Upcyling and Recycling Ideas For Home Decor

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‘Stylish’ and ‘Expensive’ often go hand in hand. But, that’s certainly not true all the time. The key currency in good design is in the potential of what’s around at the time. That’s why in the 21st century, homeowners and designers are beginning to make up their own rules about what brings life to spaces.

To prove the point, interior design expert and writer Jennifer Lutz is here to talk about ways to realize this potential using materials that lend themselves to stylish reinvention …


Who doesn’t love the idea of clean storage areas? I always imagine a tidy garage, work bench, and attic. But imagination and reality don’t always agree. Sometimes, it’s overwhelming to walk into a cluttered space and sort through old stuff since I can’t seem to decide what to keep and what to toss out!

That’s why I’m super excited to share some tips on how to take old items that you don’t know what to do with and give them new life. Repurposing old stuff and turning them into decorations not only add charm to your home, but also lessen your trash.

Wine Crates into Bookshelves

Wine crates, or any other crates for that matter, take up too much space in the garage, but they make for amazing bookshelves. They look cozy and can easily be cleaned, arranged, or moved. All you need are some paint cans in your chosen colors and a free afternoon.

Upcycled recycled wine crates bookshelves

Eclectic Living Room by Los Angeles Photographer Erika Bierman Photography

Using the wine crates as they are gives a casual look to your bookshelf. You can retain the wine brand on the exterior of the crates for an even cozier appearance. Apply varnish to the crates to give them a pretty sheen and you’re all set. For a chic bookshelf, you can also paint the interior of the wine crates.

Coat three to four wine crates with a base paint first (white paint will do) then let them dry. Afterwards, paint the interior in your chosen color thrice, making sure to let the paint dry a bit with every coating. When the paint has dried and the paint fumes are no longer overpowering, stack your crates on top of each other with the opening facing you for an instant additional bookshelf.

Wine Crates into a Refurbished Table

An old wooden table is perfect for this project! Use of the all the wine crate lids left from the above project to refurbish your old table.

Refurbished table

Contemporary Dining Room by Denver Furniture And Accessories Alpine Wine Design

Lay your wine crate lids on your table and nail them together for a unique table surface. You can cut the lids into smaller pieces to make them fit, just make sure that you get the help of someone. Also, ensure that the entire tabletop is covered by the crate pieces. Once everything has been nailed flat on the table, varnish the whole thing to round it up.

If you have extra wine crates lying around, you can also cut them up into smaller pieces and use them with the crate lids.

Paint Cans as Flower Pots

I love this idea! We have so many paint cans hanging around, wasting space. Turning paint cans into flower pots is a super easy, cute way to make your own planters and is highly useful for homes with not much of a garden. These paint cans not only make planting easier but also require less space than plant boxes.

paint can planter

Eclectic Porch by Columbus Photographer Julie Ranee Photography

To turn your paint cans into flower pots, drill holes at the bottom of the cans before putting in the soil. Afterwards, plant your seeds or repot your flowers and other plants.

You can also paint the exterior of the cans in bright colors to make them cuter.

Old Pail for Tools

This project is an easy one; if you have old rusty pails lying around in your garage, they can be used as storage for your tools!

pails for tools

Eclectic Home Office

When metal pails rust and get holes, you can still make use of them. Paint the outside (or even the inside) of the metal pails to make them easy on the eye. Once the paint dries, you can put your wrenches, screwdriver, pliers, shears, and other gardening tools inside.

Using metal pails to keep your tools makes it easier for you to find the things you need when you’re gardening or working on your car. This trick also helps you keep your garage organized.

Lunchboxes for Storage

Once your children outgrow their Superman or Barbie lunchboxes, you can turn these metal boxes into storage items.

lunchbox storage

Eclectic Kids by Montreal Media And Blogs Pour Toujours

Your kids’ lunchboxes are great for keeping small trinkets such as jewelry and office supplies. You can keep the cartoon design if you’ll be placing these lunchboxes in your kids’ room. But if you plan on using them for your craft or office supplies, painting over the kiddie design is the best way to go.

For better organized storage, make dividers out of card stock or old folders. This allows you to maintain order with your office supplies and small jewelry.

These are only some of the projects you can do to repurpose your old items from the garage. Do you have any DIY suggestions of your own?


Thanks, Jennifer!

Jennifer Lutz is a home décor enthusiast who blogs for www.christmastreemarket.com. She recently published an article on 4 ways to create a more stylish bookshelf.



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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.