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We each have our own little ways to reduce and recycle; from reusing glass pickle jars for your spices, to turning the undamaged parts of an old sari into a brand-new dress. But why not go bigger and repurpose your old furniture too?
Upcycling just makes sense; it helps cut down on waste and clutter in the home, and is an easy way to save – both economically and environmentally! Of course, every small action matters, but you can make sure your home décor is more sustainable too by giving old furniture an upgrade. Whether you’re keeping things simple, with a quick reupholstery job and repaint that brings new life to antique chairs for living room spaces that have a more modern style, or repurposing an old bathtub into a lovely garden fishpond – there are many ways to create a brand new aesthetic while making use of what you have available.
So, read on for some fresh ideas on how to upcycle the vintage wooden chair that’s been taking up space in your study, refurbish old furniture for a brand new purpose, or find novel uses for salvaged pieces!
Well-built, antique wooden chairs or a solid old sofa can last many decades. But many times, there’s a style mismatch and there’s no place for antique chairs for living room décor that’s very modern or industrial in aesthetic – painting it white and changing the upholstery to a bright colour or geometric pattern can help it to work within the space, and even make the piece a focal point of your interior design instead. Dining chairs of different designs but the same seat height can be joined together to form a refurbished bench, or for chairs that are less sturdy, repurpose just the seat for a cute garden swing.
There are many effortless ways you can reuse old furniture like a heavy wooden dresser; by stripping, sanding and painting old furniture you give it a new lease on life – upcycle an unused dresser by painting it to match your current décor; remove some or all of the drawers to use it as open shelving. When it comes to restoring old furniture, keep in mind that many older pieces are very solidly built; you can even transform a sturdy dresser into a unique kitchen island to help increase your storage and counter space.
Creative storage containers are easy to make; while finding ways to reuse old furniture, ideas can come to you with a quick look around. When upcycling your old dresser into a cubby, don’t forget to repurpose the drawers as storage – for larger drawers, add casters and simple lids to create cute, movable storage boxes; old office furniture, like filing cabinets or desk drawers can also be used in this way. Keep old paint cans and containers, give them a good scrubbing so they can be reused to store art supplies, stationary or even makeup brushes! Add style by making them a uniform colour when painting; old furniture pieces aren’t the only things that can be given a facelift, after all.
As with renovating old furniture, you can repurpose old bathroom fittings too! These may not seem like the most obvious “reuse old furniture” ideas, but with some creativity you’ll find many fresh uses for old fixtures: cut away a side and add a cushioned seat to an old bathtub to create an avant-garde sofa, or pair it with salvaged washbasins for a multi-level planter in your garden. You could also reuse old furniture like wooden bathroom vanities; with a paint job and added panels where needed, these make great bar cabinets or outdoor cupboards.
As with other old furniture and knick-knacks, most of us have a few unused trays in our kitchens; maybe they’re inconvenient to use or look a little too shabby. Don’t leave them to take up valuable storage space, instead repurpose them – refurbish the ones that are in good shape by staining or painting them to match other old style furniture in your home, you could even add legs to make it look like an old table; for others, use the frame to hold a photo-collage, or paint the base in blackboard paint / add a cork filler to create a cute message board.
While you can refurbish old wood furniture, a wooden ladder / step ladder has a very clear shelf life. It’s safer not to try and fix it up to be used for its original purpose, as you can when restoring old furniture of other kinds – but it can be recycled in brand new ways! For straight ladders, unique picture frames, or a trellis are good choices, while a step ladder has many other uses; just reinforce the structure and it can be used as unusual shelving – either hung on the wall, or standing, depending on size. You could also do something similar with antique wooden chairs that are straight backed and solidly built.
When you’re working on a bigger project to recycle or reuse old furniture, ideas that utilise salvaged wood can be more wallet friendly. Plus, not only are wooden packing crates and construction pallets solidly built, once sanded and refurbished, they can have the appearance of old furniture or more modern pieces, depending on how they’re finished. Old pallets on saw horses can make a solid home office desk, while crates are easy to repurpose as tables or even into the style of an old chair.
Restoring old furniture can be a very satisfying and rewarding process – especially when it comes to pieces that carry their own stories, such as old travel trunks and boxes. These old furniture pieces, once restored, are great for storing less used items, like blankets and guest sheets. To up the practicality when you want to reuse old furniture ideas that seem obvious are often the most feasible, for example, placing a sturdy stone, glass or wood panel on top of an old wooden trunk / box to create a DIY coffee table – make sure that this panel can be lifted whenever the contents of the trunk need to be accessed.
Wheelbarrows, chipped mugs, old sinks, or even a cracked uruli… many things can find new life as a home for your plants! Plus, you can’t always refurbish old wood furniture to its original use; an old chair that can no longer hold the weight of a person can be shored up with bricks, sand or pots to hold smaller creepers and hanging vines in your garden. You could also refurbish old furniture like coat stands, pedestal light poles or wooden screens as a framework for climbing plants and hanging pots.
While it may not strictly fall under the heading of renovating old furniture, an old door can have many uses in your journey of finding new ways to reuse old furniture – painted and restored as a unique headboard, or affixed with rows of hooks as a decorative hanging rack. You could even use it as a part of a project where you refurbish old furniture pieces, for example, finished with a coat of resin as a DIY table top, just add legs or place it on a set of solid wood dressers, or an old trunk.
Sometimes old furniture holds sentimental value – like with an antique wooden crib that’s been in your family for many generations. No one wants to throw out such old wooden furniture pieces, and by restoring old furniture like this, you can make use of them while keeping those memories alive. A crib can be reused as a bench, or even (by adding the front panel as a separator and a glass top) an usual study table.
From finding new purposes for no-longer-useful furniture – such as reusing a Hoosier table as a desk for your home office – to taking the time to overhaul a piece and give it a new use – for example, stripping away the cushioning and using the frame as the base for shelving to refurbish old sofa sets into a credenza or an open cabinet – there are many ways to recycle old furniture pieces. But, weather it’s a broken old sofa to an unusable old table, the practicality of your final piece is the key thing to keep in mind.
There’s many ways to reuse and recycle pieces that may otherwise have been thrown into a landfill, and we hope this has given you some inspiration. With a little love and creative thinking, we’re sure you can come up with some wonderful new uses for your old furniture, too!
Well, at Beautiful Homes Service by Asian Paints, what we’re best at is partnering with you to craft the home of your dreams. If you’re eager to get started on creating that perfect haven we’re here for all your design & renovation needs – you can even source the latest décor styles with our curated furniture collection – reach out or find one of our state-of-the-art stores near you.
We’re currently available in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Pune or Kolkata, with new locations coming soon!
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