20 Easy And Creative Ways Of Repurposing Old Household Items

Have you ever wondered what to do with that scarf, or that dressing screen? Well, with a little creativity, you now have a table runner and a headboard. You'd be surprised what you can do with items found in your own home. Re-purposing is a great way to not only use what you already have, but to use that same item in a different way.

Before you head out to the nearest store, take a look around your home, this includes your attic and garage. Here are a few ways you can use what you got.

Dresser with beaded and sheer curtain backdrop. Accents include a scarf as a runner, candles, vases, and collection pieces.
Dresser with beaded and sheer curtain backdrop. Accents include a scarf as a runner, candles, vases, and collection pieces. | Source
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Table Runner - A long scarf works great. I couldn't find a table runner that I liked, but realized I had a scarf that went great with my décor. The scarf looked great around my neck too, but once I put it on the table...let's just say I haven't bought a table runner since.

Dressing Screens - If you don't have a headboard, dressing screens are excellent as an accent behind your bed. When spread out flat, many are perfect for a full size bed. Drape fabric (or not) across the top and down one or both sides for a soft look.

Wall Accents - Trays and baskets are great for wall décor and lend a nice touch to other room accents. Use picture hanging hardware.

Area Rugs - Patio Rugs are as ideal in the home as well as outdoors. They look great under coffee tables, or even as wall accents. Picture hanging hardware can be used for hanging a patio rug from a wall. Well...that's what I use.

Beaded Curtain - These are not just for entry ways and windows. Beaded curtains look great on walls, or behind a dresser. Use accent rods or screw in hooks to hang.

Table Covers - Shawls and blankets are a great way to dress up a dining room or accent table.

Utility Shelves - These can double as bookshelves when moved to another room. The rustic look of the utility shelf can add charm to a room. Use shelf brackets, and drill in wall studs. Wall anchors may be needed.

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Painting - This tip isn't a Use What You Got tip, but is ideal for anyone who needs/wants to re-paint. This requires patience and sometimes several trips to your local Hardware Store. Many stores sell paint that has been mixed and the color just doesn't quite satisfy the customer. This paint is then sold at a fraction of the cost; for as little as $5.00 a gallon in some places. My entire house is painted from this kind of paint (except when I use white). You are likely to find paint colors that suit your color scheme, and you will save a lot of money in the process.

Dressers - Get that dresser out of your bedroom! Dressers are great furniture that can be used in any room, and used for anything, from linen, to dishes, to small household items.

China Cabinets - Everyone doesn't have china. I know I don't. Display your favorite items, relics, vases, pictures (in frames). Use items that match the décor and color scheme of your room. A China Cabinet can be placed anywhere in your home. Mine is in the living room, and...it looks awesome!

Pictures - Do you have a lot of pictures, but nowhere to hang them? Who said all pictures have to be eye level? Choose a grouping (layout), and if you have a spare wall, hang pictures in an arrangement that's no higher than a door, entryway or window, and just above the baseboard. Use picture hanging hardware.

Comforters- That old comforter just won't do...well not for you anymore. Use it for your doggie bed. Just tuck, fold and voila...your pup has new digs....well kinda new! I could never find a doggie bed or cover that I liked, so I used one of my own that matched my décor. Now we're both sleeping in style...teehee!


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Chair and Sofa Covers- Sheets, bed throws and even shams are excellent. For a sofa, use a king size bed throw and tuck as needed. If the throw doesn't quite cover the sides, use matching shams.

Carefully pin the shams, so that the pins are inside and won't stick anyone while they're seated. I did this to my living room sofa, and it actually looks like a store bought cover.

For side chairs, sheets made of cotton jersey knit is ideal, because it gives. Cover the chair, tuck where needed and simply tie the remaining fabric in a knot behind the chair. A knot you say? Don't be alarmed, it looks great! This may take a few tries to get the knot to hang taut, and towards the bottom of the chair.

Accent Pillows - If you're handy with a sewing machine, and needle and thread; basic sewing is the only requirement here. Old blankets, shirts, quilts comforters, sheets, anything, I tell ya', any type of material can be used here! Just measure the surface of the pillow, add no less than a 1/2 inch to each side for the seam. Use the measurements to cut your fabric, and sew all sides (outsides facing), leaving one side, or no less than half open (turn inside out), insert the pillow, and hand stitch the remaining opening in short stitch lengths.

Seat Covers- Don't throw those drapes away! If you have a chair with a fabric seat, drapes are ideal, because the fabric is durable. This kind of material can stand up to spills and...uhm messy eaters.

  • Measure the surface of the seat, and add no less than 4" for each side. This much extra width is necessary to pull the fabric taut around the seat (the height of the cushion is also considered).
  • Turn the chair upside down and remove screws that are holding the seat in place. Use a flathead screwdriver to remove the staples and take off the old fabric (the seat can also be covered without removing the old fabric - just follow all other steps ).
  • Place the seat (seat side down) on the inside of the drape. Make sure that the seat is centered on the fabric and staple on one side. Pull the opposite side and staple. Staple the other two opposite sides. Be sure to check the positioning of the fabric each time before you staple, and make sure that the fabric is smooth and taut.
  • Gather the fabric (small folds) at each corner and staple in place, then trim any excess bulky fabric away. Now staple the fabric again, no less than 1" apart around the entire seat. Replace the seat to the chair and secure with screws.
  • Be sure to check your work repeatedly. You'll need to flip the seat over several times to ensure that the fabric is smooth and taut.
  • Scissors, a measuring tape, a screwdriver (phillips and flathead), a pencil, an upholstery gun and of course fabric are needed to complete this project. There are many other ways to replace seat covers, but this is how I do it, and it works beautifully...for me.

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Bed Tables - Don't have bedside tables, but you do have end tables for a living room? Take them upstairs...or wherever your bedroom is. I have living room end tables in my bedroom and no one knows...well, not until now.

Party Lights- ...but the party is over! Drape lights on top of your furnishings, a floor plant, place in a planter. All add a festive or cheerful look to a room. Even when there isn't a festive occasion, party lights can be a fun way to create a new look. Be sure to follow manufacturer safety precautions.

Doors - Have you ever removed a door, but didn't get rid of it? Old doors, because they're real sturdy are great as counters, or workstations. The hole where the knob was can be plugged with a piece of wood to fit the diameter of the opening, or inserted with a small holder for utensils. The door can be mounted to a wall with large brackets. Be sure to drill into wall studs. Wall anchors may be necessary. Or, the door can be mounted to pedestals. Other tools required may be wood stain, screws, a level, sandpaper, and varnish.This project has a minimal to moderate challenge, and is ideal for the person handy with carpentry.

Place-mats- These are great backdrops for wall hangings. Just hang the place-mats on the wall and then center your picture or wall art on the place-mat. I have two place-mats that look like rows of twigs. I placed African inspired pieces on the center of each mat. Awesome! Use picture hanging hardware.

Closets- Have a small room, and not enough space? Convert that closet into an entertainment center. Yes! My guest room is so small, that the thought of adding another piece of furniture disturbed me. The closet floor is raised, because it's also access to the attic. I placed the TV in the closet! It looks wonderful! What about the cords? Well the outlet is right next to the closet. This idea may not work for everyone, but...I'm sure you'll think of something!

The above tips are just a few ways you can maximize usage of what you already have, save money and possibly have fun in the process. Perhaps after reading this, you'll use some of these ideas, come up with your own, or you already have ways that you've re-purposed items in your home. Either way...Use What You Got!

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Comments 20 comments

Khalil Nasir 6 years ago

Great article! Great use of existing household items!!!


imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 6 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

Thanks Khalil! I enjoy re-purposing. There is always a practical use for what you already own.


Rosie2010 profile image

Rosie2010 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Hiya my dear friend imatellmuva, great hub! So many useful suggestions right here. Awesome! Keep on writing, gf.

Have a nice day!

Rosie


imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 6 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

Thanks Rosie2010! Re-Purposing is a way of life for me! I'm glad that you enjoyed the hub!


K.Shango 6 years ago

Great ideas!


imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 6 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

Thanks K. Shango! Your feedback is greatly appreciated! Re-Purposing is an awesome way to achieve a new and stylish look for your home.


Josh 6 years ago

Great information for improvising. I found it to be very informative. Keep it up. I may have to reconsider things now. GREAT job.


imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 6 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

Thanks Josh! A little creativity is what's needed. You'd be surprised how moving a few pieces, and/or using them differently help to create a great look for your home.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

I love your ideas! This is how we live now, all of us, reusing the old stuff instead of throwing it away...being thrifty and sustainable. A creative home is so much fun!


imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 6 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

Thanks Dolores Monet! A creative home is a lot of fun. I get great pleasure from repurposing! My house feels more like a home because of it!


midnightbliss profile image

midnightbliss 6 years ago from Hermosa Beach

great ideas, there's just so many things u can re purpose but will look great.


imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 6 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

Thanks Midnightbliss....the possibilities are endless!


evvy_09 profile image

evvy_09 5 years ago from Athens, AL

Love all these ideas. My MIL has a wall covered in pictures of family from almost the very top to 3/4s of the way down. They are all centered around a plaque with a quote about love. It looks awesome. I'm gonna try the seat cover idea for my couch that's getting a little worn in looking. :)


imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

My accent wall in my living room is completely covered with various types of art. I call it "My Heritage Wall".

It's funny you mentioned family photos, that's a consideration I have for one wall in my dining room. My only problem is what to do when I get mad at someone! You'll know if there's an empty spot with a nail!!


Jeannie 5 years ago

Wow. You have a lot a great ideas that I never even considered. Now I'm looking for old stuff in my house to reuse in a new way. Thanks!!


imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

You're quite welcome Jeannie!! You'd be surprised that you already have what you need to decorate your home. Just look at your items differently, and your creativity will flow.


Marvin Hamilton 5 years ago

I loved the ideas with the "Beaded Curtains." You have some very good insights on decorating.


imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

Thanks Marvin. I enjoy decorating, and coming up with inventive ways for a new look. I truly appreciate you for stopping by and leaving a comment!


mvaivata profile image

mvaivata 4 years ago

Really interesting and useful ideas. I think I'll be doing a bit of "re-decorating" in my home. Definitely sharing this!


imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 4 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore Author

Thanks mvaivata, you'd be surprised how easy and simple these suggestions are.

You will see that once you do just one thing, you'll develop your own inspiration to do more.

Have fun re-purposing and re-decorating...keep me posted; I'd love to hear what ideas you came up with.

Thanks so much for your comment!

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