Decorative Repurposing - 6 DIY's for the Home

Decorative Repurposing – 6 DIY’s for the Home

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Reuse, Recycle, Re-purpose, Up-cycle – are all ways of giving objects a second chance. Viewing something in a different light and re-staging it to serve a new purpose can reduce our carbon footprint. And not only does this make an impact environmentally, it also is easy on the wallet.

With the state of today’s economy, consignment stores and thrift shops are popping up everywhere. It’s no longer gauche to dig a piece of furniture out of a heap on the curb. Instead, innovative individuals are rehabilitating another person’s trash into fabulous, eye-catching additions to their home. Saving money and scoring something unique is awesome.

So today I’m sharing 6 Decorative Repurposing DIY’s you’ll see around my house – I hope they inspire you rethink that pile of junk you have earmarked for your next yard sale!

Ladder = Bookcase

For awhile, my husband & I were looking for the perfect bookcase. We wanted real wood, not some flimsy press board that would fall apart. We found a long farmhouse ladder at our local thrift shop, which we originally intended to stand up in our bathroom, to display extra towels. It was too tall. So we bought another, shorter farmhouse ladder that fit that purpose.

We racked our brains trying to figure out what to do with this extra ladder. One afternoon, while cruising Pinterest for inspiration, we discovered the brilliant idea of making our ladder into a bookshelf. A few L brackets, anchors and screws was all it took to make that happen. Talk about a conversation piece!

The far right ladder, hanging vertically, in the photo is a bunk bed ladder that we recovered from a neighbor’s garbage. Initially, I wasn’t sure what use it would serve, but after propping it up, against that very same wall, it became clear it would become home to some of our smaller sized books.

Poncho = Mood Lighting

For a very simple change of scenery, every once in a while I throw an old, crocheted poncho, that is no longer en vogue, on top of our lamp shade. In just seconds it creates a romantic vibe with the funky play of shadows on the walls & ceiling.

Vintage Bakeware = Decorative Bowl

Another simple one! Here we have an antique, ceramic, mini-cake mold, that I purchased during a trip to Europe. You should be able to find something similar in your local thrift store or at a yard sale.

It works wonderfully as a perch for my kitchen sponge, allowing it to drain, without a mess. And it fits in with the rustic, French country aesthetic I love. Not to mention I heart making cakes!

Vintage Handkerchiefs = Curtains

Next, some sweet, vintage, hankies are sewn together to make curtains. Their sheerness allows for an abundance of light to shine through, and they are the perfect funky touch of color to our space.

A hodgepodge of hankies are easily sewn together, about ¼ inch from each edge – use as many as you need to custom fit your windows. Then fold the top of the curtains over about 2 inches and sew, creating a pocket for a curtain rod.

Wagon = Shelf

We looked for an over-the-oven shelf for a few months after moving into our latest house. A variety of shelves were bought and returned, because they simply weren’t the right size.

Then we stumbled upon an old, wooden, Red Flyer wagon, that someone discarded. A street treat that makes an amazing little place to store honey, tea bags, the timer and more.

Prep table = hanging pot rack

Here is another genius idea that I attribute to Pinterest where I saw a kitchen island built by hand with pots and pans hanging underneath it. We were in the market for a hanging pot rack, however, we reside in a rental property, and weren’t comfortable hanging one from the ceiling. Pulling pot after pan from the cabinet to retrieve the desired cookware, got old, quick. A few J-hooks screwed into the underside of my prep table, and the hanging pot rack materialized. Portable, and free, doesn’t get much better than that!

Decorative repurposing is easy once you start looking at objects with a fresh eye. So the next time you are browsing at the thrift shop, imagine objects with a different coat of paint. Think about how can you take an idea you admire from Pinterest, and make it a reality. And who knows, maybe on trash night, you’ll drive a little slower past a huge pile of discarded furnishings, and envision something spectacular.

we heartsters – Is there anything particular you have re-purposed, that you are especially proud of? These are stories I love to hear!

All photos: Rachel for we heart this

Rachel is a stay-at-home Mom that never seems to be home. She’s a military wife, mother to The Danger Boys and a self-proclaimed craftaholic that enjoys photography, knitting, baking and all things handmade.

13 thoughts on “Decorative Repurposing – 6 DIY’s for the Home”

    1. Turboterp – why thank you! Home is a sacred space that should be all about your unique personality. Coziness is super-important to us. I read something once that stuck with me – everything in your home should be beautiful or serve a function. If you don’t love it, get rid of it. Our home is constantly evolving.

  1. I want to live in your house! Or just have you decorate mine…

    These are all really great ideas! I may be buying a house within the next year, so I’m pinning these for my own future reference. And I wish I could see your Pinterest page, @rachelshay, I bet you have the best boards! (Maybe you’ll share the link? Purdy please?)

    1. Alyssa – I would be happy to share my Pinterest with you…I’m just Rachel Shay. (I think), I will double-check and get back to you if I am wrong. New home, how lucky for you! Since we are military, we move every few years. A new home is like a blank canvas, an excellent way to implement bright new ideas!

  2. The ladder bookcases? Best idea EVER. And even though I can’t sew to save my life, I feel like I could make the vintage hankie curtains. This would probably work with tea towels as well?

  3. I love the use of a ladder as a bookshelf! When I saw the crocheted poncho over the light, I thought how charming (and then I thought of Blanche in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” who covers a light to “create enchantment”). What cozy, lovely curtains. You’ve certainly created enchantment here, @rachelshay!

  4. @rachelshay – these are really fab. Especially the ladder bookshelves. Actually, when I first saw this on your Facebook page is when I asked you to join the we heart this team, wasn’t it?!

    And I LOVE the hankie sheers!!! It makes me want to do the same thing with my scarf collection, but they’re all different sizes. Hmm, any suggestions how that could be done with fabric that’s not uniform?

  5. Rachel you are amazing~! I just love your vision for turning someones junk into a treasure! I think you should have a funky little shop that sells your awesome re-furbished finds!!!

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