DIY Piano Dressing Table

Piano Dressing Table / Creative Storage Solutions

It took almost an entire year to bring this crazy idea of mine to fruition, but I have finally done it!  Despite my limited DIY skills, I have successfully transformed our antique piano into a bespoke dressing table for our bedroom!

Watch the video to get an in-depth look at our creative storage solution, find out how I keep everything organised in keeping with the KonMari Method, and discover the steps we took to take to transform an old piano into something special. 

Alternatively, read on for further information…

The piano used to be in our dining room, but neither Tim nor myself are particularly musical so it was simply a decorative piece.  Eventually, we removed the piano from the dining room to make space for an antique sideboard to hold our formal dinner service, and the piano ended up in the garage.

Being of no monetary or sentimental value, we initially advertised the piano online, trying to give it away for free.  We received no responses, and with so many other pianos available for free up and down the country, (and many in far better condition than ours), I started thinking of ways in which I could turn it into something useful. 

To begin with, I thought about converting the piano into a desk to use in my crafts room, but Tim actually bought me a large table to use in that room, so I finally decided that what I really needed was a dressing table for our bedroom, and I set about trying to make that idea a reality.

So, how did we do it? 

What steps did we take to transform our piano into a dressing table?

The first step was to remove all of the piano’s innards – everything that made it a musical instrument: the keys, wires, foot pedals, all of it.  At first, it was super easy to remove parts, but the deeper inside we got, the more difficult and time-consuming it became to remove it all. 

If you look at the inside workings of a piano, you will see there is a LOT going on in there – and by the way, I had never seen inside a piano before starting this project. 

Eventually we were left with just the shell of the piano and I painstakingly sanded down every inch, every nook and cranny.  The piano was originally covered in a mahogany veneer, but I didn’t want to keep this finish because that wasn’t the look I was going for. 
Next, I applied a mixture of two dark oak stains to all of the wood which would show. 
We then had to very carefully measure and cut different pieces of wood and MDF to create the shelf (behind the top panel), table surface, and a floor to the lower cupboard area.  We used parts from an old wardrobe which we had stored in one of the attics for just such a project. 

We cut the original lower panel of the piano into three pieces to create two cupboard doors, either side of a central post.

We actually used the piano hinge from the original piano lid to hang the cupboard doors, then added the handles and finally a couple of magnets to ensure the doors would stay closed. 

We actually used the piano hinge from the original piano lid to hang the cupboard doors, then added the handles and finally a couple of magnets to ensure the doors would stay closed. 

That same wardrobe also had a very large mirrored door, so I removed the mirror in its entirety from the door, and cut that into three pieces to form the three mirrors you see in the piano (I used a £3 glass cutting tool and copious amounts of olive oil).  I had never cut glass before, and it took a lot of failed attempts before I finally succeeded in cutting three sections to the right size. 

We had originally left intact the massive pieces of wood bracing the frame of the piano together at the back, however, we ultimately decided to remove all of them because they were so solid that the weight of the piano was still such that we never would have been able to carry it up the stairs!  It was very difficult removing them because there were absolutely enormous screws and nails hidden throughout, and we had to saw through the wood with great care.  It was a very slow process indeed. 

Having already stained all of the piano wood that would be on show, I decided that it was altogether too dark! To remedy this, I purchased some Rustoleum chalk paint in Antique White and applied that over the stained areas which I wanted to lighten.  Ultimately, I settled on the high contrast of the dark wood stain and the light chalk paint. 

piano dressing table in progress showing back wood beams have been removed
piano dressing table in progress showing new cupboards, table area and mirrors. Partially wood stained and partially chalk painted

We cut down the piano lid which used to sit over the keys to fit in between the shelf behind the mirrored section and the table.  Now, I could have added in pigeon holes, or drawers at the back of the table area, but I wanted to have as much open space as possible.

section of old piano lid "Elmore and Son, London" in original gold leaf

One of the final steps was strengthening the back of the piano by screwing in beading boards to replace the huge wooden beams we had removed.  We ran out of beading boards before we had reached the top so Tim added a piece of garden trellis to finish the job.

The very last thing we did was remove the fabric from the piano stool and replaced it with the same material as our bedding so that it would perfectly match the rest of the room.  It was not easy to hammer in the new brass studs, and I destroyed so many in the process that Tim actually ended up taking over and finishing this part for me!

piano stool featuring new fabric and brass studs

KonMari Method Beauty Products and Jewellery

If you have been following our story for a while then you are most likely already familiar with the fact that we are big fans of Marie Kondo’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  In her book, Marie Kondo suggests storing and organising similar things together, and that is what I have done here.

On the dressing table, I have three beautiful wooden boxes.  I have had these since I was a child, from back when my family lived in Damascus, Syria.  One box contains all of my nail products, another contains my watch when I am not wearing it, and the third box contains my makeup remover. 

On the left hand side of the lower cupboard, I keep all of my jewellery neatly organised in Stackers trays, plus a little vanity mirror.  In a tiny vintage suitcase I keep all of the spare or less frequently accessed toiletries for the whole house. 

On the right hand side, I keep my makeup train case, in which all of my makeup is stored, plus a basket full of my makeup brushes.

open right hand cupboard of piano dressing table, showing makeup train case and woven basket

And the piano stool itself no longer contains sheet music, but now holds all of my hair products.  Everything from brushes, to heat styling tools, with all of the little clips and hair elastics stored in a little zip lock bag.

hair products stored inside piano stool

So, in accordance with the rest of our home which is all in keeping with the KonMari Method, the surfaces are kept clutter-free, and everything is organised into subcategories, with like items all stored together.  

Personally, I prefer to keep things out of sight and out of the way.  I don’t wear makeup or jewellery every day, and I don’t like to leave things out on display.  I find it so easy to simply pull out my jewellery box or makeup, use whatever I need, and then put it all away.  This keeps everything neat, tidy and organised.  It also means it is super quick and easy to keep everything clean!

Does it spark joy?

Our piano is no longer a musical instrument, but now a fun and functional piece of furniture, which definitely sparks joy!

I love seeing and using the piano dressing table every day.  I love that I was able to create something unique, and personal to me.  It is exactly how I want it, it allows me to have things organised just as I like, and more than that, it is a physical representation of how perseverance can pay off even when you don’t really know what you’re doing!

bespoke dressing table created from antique piano

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