With a little imagination, the possibilities for upcycling are endless. Next time you’re browsing through treasures at a garage sale, thrift store or estate sale, look at things in a fresh way. For example, a scuffed table may not excite you, but what if you painted it and cut the legs down? Ta-da! You’d have a new coffee table. If you turned an item upside down, what could you do with it? Could those vintage glass bottles be repurposed as a chandelier?
Some of the more popular upcycling materials are wooden pallets and reclaimed timber. Pallets are in demand right now and hard to come by. If you’re lucky, you may be able to get them for free at retail outlets, construction sites, hotels or on Craigslist. Pallets are easy to transport, cheap and versatile. For example, they can be repurposed as shelving, bases for furniture, picture frames, headboards and more. Reclaimed timber, the wood salvaged from old floorboards, doors, fences and more, is another favorite. Its natural beauty makes it an excellent choice for furniture and shelving, but it can also turn an entire wall into a beautiful work of art.
Simple ways to change everyday items into practical, attractive pieces:
1. Transform a wooden ladder into a bookshelf by turning it on its side and filling it with your favorite books or accessories. A weathered ladder is a perfect fit for shabby-chic décor. Or paint it a bright color for a fun, contemporary look.
2. Need a nightstand? Save money by stacking vintage suitcases on top of each other. They don’t have to match. Buy a glass top to help protect the surface and add stability for heavier items like lamps.
3. Change an old door into a vintage-looking headboard. Or, add legs to the door and use it as a workbench or a potting bench.
4. Turn old shutters into an office bulletin board to hold your folders and notes. Also, use it to display your photos.
5. Repurpose an old dresser by painting it and adding a sink to create a one-of-a-kind bathroom vanity.
6. Cut a hole in an old chair to display a potted plant in an unexpected way.
7. Tin ceiling tiles are works of art! Use them to create amazing headboards, as trim on a kitchen island, as a frame for mirrors and more, more, more!
8. Paint an old armoire and use it as a linen closet. Wallpaper or apply contact paper to the back panel to create a dramatic effect when the doors are open.
Before you start a project, think about how much time you’re willing to invest in completing it. Also, think about the kind of tools you’ll need to get the job done. If you have to buy saws, sanders, drills and special tools, your inexpensive project can quickly become pricey. Have fun, and when you’re finished, you’ll have something special to add to your décor.
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