Play it again: from piano to piano bar

Joan Fieldstone

November 20, 2013

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: Interior Design

I don't want to be the one to tell my BFF, but she should do something about the antique upright piano taking up valuable wall space in her living room. She doesn't want it anymore, but she doesn't seem to know what to do with it either, except post it for sale from time to time.

Upright piano

BFF has a thing for old Victorian pianos -- all of which have turned out not to be the great musical instruments she had hoped they would be. It's sad to watch her spend money and go out of her way to bring these behemoths home, only to take them apart and find them flawed. It's such a chore to get rid of them.

A piano, after all doesn't just follow you home like a cat -- which she also has a soft spot for, but that's a whole different subject. A piano costs a lot of money and muscle to move -- and then move out. This latest one has not had any buyers, even at the rock bottom price of $200 on Craigslist, probably because it would cost that or much more for the buyer to transport it.


After reading an article on upcycling I learned that there are more ways to repurpose a piano than skin a -- never mind. Suffice it to say that this once-coveted, but now-useless piano could be turned into something that retains its lovely Victorian essence but puts it to better use than it does as a giant scratching post for her kitties.

Frankly, there appear to be so many great ways to make use of an old piano that I don't even know which to suggest to her. My personal favorite is as a garden planter and/or fountain, but that's impractical for the size of her yard, which isn't much bigger than the piano itself. I even saw a picture of an old piano turned into a sculpture and resurfaced in mosaic tile!

Most of the other DIY piano repurposing projects I have found online fall into one of the following categories:

  • Bar
  • Desk/workstation
  • Shelving/open storage

Given that BFF is handy and often works with tools, turning it into a tool bench would be practical, but that would destroy the elegance of such a lovely furnishing. Pegboard and burled wood just don't seem compatible.

A desk is very useful and would allow the piano to retain its decorative beauty, but after reading one DIYer's journal of how it took a week to turn his piano into a desk, I think given her lack of free time it would probably be years before she'd have a functional workstation instead of a pile of parts in her living room.

Of the open shelving and storage projects, most were fashioned out of grand or baby grand pianos. (Thankfully, she doesn't have something that large to contend with.) So by the process of elimination, a bar with Victorian styling would have to be my recommended upcycled piano project for BFF. Just pull out the guts and voilá.

Inside upright piano

She might even be tempted to enclose a state-of-the-art sound system in the bowels of the bar and look forward to impressing her guests as she mixes her innovative drinks and tells a detailed story of her piano's transformation.

I can hear the chatter of cocktail conversation and tinkle of ice cubes already. Now to convince her. Bottoms up!


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