DIY Home + Garden upcycled-home

Published on May 13th, 2014 | by Julie Finn

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The Upcycled House: 20 Home Design Projects Made from Recycled Materials

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20 Upcycled Home Design Projects

When you move, moving takes all your money. You don’t have a bunch left to spare for cute furnishings.

But you don’t want that mass-produced, consumer-culture nonsense all over your house, anyway, not when there are so many unique projects that you can undertake, all utilizing upcycled or recycled materials. Handmade components give your house more personality, and your ability to score much of the supplies for these projects free or on the cheap make them massively more budget-friendly than even a trip to IKEA.

Check out these home design projects made from recycled materials, but don’t feel like you have to slavishly follow the instructions every time. Substitute the materials that you can find, and the methods that you like best, to come up with your own projects that will make your house perfectly suited to you.

1. aluminum can wall storage: Aluminum cans can hold a multitude of stuff, and these aluminum can wall holders are portable!

2. antler and vintage frame necklace holder: Match a thrifted vintage frame with a found natural object such as a tree branch or a deer’s fallen antlers, and make a display for your necklaces (or ties?) that will keep them accessible.

3. apothecary jars: Printable labels added to upcycled smooth glass jars make them look like antique apothecary jars. Here’s how to remove the jar’s original label.

4. baking pan magnetic message board: Add a few coats of glossy paint and mount it, and an old baking pan becomes a message board.

5. book shelves: Shelves made from a single book mounted to the wall are the perfect size to store small treasures.

6. box lid wall framesThey look good, and you didn’t have to go to Target to buy them.

7. decoupaged chair: It may not make that old wooden chair more comfy, but decoupaging the chair will DEFINITELY make it more interesting.

8. doorknob and found wood jewelry hanger: Vintage doorknobs also hold necklaces and bracelets, if you’re not into antlers.

9. dream catcher: Using various throw-away materials, such as used guitar strings, twine, and felt scraps, you can make a dream catcher for your bedroom.

10. fork business card holderMount it next to the house phone or your computer station, so your important contacts will always be handy.

11. guitar art: Got a guitar that someone threw into a closet thirty years ago to “save” for you, and managed to trash completely in the process? Yeah, you might have to turn that guitar into an art piece instead.

12. hanging Mason jar: Last night’s spaghetti sauce can be today’s hanging wall vase. Use it for flowers, or to hold keys or the random stuff recovered from pants pockets before they go in the washer.

13. headboard benchA bed has a lot of great wood! Break down an old one and make tons of new furniture pieces.

14. pipe and wood coat rackThe Restore and freecycle are great places to pick up pipes leftover from construction projects, and you can find unwanted boards anywhere.

15. soda box canned food storage: Your organic canned tomatoes will never get lost when they’re all tucked into a pretty paper-covered soda box that automatically dispenses.

16. trophy coat rack: All those bowling and baseball trophies that you earned as a kid will be cool again after you turn them into a vintage trophy coat rack. Everyone who hangs up a jacket will admire your skills!

17. wire hanger toilet paper holderIt’s not hard to make something cuter than your standard toilet paper holder.

18. wooden chair dog dishesYour dog shouldn’t have to lean down just to get a drink.

19. wooden pallet bathtub shelf: Would you ever believe that this beautiful wooden bathtub shelf came from a wooden pallet? Pay careful attention to sealant with this project; you don’t know where that pallet has been, or what nasties have leached inside, and saving the wood isn’t worth risking your health.

20. xylophone wind chimes: Turn a kid’s toy xylophone into musical wind chimes for the front porch.

If you’ve got more great upcycled home design tutorials, pass them to me in the comments! I seriously need some more ideas.

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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.



  • http://glueandglitter.com/main Becky Striepe

    What a great list! Until I clicked through, I thought that this was a book!

  • Alyse Mac

    Crafty reuse suggestion:

    Reuse the plastic coated ream wrapper from copy paper instead of freezer paper for sewing and other crafting projects. As I understand at best only some recycling facilities can handle these wrappers. (I haven’t checked on this recently so perhaps it is more recyclable now.) This is good all around; easy on one’s pocketbook and reusing!

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