Having a central place store all my beer has been something I’ve wanted and needed for a while. It used to be scattered in separate locations… a couple shelves in the pantry, the floor of the pantry and small piece of furniture that we used to use as a china cabinet. I had been looking for a bigger china cabinet to use so it could all be stored in one place. However, that wasn’t going to work because.. #1 they are expensive and I’m cheap and #2 most of the china cabinets I looked at didn’t have tall enough shelves for bombers. Then my wife had a genius idea. She knew that her parents had an old armoire sitting in their garage that used to store their big tube TV (the kind they don’t make anymore). She had seen several ideas on Pinterest about how to re-purpose armoires into craft closets, computer offices, diaper changing centers and all sorts of other useful things, so why not a beer cellar? Here was my opportunity to get a nice piece of furniture, put a little work into it, save a ton of money and finally have a place to fit all of my beer. Before we get into it… I want to give huge shout to my in-laws for letting us have the armoire and hauling it up here, my father-in-law for all of his help installing the shelves, and also my mother-in-law and wife for staining the shelves.
So here are my VERY easy steps on how to turn your old useless tv armoire into your very own beer “cellar.”
1. Acquire the Right Piece of Furniture
For me it involved waiting for my in-laws to visit and bring the armoire in the van they borrowed. I think you could easily find something similar on Craigslist or at a second-hand furniture store for relatively cheap, because as we already discussed, these things are fairly useless these days. You will want to make sure that it is large enough to hold everything you have. So depending on how much you need to store will dictate how big it needs to be.
2. Figure out the Dimensions
Take measurements of the inside space so that you know how many shelves you can fit, what size the shelves need to be, how much clearance there is and all that fun stuff. I knew that I had a lot more bombers than 12oz beer bottles, so I made sure I would have room for two shelves for the larger bottles, and then one or smaller bottles.
3. Get the Necessary Materials
Here are the things you will need. The first 4 items I bought at Lowe’s for less than $100. The rest I already had sitting around my house.
- Wood for the 2 Shelves – I bought one large piece of wood and had Lowe’s cut it down to the size I needed.
- Shelf Standards – For our armoire, we purchased 3 6-foot standards which we cut in half, so we ended up with 6 3-foot strips. If your armoire is not that deep, 2 shelf standards on each side would be sufficient. Our armoire is pretty deep, so we installed three on each side to provide adequate support for the shelves.
- The Hardware to Install the Standards – The shelf standard hardware is available at Lowe’s with the shelf standards. Clear plastic bags contain screws for mounting the standards to the wood and shelf support clips which can be placed at the desired height.
- A Hacksaw – You only need a hacksaw if you have to cut the shelf standards. You might be able to purchase shorter standards.
- Wood Stain/Paint & Paintbrush (optional) – If you want your wooden shelves to match your armoire you should buy a similar wood stain or paint color
- Power Drill – You will need this to install the standards.
- Screwdriver – You will need this to install the standards.
4. Install Shelf Standards
If the standards you purchased are too long, cut you shelf standards to your desired height with the hacksaw. We put three standards on each side to give maximum support because I knew there was going to be quite a bit of weight on each shelf. In installing the standards, you need to take care that all the clip holes will be level. Since each strip was identical, I measured the same distance from the floor of the TV section up to the first screw hole. I think I used 2 or 3 inches. When I screwed in the standards, they were all at the same height from the floor of the TV section and, when the clips were put in, the shelves resting on the clips were all level both from front to back and from side to side. The last thing you want is lopsided shelves and to have your beer come toppling down.
5. Stain the Shelves (Optional)
This was actually somewhat of an afterthought for us but we already had some stain on hand from a previous project so we figured “why not?” While not necessary, I think staining the shelves really does make it look like a completed “piece.” Don’t forget to wait for your stained shelves to dry before putting them in. Ideally you can have someone else work on staining the shelves while you install the shelf standards.
6. Install The Shelf Clips & Lay the Shelves in Place
Measure out how tall you want each shelf to be and place your shelf clips at the appropriate place. One nice thing about the shelf standards is that if you change you mind and want to move your shelves around later it’s very easy to do.
7. Get That Beer Organized and in its New Home
This was the most fun part for me. I took all the beer that had been previously scattered all around and put in on the counters/floor in the kitchen and decided how I was going to arrange it. It was a lot harder and stressful than I thought it was going to be. Previously, the shelves I had been using were deep enough for maybe 3-5 bottles. That meant that it wasn’t too hard to get to the ones in back. My new shelves are 6-8 bottles deep, so you really have to remember what’s in the back otherwise it may get lost in there forever. I know there are some apps out there to help keep track on what’s in your cellar so I may get to the point of needing to use one of those.
8. Make Sure it’s Stable
Once you get all that weight on the shelves, make sure they aren’t sagging in the middle. If they are, get some sort of brace or support that you can either mount to the back of the unit (we didn’t have that luxury since there was a hole cut out the back for where the tv used to sit), or something you can run in the middle of the board. We got pretty thick wood, so there is no sagging to speak of as of now, but over time, that could change. The first two nights after we installed the shelves, I had dreams that the shelves collapsed, destroying all of my beer… so if these nightmares continue, I might add some extra support just for piece of mind.
I know this post was a little bit different than what I usually write about and probably doesn’t apply to as many of you, but thought it could be useful to some. For those that have used it as a guide to create your own beer storage… I hope it was helpful.