How to Reuse Old Things to Create New Decorations for Your Home


Recycling is more than just a way to keep unwanted items from saturating community landfills. It's also an opportunity to create tasteful, unique decorations for the home. Many objects can be used just the way they are, with a little cleaning. Others may need to be refurbished or repainted to look acceptable. The only limit is the imagination and the willingness to look beyond the ordinary and see that "old" doesn't mean bad.

  • Substitute one thing that looks like another. For instance, turn decorative fan blades from an old, unwanted overhead fan into shelves for small, lightweight items. Face the top and bottom blade/shelf so that the wide end is to the left, and the middle blade/shelf so the side end is to the right for a dramatic visual.

  • Group otherwise dissimilar objects together around a common function. For example, gather a collection of flower vases made from an old pot, drinking glass, coffeepot, cookie jar, wine bottle, ice bucket and watering can.

  • Hang objects on the wall to create patterns. Faces are created with round objects such as old plates, saucers and even hubcaps as eyes, hair from carpet or other material, teeth from broken pottery and ears from bent wire. A collection of faces, each different in aspect and size, is an eye-catcher and you'll soon have people donating objects to you to create a face in their honor.

  • Trick the visitor's eye with a faux bookshelf that is two-dimensional instead of three by only using the spines of second-hand and discarded books. Use 1-inch wide strips of wood-grained contact paper to outline a bookcase on a wall, complete with shelves. Carefully take the spines off from the books and glue them to the wall on the shelves.

  • Turn old CD cases into "living history" picture frames. Glue or otherwise attach the case to a wall with the side that held the CD against the wall, so that the front side swings to either the right or left. Slide a picture of a member of the family, an important place or any other event into the front side so that when the CD is closed a visitor sees the picture. Write a story about the picture, print it on a 4-by-4.25-inch stiff piece of paper and attach it to the inside of the case where the CD previously was held. When a person opens the case he can read about the significance of the picture. A whole wall of CD cases can tell a family history.

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