A common question I’m asked by readers is “how do I learn to repurpose items for my home?” It’s easy to forget that much of my decor began as once-forgotten thrift store castaways. I don’t have a perfect formula, but I can tell you that my process goes something like this: I have a blank space or a functional “need” in my house. I’m searching for a general size and shape to fit that space. I don’t look at color because I know that a color change is an easy fix. If it solves a problem – SOLD! If a table has great legs, she’s mine! If it’s a picture frame (or shaped like a picture frame), and is ornate or unique – it falls into my cart.
And then, of course, you’ll have to train your eye to see your existing items in a new light. Being resourceful is a skill – and once you develop that skill, you get better at doing it! So in this post, I’ll take you on a walk down memory lane and share 11 of my own repurposing projects and the thought behind each one. Be sure to visit my upcycling, furniture and craft galleries for more ideas!
How To Repurpose Anything
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When we updated our flooring and installed new Pergo, our old floor became the ultimate repurposing project! We salvaged the good boards and relocated them to a new space in our basement. It’s nice to still have a piece of our own history – just relocated to a different part of the house. What a money saver!
90’s CD Racks
It took me a minute to realize this was a CD rack, it really looked nice when compared to the modern-looking curvy CD racks I once owned. Now this rack is hanging on the wall in my kitchen. No special hacks needed. Here are other great ideas if you happen to find one as you’re out and about.
Old Cribs + Springs
I never thought that crib springs would end up on my wall (since it was actually the crib itself that I was saving). But recently I challenged myself to decorate a spare bedroom ONLY using stored items. It took two days of trial and error, but now I have pretty wall decor for my thrifted craft room. I found so many other crib repurposing ideas on Pinterest that I would have never thought of!
A hand-tied bunting is an easy DIY if you want to use up some extra fabric in your stash. This is great for the boho-chic look that is so popular now. At the time we were planning a wedding (buntings and weddings go hand-in-hand). I used it again for a mantel update, and now it’s in my craft room. Spark some creativity with more fabric project ideas.
Empty Picture Frames
transformed into four projects!
The possibilities are endless when you have a pretty, empty picture frame! I have great luck finding them in the clearance section at Michael’s – so many pretty options. I tend keep them for awhile until I grow tired of my old art, then I turn to Pinterest (as usual) for frame repurposing ideas and inspiration.
Here are four projects that I created based on one single Michael’s shopping outing.
Water Damaged Thrift Store Art
This repurpose was strictly about the size and style of the frame. (Sorry to all the art purists out there, but it is what it is!) I had been struggling to find the perfect size art for my mantel, and I loved the ornate texture. I kept it in the basement for awhile, then later displayed it in its original form. Eventually, I decided to lighten it up so there was a contrast against the darker stone, and I made it a little more farmhouse-y.
Broken Table from Craiglist
An obviously unloved table that had so much potential. I chose it because it was the perfect size for this exact space – and loved the shape of the legs. I gave it a winterizing treatment, and it solves a functional problem at our entryway. It gives me a place to set things that I’m carrying in the house while I’m unlocking our front door. But we call it a potting bench 🙂 See the original tutorial here.
Saving My Favorite Chair
my first reupholstery project
This brown chair dates back to 1999. I held both of my babies in this chair – it’s my “mom chair” and couldn’t part with it. In 2012, I tried to replace it and searched high and low for something similar. But the nostalgia and the shape of the chair ultimately won. I finally gave in and decided to try reupholstery for the first time – which I recommend everyone try…ahem… at least once in their lifetime. My reupholstery tutorial can be found here.
End Tables, Updated
The orangey end tables caught my eye, mostly because of the price but they are SO functional. So I lightened them up to match my decor (at the time. I’ve since sold both of these tables). Both had a great set of legs, too! Notice a theme here? Size. Shape. Great legs? All essential ingredients to a great repurposing project. 🙂 The Paris table tutorial can be found here.
Old Fiberglass Skis
These fiberglass skis weren’t quite as pretty as they could be — until I make them look like antique, wooden skis that I kept seeing in my favorite catalogs. I love this look in my winter front porch display. The tutorial can be found here. I stumbled upon an inspiration photo when I was browsing the Pottery Barn catalog, and the rest was history.
Coffered Ceiling Tiles
Say you have 25 unused coffered ceiling tiles.
Or maybe you impulse purchased them for $1.00 each at a ReStore and couldn’t figure out what to do with them. If you’re stumped on what to use an item for, post the “before” photo on Facebook and ask your friends for ideas. I’m sure you have some really honest friends out there who would have a lot of fun with it! Which will come in very handy at times like this.
So then what? My advice is to challenge yourself by shopping your storage area. Then, start clicking through Pinterest. Follow my “form and function” formula I mentioned above. Then prepare to paint, upholster or try something entirely unique. I promise – once you have a pretty and functional item that YOU created, you’ll be a repurposing junkie like the rest of us. It’s so fun! My initial vision isn’t always perfectly clear, but I always turn to Pinterest for inspiration. Hands down, Pinterest gets the “win” for cultivating the best ideas for repurposing, and you can always adapt an idea to fit your style needs for your own home.
What repurpose projects have you done that you are the most proud of? Please share, I’d love to see!