cycle sites for that Vintage Cabinet, you might be surprised how abundant they can be. Re Vinyl, we have a wide variety of tastes, we both love Jazz, some good stuff fro the 80’s, I bought 2 classic Police albums lately, late 70’s Elton John, I found a Captain Fantastic album at the shop I mentioned. It’s pretty eclectic, but luckily our tastes are pretty similar. We depart at The Grateful Dead. Suffering Husband can play that all he wants when I am not around!

      • Patty Soriano

        ooops….most important question wasn’t answered….. what exactly is bleeding through and why ? Thanks, Karen! We both love Elton John and have all his early records (husband’s collection). I was more into Elvis and Dan Fogelberg!

  4. MJ

    You make me think I could make over a cabinet like this. Have passed up on so many of them! Maybe not the next time. You did a great job and deserve your super hero cape. Just so long as you don’t try flying in it!!! XXX

    • GTC

      You can make one over MJ! Thank you so much for your sweet words. I will definitely not try to fly with the cape. I don’t think it is that powerful! haha

  5. Florence

    Karen, I love your makeover. That cabinet rocks now! Love the moniker “Suffering Husband” too. Isn’t that the truth? I could call mine that!

    • GTC

      Hi Florence, thank you! We are so enjoying that Stereo Cabinet makeover! Oh so true that my husband is ever patient, and ever suffering, lol! Thank you for coming by 🙂

  6. Diana Lopes

    Love it! Looks great! I’m not sure how common vinyl players are today but it still looks amazing.



  1. How to Make a Bench From A Dumpster Console - Redoux Interiors - […] To replace the Glass inserts in the Cabinet Doors, I turned to one of my favorite tricks for filling…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

DIY Paint Sold Here!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This