Repurposing and upcycling items is a trend, both in environmental terms and in terms of design. The difference between the terms is as follows: repurposing changes something’s use with a minimal change to the object itself, whereas upcycling converts something useless into something usually quite different from what it was before. The key for both is that you are reusing something, which is better the environment and for your artistic soul than throwing things away.
Here are a few examples of reusing your old items:
Using old furniture: the “shabby chic” movement often uses furniture that is either old and worn (often antique) or made to look antique. Many refinish old furniture, either by putting a new a new layer of paint on or by taking the old paint off and revealing the beautiful wood underneath.
Other objects can be repurposed as well. What’s wonderful about repurposing/upcycling is that you are really only limited by your own imagination. That said, if you need some ideas to inspire, many ideas are circulating around social networking sites involving repurposing objects. Not to mention the fact that the library has books such as Lisa Occipinto’s The repurposed library (which gives ideas about how to reuse old books) and Juilette Goggin’s Junk Genius. Take a look, think about what you have to work with, and start experimenting!
Here are some of the ideas that perked my interest: turning old tea kettles into hanging flower pots. An old window shutter transformed into a letter holder. Old snail shells repurposed as mini plant holders. Old pennies being used to tile a floor (I am saving some in order to try it myself!), or old bottle caps being used to tile a wall. An old suitcase is modified with a mirror and hung on the wall as a funky medicine cabinet. An old Volkswagon beetle converted into a chicken coup, and an old boot changed into a nest box. An upcycled wine barrel dog house…I have also seen a picture of a drum kit made out of old wine barrels! And speaking of drums, I had a few old drum sticks we converted into a various hangers, for our paper towels and our oven mitts (not as imaginative as other examples, but a start nonetheless!) Not to mention a picture circulating the internet of part of an old grand piano that was placed vertically onto a wall as a bookshelf…or an old bicycle being converted into a chic sink stand.
Happy experimenting in 2013! And if you need more ideas, visit your library!