Repurposing Treasures

Re-purposing items is a hot thing to do right now. Taking an old chair and re-purposing it into an end table or a bench or even a headboard are new ways to think of old stuff and giving it new life. You can find things to re-purpose, up-cycle, recycle, reuse and recreate in your attic or basement. You can go to Flea Markets and Yard Sales and load up your truck with broken down, ugly pieces and take them home, fix them, paint them, move a leg here and an arm there and come out with the most incredible piece you have seen. These can be used as garden art, or new home decor, on patios or on walls. They can be lighting, furniture, accessories, art and dishware. Re-purposing is a very exciting, creative and innovative way of looking at something old in a brand new way.

Ideas abound in the world of Re-purposing. Here are a few that we felt were interesting and unique.

Headboards are very easy to find. So many times when someone moves, they throw out their faux brass headboard. You can pick them off the garbage pile. You can take it home, clean it up, spray paint it bright purple and use that as YOUR board. Or, you can find a set of window shutters. They make wonderful headboards whether left shabby chic or sanded down, bolted together and leaning against the wall painted gold. Old doors, a fireplace mantel, a section of a chain link fence or a tall wooden fence all make unusual and good looking boards. An old quilt hung on the wall behind the bed takes the place of a headboard. A plain piece of raw plywood looks great in a bedroom that has natural decor. A giant painting hanging on the wall or a large mirror give highlights to the bed area. And pillows nailed to the wall can give a soft and fluffy impression.

Table lamps are fun to create using odd pieces of this and that. Lamps can make a statement in a room and it can be a centerpiece by way of its design. They are decorative pieces that can be classified as art. You just need some wiring and a socket and you can create a lamp. Clean out a colorful laundry soap jug. Put a socket inside and use it as a glowing night light in a children’s room. Use an old vase for a lamp by cutting a hole in the bottom for a wire and place a socket in the top. Use a clip on shade and you have created a one of a kind piece of art. Things from Flea Markets such as an old violin, a meat grinder or a kerosene lamp can be converted to interesting room lighting. An architectural fragment or a tiny suitcase, a whisky bottle and a basket are all great bases for lamps.

Canning jars such as Mason, Bell, and Ball are easy to find and can be recycled into a million different uses. The most logical is to store nuts and bolts and small oddities from the workshop. But they can be filled with bright colored bulbs for primitive Christmas decor. They can be a flower vase or a pasta storage jar.They can be used in the bathroom full of q-tips and bath salts or in the kitchen for dried beans and snacks. You can cut a canning jar and make them into chandeliers. They are fantastic in the craft room to hold everything from spools of thread to pins and needles, tape and beads.

Fabric is everywhere and is perfect for recycle, reuse and re-purpose. Reinventing clothing is very popular. Taking a sleeve from one shirt and putting it on another or using a pocket from a pair of jeans and putting it on that shirt are interesting ways of making something new. Creating mittens from sweaters found at a thrift shop or a purse made from a leather jacket are great ways to keep unwanted fabric from a waste dump. Do a Scarlet O’Hara and make old drapes into chair covers or place-mats. Shower curtains just need 3 yards of vintage tablecloth to look incredible. Bedspreads can be remade into pillows. Tea-towels make great aprons or lampshades. And socks can be re-purposed into a Barbie doll dress!!

My local thrift store has more TV centers than the local furniture store! As televisions have gotten larger and now hang on the wall, large TV centers are no longer needed. But, before they end up in a landfill, they can be re-purposed into storage units in every room in the house, garage and studio. Paint one bright purple with lime green dots and use it to house all the toys, books and leggos in the kids playroom. Use one in your kitchen as a pantry, pots and pans storage and cookbook display. The TV room can still get mileage out of a center with it displaying trophies and awards, picture albums and DVD collection. Even the garage can use an old TV center. Load up plastic bins in different colors with nuts, bolts, screws and nails and display for easy access on the shelves. Larger tools can be put in the bottom cupboards.

Pot racks are popular kitchen decor and can be rather expensive. So finding something clever at a flea market for a pot rack can be fun. Look for an old sled that can be turned upside down and hung from the ceiling. Use a section of a chain link fence, a wooden ladder, the head of a straight rake or a really cool thick stick for hanging your pots and pans. You just need a sturdy piece of anything that looks interesting, hang it from the ceiling or mount it on the wall.

Bookcases are needed in every home to use in every room. More than books appear on these cases and they are staples to any decor. But, if you think outside of the box, you can create bookcases that are the center of attention. Stacked milk crates, boards with cinder blocks, tables piled on top of each other and ladders with boards are all ideas that are a bit unusual. Rebuilt pallets can be cut down and made into stackable bookcases as well as old drawers from a chest. Suitcases that are screwed to the wall and opened make great shelves for lighter books like paperbacks. And a pegboard attached to a wall with square shelf supports and a board on top will give you a way to design your own shelf system.

Old windows are in abundance in junk yards, recycle stores and in thrift shops. They are also very popular in home decor. They are being used as room dividers, pot racks, a coat rack and as a base for a painting of a countryside. There have even been some very unique”she caves” that have been built using only recycled windows.

Wherever you go, there are always things that are being thrown away. All it takes is a bit of imagination, creative thinking and some work to take that forlorn throw-away piece and turn it into a brand new, ultra chic piece of art!

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