3 new tricks to teach old TV carts

tv cart
Two styles of vintage TV cart in their natural habitat, at the curb with a “free” sign

Historically speaking, as the size and shapes of televisions change, so do the size, shape and popularity of the furniture that holds them.

Working backwards from now: today’s flat screens go on the wall or on anything that’s got 12″ of depth. TVs have become like statement art–the focal point of a room.

The 1990s through 2000s bubble back TVs popularized big entertainment centers with compartments to hold the VCR or DVD players, video game systems, DVDs and VHS tapes and giant cable boxes. These originally expensive pieces of furniture are now readily available at charity shops, priced right to be reinvented into play kitchens or puppet theaters.

1960s and 1970s TVs  came in sizes from tiny portables to huge furniture consoles. In between the extremes was a modestly-sized set that came with a simple wheeled stand so it could be moved to get better reception from your rooftop antenna or your set-top rabbit ears.

1960s TV stands are often found lurking about at the back of basements (and yes, sometimes with the TV which hasn’t worked in 40 years still on it). TV stands are one of the things that get kept because “it might be useful.” Now that more boomers are downsizing, it’s pretty common to find an old TV stands being released into the wild, set “free” on the curb. 

What do you do with a useful piece of furniture that long outlived it’s original purpose? Not everyone can see the lovely in a metal frame with some wood or wood substitute shelves and plastic wheels. But they are kind of cool in an inexplicable way. A repurposing challenge if ever there was one. We scratched our creativity and came up with three ideas for making a little TV cart magic.

tv cart

The Craft Cart

As luck would have it, suitcases fit quite nicely on a 1960s TV cart. If you live in a small space and you don’t have room for a whole craft studio, you can make one with a couple of vintage suitcases and a TV cart.

An added benefit is that TV carts provide a way to stack shaped side suitcases, like hard-sided 1960s and 70s American Touristers. Shaped sides will slide off each other if they don’t have a structure to keep them in place.


The Recycle Cart

TV tables from the 1970s have two shelves but no high back handle. With their wheels to make them mobile, they can be used a little more versatilely than their 1960s predecessors. Solve your recycling storage challenges by adding some vintage gym baskets and using it as a mobile corral for your non-trash refuse.

tv cart recycling

Guest Room Hospitality Cart

If your guest room is also your office is also your yoga room, a vintage TV cart can make it a little more welcoming to your guests when filled with necessities (towels, extra pillows and extra blankets) and niceties (good reads, a nightlight and lotions).

What else could a TV cart become? Imagine adding some spray paint, some fabric, some pixie dust and some elbow grease…

Do you have a vintage TV cart in your life? What tasks does it do for you? We’d love to know!

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1 comment

  1. One of the things I love about VintageUnscripted is the creative imaginations of its members. This is fabulous! Sadly, I ditched an old TV cart just last week. Argh! Could definitely used it to put in my craft room. Thanks for posting, Laurie!

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