Upcycling: Creatively Updating Your Home Decor

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If you’re looking for home decorating ideas that are both trendy and environmentally friendly, perhaps it’s time to explore the concept of “upcycling.” Upcycling is a concept that is similar to recycling in that it focuses on preventing waste materials from ending up in landfills.

However, upcycling doesn’t just stop there. Instead of simply being reused or recycled, “upcycled” materials are often transformed into truly beautiful items. Although it might sound a bit unusual to decorate your home with discarded items and waste materials, it’s actually a great way to save money, create a unique designer look, and help preserve the environment. If you’ve never experimented with upcycling, here are a few tips to help get you started.

Paper, Paper, Paper

If your home is like mine, chances are you’re probably buried in a constant onslaught of paper waste. Between product packaging materials, junk mail and everyday paper products, I always find myself in a constant struggle to keep paper from taking over my life – and my home. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to use scrap paper and cardboard in creative, useful ways.

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If you’re a crafter, you’re probably already familiar with the many different ways you can use paper and cardboard in your craft projects. Scrapbooking is a popular hobby that offers plenty of opportunities to use paper scraps in creative ways. However, although it’s not too difficult to use attractive paper and cardboard scraps in interesting ways, it’s a bit more difficult to deal with unattractive scrap paper such as junk mail.

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If you have more paper scrap than you know what to do with, why not experiment with making your own handcrafted paper? It’s really not as difficult as it sounds, and it’s a great way to put almost any kind of scrap paper to good use. In fact, the finished product is so beautiful and unique that nobody would ever guess that it’s made out of your unwanted junk mail.

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If you’re interested in making your own handcrafted paper, it’s easy to find detailed instructions on the Internet. Basically, the process involves tearing paper scraps up into small pieces and blending them with water. The resulting pulp slurry can then be poured over a piece of fine mesh or window screen that’s been covered with a tea towel. Once the excess water has drained, you can use a rolling pin or a warm iron to press your paper flat and remove excess moisture. Once the paper has dried for approximately 24 hours, you can use it to make paper crafts to decorate your home.

Upcycled Home Furnishings

The next time you need a new piece of furniture for your home, explore your creativity instead of heading to your neighborhood furniture store. There’s almost no end to the interesting furniture pieces and decorating accessories you can make out of discarded items. For example, instead of tossing your child’s beat-up skateboard into the trash, transform it into an interesting wall shelf. If you’ve got some woodworking skills, try using reclaimed wood to build one-of-a-kind furniture pieces.


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The resulting pieces will be far more unique and interesting than the everyday furniture pieces you could buy at your neighborhood store.

Jessica Ackerman, author and staff designer at WallDecorandHomeAccents.com, specializes in wooden wall wine racks and modern metal wall clocks.


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Jessica Ackerman

Jessica Ackerman grew up working in her family’s construction business beginning in the back office and migrating to the actual, hands on construction side of the enterprise. In addition to writing posts on the BuildDirect blog, Jessica is currently a senior staff writer for an online home decor store called Wall Decor and Home Accents.