Decorating with Recycled Materials

Does the idea of using recycled materials to decorate your home sound really interesting to you until you stop and think recycled actually means used, and who wants old used stuff in their homes? Well just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s worn out and just because it’s has been used doesn’t mean it can’t be restored into something good looking and practical that no one would even guess was used. Really all it takes is knowing where to find quality pieces as well as a little imagination and creativity and you’re on the way to decorating your home with recycled materials.

Start right in your own home

  • You may well have pieces right in your home that can be repurposed and reused. For example, what do you have in the basement, the attic or hiding under a tablecloth in the corner? An old couch or chair can often be restyled and recovered, turning an unattractive and worn out period piece into a beautiful new couch (and often at much less cost than buying new).
  • Is the finish on your coffee or side table scratched and marked. An old solid wood piece can be sanded and refinished to look new again. Decorative molding can be added or removed to give it a totally new appearance.
  • Pillows and cushions can usually be recovered and given a new lease of life. If you’re thinking about changing the colors in your bedroom or living room recovering your existing cushions can save you money and help make your new d cor a reality sooner.
  • Where can you look outside your home?

  • Possibilities for finding decorating materials outside your home are everywhere. Garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores are all potentially great sources of materials you can repurpose and bring into your home. As well, estate sale or moving sales can provide some high quality pieces at very reasonable prices. You may not be able to find exactly what you’re looking for, so that’s where your imagination comes into play. Here’s just soma few ideas of things you can do with your finds outside your home.
  • Table lamps, old Tri-lights, hanging light fixtures and even chandeliers can all be rewired and reused.
  • Old vases, bottles or pieces of wood can be turned into lamps using parts readily available at home stores.
  • Picture frames can be taken apart and used as moldings or made into shadow boxes to display souvenirs or mementos.
  • Old carpets and remnants can sometimes be cleaned and turned into beautiful area or throw rugs.
  • Still looking for other places to find recycled materials – check out the Habitat Restore or other recycling building material stores in your. These are retail outlets where surplus building materials and quality used building materials are sold for a fraction of their retail price. Some of the material is brand new, but much of it has been donated from building supply stores, contractors, demolition companies or just individual who want to support recycling and provide some help to less fortunate people in their communities.

    The stock at these locations is constantly changing but you will usually find a wide selection of plumbing and electrical fixtures, windows, doors, paint, tiles, and even complete kitchens that could include upper and lower cabinets and counters. If you don’t find what you are looking for on your first visit, come back in a week, you will have totally different materials to chose from.

    Proceeds from the Habitat Restore goes towards helping build homes for less fortunate people in the local community. So not only will you be helping yourself (by redecorating and upgrading your home), you’ll also be helping the environment through recycling and as an added bonus, helping less fortunate people in your area get a decent home.

    Habitat Restore operates in both the United States and Canada and has stores (even multiple stores in larger centers) in most urban areas.

    Using recycled materials to decorate is truly a “win-win” situation. You will likely save some money on your decorating while often ending up with a unique ‘one of a kind’ piece. At the same time, the fact you’re recycling is keeping material out of our landfills while helping preserve the environment.

    Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer over 500 articles published on the web as well as in print magazines and newspapers in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics and is a regular contributor to DoItYourself.com. He can be contacted by email at – murand@lycos.com
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