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4 Upcycled Piano Ideas You Can DIY | Architectural Digest


Although pianos were once a symbol of wealth or upward mobility, they’re rarely considered a must-have item in the American home. Now, secondhand online marketplaces are littered with innumerable free or cheap pianos, often in need of desperate retuning or repairs. The cost to move and maintain the instrument seems to leave few interested takers. Many of these black-keyed giants end up destined for the junkyard.

“Every now and again, I’d be driving by neighborhoods and just see abandoned pianos,” says Jackie Diercks, a crafter, in Kansas City, Missouri. Diercks has been reimagining what to do with broken-down pianos for the past decade, and has been officially tinkering with them for about six years. She also repurposes individual components from the worn out instruments. Piano keys in particular are an especially popular, highly recognizable elements that work well as ornaments, miniature art pieces and even house key racks.

In Portland, Oregon, Chris Marchini and his husband also noticed the unwanted pianos around the city. “I see them a lot on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace or just on the side of the road,” Marchini says. “These huge, heavy instruments take up so much space and people can’t afford [to give up] that space anymore.”

Yet pianos can have a new lease on life. Creative refurbishers, like Diercks and Marchini, have converted old pianos into inventive furniture and tchotchke ornaments—and they encourage you to play around with the grand instrument, too. “Think about [an heirloom piano] like an old car,” Diercks says. “Unless that car is meticulously cared for, it’s going to break down and has to be scrapped.” 

To disassemble and upcycle a piano that won’t be giving concerts anytime soon all you need is a few basic tools and a new coat of paint. “You’d be surprised what you can do with Phillips-head [screwdriver] and a flat-head screwdriver,” Diercks says.

Check out these four creative ways to upcycle a piano and give it a new life.

Piano as a book shelf

Jackie Diercks keys up a new shelving unit.

Photo: Jackie Diercks 


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