How to Convert an Entertainment Center Into a Bar

Sandra Rousseau

If, like so many other TV watchers, you've replaced your old tube TV with a shiny new flat screen, you may have an obsolete entertainment armoire sitting around your house. If you're not quite ready to part with the armoire, but if you're unsure of just how to put it to good use, consider converting it into a bar. Because TV armoires are already outfitted with plenty of handy drawers, shelves and cubbies, the conversion amounts to a few basic additions. A handy do-it-yourselfer can complete it in an afternoon.

Step 1

Clear out your armoire of all its contents and give it a thorough cleaning and dusting. Move it to its permanent new spot.

Step 2

Hang wine stem holders on the underside of the VCR shelf. The VCR shelf is the top shelf within the armoire's main cavity. Most wine stem holders simply install with screws; follow the instructions for your specific model. When choosing your wine stem holder, make sure to purchase the type that installs under a shelf and holds wine glasses by their feet, hanging them upside down.

Step 3

Place the wine refrigerator on one of the lower shelves, or in a cubby if it will fit. Ideally, the refrigerator should go on one of the lower shelves or cabinets, so that the main cavity of the armoire can to hold bottles of liquor. If there is no hole on the back panel so the refrigerator's cord and plug can access a wall outlet, make one using a box cutter or other sharp tool. Once the refrigerator is in place, the hole will not be visible.

Step 4

Place a large, framed mirror on the main shelf and lean it against the back of the armoire. Use as large a mirror as possible. One with an ornate frame adds beautiful detail. To keep the mirror from shifting out of place, place two small self-stick silicone bumpers on the shelf directly in front of the mirror. Place one one toward the right side of the mirror and one toward the left. While the mirror is technically optional, it gives the armoire a true bar ambiance, and reflects additional light into the armoire's main cavity.

Step 5

Place a small table lamp in one of the back corners of the main shelf. A buffet lamp or other slender lamp with a pretty, slender shade is a good option, as is a lamp that is taller than your liquor bottles. Just as the refrigerator needs access to a wall outlet, so does the lamp. Depending upon how your armoire is made, you may be able to use the same hole for the lamp as you used for the refrigerator. If there is no hole to access the wall outlet, cut one behind the mirror, where it will not show. The light from the lamp will cast a warm glow, reflect off the mirror and the bottles and glassware, and help make the contents of your bar more visible.

Step 6

Fill the drawers. If your armoire doesn't have drawers, small baskets or bins places in the cubbies and on the shelves are a very workable alternative. Dedicate one drawer to bar tools such as wine openers, bottle openers, a small cutting board, a small knife and swizzle sticks. Dedicate another drawer to linens -- for example, cloth napkins, a few dish towels and perhaps a pretty apron. Other items that might come in handy include margarita salt, wineglass charms, measuring cups, measuring spoons, coasters, and a small bowl and tongs for garnishes.

Step 7

Put the glassware in place. Place highball and martini glasses in rows on the VCR shelf. Tall pilsner glasses may need to be stored on one of the shelves with more clearance. Hang wineglasses by their feet in the stem holders under the VCR shelf.

Step 8

Put shelf risers in place on the main shelf, and place liquor bottles on the risers. Risers raise the bottles in back, giving you a better view. Place taller bottles and unopened bottles toward the back, and bottles that are shorter or have been opened toward the front.