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Recycled Decor

Updated on June 5, 2013

Re-use, Re-purpose, Re-Cycle

One man's garbage is another man's treasure. Not sure who coined the term but don't you find it true? How often do we toss something out because weâre tired of it and because we really donât know what else to do with it?

Iâve gone to garage sales with friends and watched them buy old battered wooden chairs and shake my head thinking âGod, what do they want with that old junkâ. And then staring in astonishment and with a little bit of envy at the stunning new chair or garden accessory they have and realizing that itâs that old chair which they recycled into something new.

Not everyone is creative or artistic enough to look at something old and see something new and for those who arenât, Iâm hoping the pictures and suggestions below will spark your creativity and get you seeing that old broken window or pair of wooden shutters in a new light!

I know I have to consciously make an effort to look at everything in a re-purposed way before tossing it out. But in keeping with the "green" spirit, I've discovered our local Habitat for Humanity re-use center and when I drop something off there, I feel good knowing that someone more creative than I will find a way to use an old treasure.

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A Little Taste of Yesteryear

It seems to be getting harder and harder to find those unique items at yard sales today. Great as a door stop or a decorative item on a fireplace mantle Antique irons, once everywhere are now in scarce supply. The same with old milk crates which look great sanded down and used on your table to hold napkins and condiments.

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Re-cycling Architectural Elements

These are the real treasures . I love the old doors, windows and shutters and there's so many different ways use you can re-use them in your home.

Seen here is an oval window frame turned into a mirror and a pair of matching shutters which get a new life "au natural" on a fireplace mantle. This looks especially beautiful at Christmas surrounded by greenery and twinkling lights.

Old doors also make wonderful headboards or can be re-finished to become living room tables. Shutters can be hung on the wall on their own as works of art.

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Recycled Hard Suitcases

Still plentiful at garage sales and flea markets, hard suitcases can be converted into pet beds, side tables or left open as a decorative display case for antiques and collectibles.

Even if the lining has been stained or ripped, an old piece of lace or embroidered fabric draped over the soiled area can be used. I love this one shown that's been converted to a pet bed. Notice the toys tucked into the suitcase pockets? What pet wouldn't love this?

Though a little harder to find, old steamship trunks are wonderful for storage or living room tables. Luckily, you can find reproductions of these if you like the look of recycled décor.

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Recyled Clock

Some people are young enough to not even know what this is! Long before CD's and MP3's and even tape cassettes for that matter were around, there were record players. You'd put the record on the turntable, drop the needle on the record and as it turned the music (LP) played. It takes a real visionary to turn a record player into a clock but it's certainly a one-of-a-kind item.

Many household items can be turned into clocks including family heirloom dinner plates, piece of slate, unusual driftwood shapes and ceramic floor tile. There are endless possibilities for recycled clocks. I've even seen very neat clocks made from the gears of a bicycle and even the tire rims.

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Recycled Wine Barrel

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Sometimes you can look at an item and it's a no brainer. Like this wine barrel. Anyone can picture it becoming a rain barrel. Or turned on it's side and made into a flower bed. But how many have the vision to see a vanity in a wine barrel? Only the very creative! What an absolutely awesome idea!

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Old Doors with a New Purpose

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A pair of stunning double doors painted and hung on the wall as art become a very unique décor statement and the focal point of a room. Notice the great wooden box painted red and used as a coffee table. Both pieces blend beautifully into the room.

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A Bit of This & That

As you can see by this picture of a piece designed by San Francisco studio owner, Thomas Wold, recycled art can be made from many forms. This piece and others like this are sold for high dollars in his studio and are definitely one-of-a-kind pieces and works of art. But if you look closely, you'll see many every day household items that he's used. Recycling at it's best !

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ReCycled Pallets

Recognize this material? If you thought "pallet" you're right. A great idea using a pallet with a couple of boards taken out. This piece uses two pallets which have been sanded and stained, then hung on the wall for shelving. Pallets are a popular reuse item as they're strong, durable, can be stained easily and if used outdoors can stand up to the elements.

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Take a couple of boards away from a pallet and you've got yourself a very unique wine shelf and wine glass holder which costs next to nothing to make and looks wonderful! Of course this one looks nice and worn and antiqued but easily done with a new one by leaving it out in the sun and rain for a bit.

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Antique Tub Gets a New Look

Perhaps this example is not the most comfortable looking but certainly one of a kind! I personally would add a lot of puffy cushions on the back and the seating area to make it more comfy and I can just picture it being a wonderful spot to stretch out those legs and get into a good book. Somewhat like a soak in a tub!

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Even a Barrel

There are some who have wonderful imaginations and think outside of the box when it comes to design and saving our planet. Those are the lucky ones. The rest of us have to steal their ideas but what fantastic ideas they have! Who would have thought to repurpose a barrel into a sofa? I love it!

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Flea Market Finds

One item that always seems to be plentiful at yard sales and garage sales are old mismatched cutlery that can be recycled into so many things. I love this soup ladle that's been re-made into a candle holder. I've also seen many people make wind chimes out of forks and knives and bend cutlery into unique shapes like flowers.

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Perfect for a Child's Room

You can find them at flea markets or maybe you've got some tucked in your attic. The yardstick gets a new life as a wall mounted coat rack.

Another great use for yardsticks? If you've got an old wooden desk or bureau and the top's not in the best condition, nail or glue yardsticks to the top of it.

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Uses for Antique Hardware

There's so many things you can do with antique and modern hardware and with such a variety available from flea markets to your local Walmart you can make any recycled piece your very own one-of-a-kind piece. The example here shows antique hardware attached different sized wooden pieces. They almost look like the face of a drawer and would be great fun for a kid's room done in bright colors!

Wooden Crates

Who hasn't done something at one time with old crates? I remember stacking old Coca-Cola crates, one on top of each other and using them for shelving. Of course, those crates are worth a fortune now but you can still find old wooden crates at flea markets. With a little loving and sandpaper and a bit of stain they can still be recycled into shelving and tables just like this one. And if you can't find them, well I guess you could cheat and buy them at Ikea and just refinish them to make them old!

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Display Your Catch of the Season!

When I saw this I thought it was so creative, especially for a summer cottage or fisherman's lodge! A great idea to display the "catch of the season"

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A beautiful sun kissed piece of driftwood and antique drawer pulls get a new life and look fantastic as a necklace holder. Think of how many walks you've been on and perhaps seen an interesting piece of wood that you weren't quite sure what to do with. A jewelry holder? A clock? Depending on the shape and size of the wood, some pieces are so unusual and unique they can be a focal point on a mantle or a coffee table.

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Re-Purposed Cutlery = Wall Sculpture

Now here's something that's readily available! No matter how many garage sales you go to, people are always trying to get rid of mismatched pieces of cutlery. I love this piece! It's so creative and I can also see the same idea done as a wall clock! It's hard to tell from the picture whether this is just a wall sculpture or if it's actually a mirror - but you could certainly do both!

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Wash Tub Lighting

From the laundry room to the dining room ceiling, old wash tubs get a new life as lighting.

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Doors Becomes a Table

The old doors, windows and even shutters had so much character. It doesn't really matter what type of home you have there's a door that will fit into your home decor. The nice thing about the older doors are that they were often hand carved and loving carved in fine detail. Definitely works of art!

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Sculpture by Mati Karmin

Okay, maybe this is a stretch for us regular folks but I had to include a piece by the Estonian Sculptur Mati Karmin who's made this one-of-a-kind office desk from a piece of granite and recycled sea mines. It just goes to show you that if you have imagination almost anything can have a new life as something else!

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Have You or Will You Use ReCycled Items in Your House? - If yes,what kind?

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    • Sugarshack LM profile image
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      Sugarshack LM 3 years ago

      @MarcellaCarlton: Thank you! Isn't a great what we can do with recycled items. Once you start looking at things with the "recycle" eye...you can't stop :) Have fun!

    • profile image

      MarcellaCarlton 4 years ago

      My poor mind is blown and spinning at record speed. What an incredible lens!

    • profile image

      iwrite4cash 4 years ago

      Great lens it has my imagination swirling with ideas now! I enjoy recycled items so this was perfect for me! Thanks for sharing! If you have time please drop by my newest lens www.squidoo.com/gel-meez

    • Sara2901 profile image

      Sara2901 4 years ago

      I liked the recycled pallets as shelves.

    • HughSmulders LM profile image

      HughSmulders LM 4 years ago

      Recycling is great in the way it allows us not to let down used stuff giving it another stage for living.

    • xiaohuaz lm profile image

      xiaohuaz lm 4 years ago

      Wow!!! You have so many great ideas here:) I especially like the suitcase table in your intro photo and the record player clock.

    • lewisgirl profile image

      lewisgirl 4 years ago

      I recycle items all the time. You have captured some very creative pieces in this lens. Great job!

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 4 years ago from Connecticut

      Great ideas! I'm always looking for ways to recycle and re-purpose old items into something new, useful and attractive.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      I absolutely loved this lens and your unique take on it. Pinned to my crafts board and out by digg and g+.

    • CrazyHomemaker profile image

      CrazyHomemaker 4 years ago

      LOVE this lens! You have some really unique ideas here. Thanks for sharing them all.

    • CrazyHomemaker profile image

      CrazyHomemaker 4 years ago

      LOVE this lens! You have some really unique ideas here. Thanks for sharing them all.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 4 years ago

      This is a really cool article! I love the ideas you have presented. So very clever. I, like you, have a difficult time seeing something old as it could be repurposed, but they make into the most unique and interesting creations sometimes.

    • LeslieMirror profile image

      LeslieMirror 4 years ago

      Eco-friendlies is something which should be taken extremely seriously. I have some thoughts too concerning this field: http://www.squidoo.com/live-greenny

    • profile image

      acreativethinker 4 years ago

      There are some really creative ideas here. This is a very inspirational lens. Thanks for sharing. Take care. :)

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 4 years ago

      Clearly not often enough! Some of these are just gorgeous!

    • profile image

      4EvaSunshine 4 years ago

      great stuff and ideas. i like remodeling my home, i may use the crate idea. i also have and old blind with Asian blinding on a black wooden frame, i could use it the way you are using the green door against the wall above. i love your imagination. #squidoo!

    • Sugarshack LM profile image
      Author

      Sugarshack LM 4 years ago

      @JoanieMRuppel54: Thank you so much!! Appreciate it :)

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

      The closest thing I have to any repurposing is an old, beautiful ukelele hanging on the wall as a decoration. These ideas are fabulous and I am forwarding this lens to my brother-in-law who could create any of these ideas with his talents. Great lens! Adding it to my garage sale features lens!

    • Sugarshack LM profile image
      Author

      Sugarshack LM 4 years ago

      @seosmm: Thank you! Hope you found something for yourself :)

    • Sugarshack LM profile image
      Author

      Sugarshack LM 4 years ago

      @dudokdudok: Thank you!! Glad you found something you could do also :)

    • Sugarshack LM profile image
      Author

      Sugarshack LM 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks so much! It's been fun writing it :)

    • profile image

      seosmm 4 years ago

      What a treasure trove of great ideas!

    • profile image

      dudokdudok 4 years ago

      Absolutelly beutiful lense with a lot of GREA ideas. I am definatelly going to do something simmilar to the antique fishing rod picture hanging art. We all love fishing, it would look great in our home. Thank you for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Awesome lens.

    • Sugarshack LM profile image
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      Sugarshack LM 4 years ago

      @kimbesa2: That's a good idea :) Thanks for commenting !

    • Sugarshack LM profile image
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      Sugarshack LM 4 years ago

      @Meganhere: Thanks!! A lot of wonderful uses for old things!

    • Sugarshack LM profile image
      Author

      Sugarshack LM 4 years ago

      @shewins: I love it too and there's so many creative things to do with pallets! Thanks for your comments ;)

    • Sugarshack LM profile image
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      Sugarshack LM 4 years ago

      @Diana Wenzel: Isn't is great!! I wish I was so imaginative :)

    • Sugarshack LM profile image
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      Sugarshack LM 4 years ago

      @Scarlettohairy: Thank you! Using large pieces is fun too, but then again you need the room which a lot of us don't have. Thanks for stopping by :)

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      This is my style. Love it! I have smaller pieces, nothing big, but mostly because I'm not sure how to "make" things from larger pieces.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      That wine barrel sink is just too creative, as is the bath tub love seat. So many great ideas here. I love repurposing items that still have a lot of life left in them. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • shewins profile image

      shewins 4 years ago

      Wonderful. I really love the wine barrel sink and the pallet wall shelf.

    • Meganhere profile image

      Meganhere 4 years ago

      I love this!

      The suitcase hall table! The shuttered mirror! The suitcase doggie bed! The old door with a new purpose! The antique tub! The ladle candleholder! LOVE IT!

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 4 years ago from USA

      I have some, and will have more. I always check first, however, to make sure I'm not about to paint, drill, cut or glue something that has true value in its original state.

    • Sugarshack LM profile image
      Author

      Sugarshack LM 4 years ago

      @Flowerchild1946: Those must be gorgeous!! Too bad you couldn't post the pics here...but maybe do a lens? Love that idea!

    • Sugarshack LM profile image
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      Sugarshack LM 4 years ago

      @rosemarieb: How fun!! The old antique chairs look wonderful in the garden!

    • Sugarshack LM profile image
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      Sugarshack LM 4 years ago

      @Cynthia Haltom: Glad you liked it! Thanks for dropping in :)

    • Sugarshack LM profile image
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      Sugarshack LM 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I haven't used mod pog in years!! I loved it! Thanks for dropping by :)

    • Sugarshack LM profile image
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      Sugarshack LM 4 years ago

      @DrLibby: Mixed media/collage is really repurposed also! There's such a sense of accomplishment isn't there? Thanks for your comments.

    • Flowerchild1946 profile image

      Carol Brooks 4 years ago from Florida

      I absolutely love creating new things out of old. It's a passion of mine. My latest thing is making mini bird baths out of vases, old lamps, plates and bowls. Sometimes I create a mosaic on the surfaces so they will blend together. I loved your lens. It gave me lots of new ideas.

    • rosemarieb profile image

      rosemarieb 4 years ago

      I just turned an old chair into a planter/garden ornament

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      Yes, I have a lot of recycle décor in my house. There are some great ideas in your lens, I will have to work on making some more recycled items.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have just mod poged a pair of shoes...fun, cute, and, new shoes at no cost I love the ideas...keep'em coming!

    • DrLibby profile image

      DrLibby 4 years ago

      I haven't yet, but dream to do so as I love the concept & the cleverness of repurposed things. the closest I come is w/ mixed media/collage crafts.