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New Uses for Old Items Makes Unique Home Decor

Repurposing when Decorating is Easy on a Budget


New Uses for Old Items Makes Unique Home Decor

Use an old glass to make a beautiful tiny terrarium.

Photo © David Grist/Gardener's Supply

If you are as frugal as me, you are already using both sides of your printer paper and sweeper cloths, you find it almost impossible to throw away scraps of paper or fabric, and your neck swivels every time you drive past construction debris piled up by the side of the road for pickup.

But hoarders, beware. I don’t advocate saving something without putting it to good use. The good news for savers is that it’s easy and economical to put most of our everyday or scrap items to work in jazzing up our homes and workspaces.

And with a little creative thinking and a whole lot of fun, things that once would have found their way into landfills are still finding purpose in our homes, albeit in a new (and sometimes improved) way. This not only good news for us frugal folks, it is also good news for our earth!

Below are a few ideas to get you started. Of course, I’d love to hear how you repurposed some of your everyday items into fabulous home décor. Isn’t it wonderful how reducing, reusing and recycling can help make our homes (and our earth) look fantastic?

Building Materials
Oh, how I love old building materials! And oftentimes the more used or weathered they are, the better they look (and the better they are for our world).
  • Stencil old bricks with a traditional or retro design to make the perfect bookends for your collection.
  • Drill out holes in bricks to make a unique candle holder or a handy niche for a small plant or cactus.
  • Old louvered panel doors or shutters are easily transformed into shelves; just add brackets. Or paint, add nails or pegs and mount on a wall to use for a cool craft or accessory organizer.
Fabric, Paper, Ribbon or Buttons
Even if you don’t sew or scrapbook, these leftovers have endless uses.
  • Use your leftover papers and fabrics to wrap small gifts or wine bottles, to dress up a table with place cards or napkin rings, or to cover books. (Keeps what you are reading a secret. Great for travel guides and cheesy romance novels!)
  • Reuse your ribbon and buttons to revive an old shade, pillow or curtain using nothing more than a glue gun or fabric glue.
  • Buttons make nifty end caps for plain wall pegs, or use them to cover screw holes in bookshelves or line them along a shelf edge for a decorative finish.
Bathroom Items
What a wealth of goodies a bathroom holds! If you’ve recently remodeled your bath, I’ve got some great ideas for your old fixtures and items.
  • Old towel racks make great additions to closets. Drape with ties or scarves, or add shower curtain rings to hang accessories.
  • In the laundry room or workshop, pump-spray cleaners and cleaning rags hang perfectly from towel racks, and so do hammers and other tools.
  • Since it’s designed to withstand heat and humidity, a towel rack makes a great outdoor dowel for hanging potted herbs. While you’re at it, drop your old toothbrush holder into a large vase and use as a flower frog.
  • I once used an old, rusted bathroom trashcan as a patio planter. As it weathered, I got way more compliments on it than I ever did on a piece of store-bought pottery. Combine it with the tips above, then pour yourself a cool drink and enjoy your newly transformed patio.
Other Household Items
The sky is the limit when it comes to repurposing household decor and goods.
  • Glass vases or chipped drink glasses can be transformed into beautiful tiny terrariums to give as gifts or to keep for yourself.
  • Old magnets can be stitched into potholders to hang in easy reach from any metal surface in your kitchen, or stick them inside the medicine cabinet to keep tweezers, clippers or other small items at hand.
  • I use pillar candleholders throughout my space as change collectors, plant stands, jewelry organizers and coasters. On occasion, I even use them as, um, candleholders.
Look around your home and neighborhood for unused or discarded items, and get inspired. Great decorating is only a reuse away!
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