Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Repurposed End Table (#FrugalTips)

Seems like there was this time period that lasted a couple of years during which anytime anyone had some extra thing for which they were seeking a new home, that thing would find its way into my house.  Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I never said no.  I ended up with a lot of interesting stuff
My daughters were pretty passionate about fish keeping during this time (especially Big Little Sister who wanted to be a Marine Biologist), and one of the gifted items during the period was a lovely hexagonal fish tank with a wooden base. 
At one time, Big Little Sister had three fish tanks in her room.  Little Fire Faery had one.  They loved fish.  Big Little Sister spent countless hours researching tropical breeds and their habitat requirements.  So, we had this tank, but from her research, she realized that it wouldn't work for any of the fish she wanted to own.  It was too deep and too small for the shallow-water, wide-range fish she wanted.  We never set-up the tank in our house.
Instead, we offered it to a friend who was starting a new business - for his waiting area - but he moved offices and didn't need it in his new space.  So, it sat at our house, while we tried to figure out what to do with it.  Then, in a freak accident - too common here at Chez Brown - the tank bottom shattered.  We had to discard it. 
But we kept the base.  Because it was a fish tank base, it didn't have a top or bottom.  The "cabinet" is really just ornamental.  Some small things could fit inside, like a filter, but it's bottomless, so whatever is stored in there sits directly on the ground.  There are no shelves.  Essentially, it's a stop-sign shaped wooden tube. 
I didn't know what to do with it.  We moved it around from place to place, room to room, corner to corner.  It was, kind of, in the way.  We couldn't use it as a table, because it had no top, and I just kept looking at it and thinking I needed to get rid of it or figure out a way to use it.  
Then, somehow, we ended up with this piece of scrap plywood.  I have no idea where it came from - some silly project leftover, I'm sure.  But there it was.  This heavy, unfinished, rough, square piece of plywood.  It fit on the top.  Not evenly, of course (nothing's ever that simple, is it?).  I looked at it for a couple of months, with that piece of plywood on it, knowing that it could work as an end table.  It would just require some modifications.
So, I held the plywood in place, and traced the shape of the base into it.  Then, I asked Deus Ex Machina to cut it for me.  I sanded it, painted it black, and using finishing nails and wood glue, I affixed it to the top of the fish tank base.
Et voila!  It's an end table with some tiny storage.  We have ski boots in the storage space.  It fits nicely next to the door-side of our couch.
I'm not one of those Pinterest people.  I'm not terribly creative or skilled at furniture refinishing, and I'm not entirely sure that I like the way it looks, but it works for the purpose I have given it. 
Better, though, was that I took something that was really just clutter and turned it into something usable.  It's a really nice feeling. 


Also, when I was young and poor, I wish I'd had the ability to do things like this ... instead of heading over to the furniture store and financing a bunch of pretty, new, shiny stuff I couldn't afford.  This project cost about $5 for paint.  The rest was free.

Not bad for this born-again Frugalista.


  1. Well done you. Clever girl.
    I love it. Frugal and Eco friendly. Can't do better than that