Library card catalogs are a thing of the past, but they’re actually making a comeback when it comes to eclectic home décor. One YouTube creator, Refresh Living, found an old card catalog in a garage at an estate sale. Instead of passing it by, she decided to give it a brand-new life. The transformation is absolutely beautiful, and she managed to turn an old relic into something unique, beautiful, and functional.
Watch this incredible transformation here:
How this was done – steps
First, she took the piece and removed all the drawers. She said it was dirty and missing the legs and top, but she just knew she’d be able to give it a brand-new lease on life. After she took all of the brass hardware off, she cleaned it using ketchup (I never knew this was a thing you could do!).
She also removed a plank of wood that was being used as the top. The card catalog was made of oak wood, so she decided to start fresh by stripping the old finish off of the entire piece. Once the finish was removed, she took an electric sander and gently sanded everything down to a nice, smooth finish.
Sanding old furniture down to the original wood is one of the best ways to remove any original color as well as leftover gunk so that you have a fresh surface to start with. Next, she considered adding a whitewashed finish to the piece but went against it.
Instead, she chose a gorgeous natural oil-based stain that would preserve its original aesthetic. As for the top, she originally wanted to replace it with a piece of oak, but it turned out that oak was too expensive, so she just found a leftover piece of wood she found in her garage and painted it a deep black color.
She added some tall black metal hairpin legs to the bottom of the piece. This gives it a new look and new functionality since it’s now a taller table rather than a short, squat card catalog. I love this idea! It definitely gives it a mid-century modern touch in my opinion.
Once the legs were attached, she put the drawers back in, re-attached the clean hardware, and everything was complete. This old, dusty, and dirty vintage card catalog now looks like something you’d find in a high-end furniture store.
A lot of people chimed in about this DIY project, including viewer Joshua Baker: “That is a beautiful refurb, would look great in any office space.”
I agree that this little piece would definitely be an awesome addition to a home office!
Another viewer also loved the transformation. Janet Williams said, “Great job. I’m a librarian and we have a bunch of these old card catalogs sitting in our storage room. You’ve inspired me to get our maintenance crew to redo a couple of these.”
This video just proves that you don’t have to be a professional furniture restorer to breathe new life into an old piece. I absolutely love her choice of the black wood top and the matching black metal hairpin legs.
Combined with the sleek brass hardware and the warm finish, this old card catalog is now a stunning piece that you could easily enjoy in any room of your home. You could use it for jewelry, small kitchen items, or even arts and crafts items. The possibilities really are endless, and now I am totally inspired to head out to a local estate sale myself.