The new old: 11 stunning upcycling projects

The Homely Team
4 min read

With industrial, retro and vintage styles in vogue comes a revival of a quirky concept in interior design: upcycling. Never heard of it? It’s well worth looking up! With upcycling one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

How many things do we throw out every day without thinking of what we could turn them into? As a society we tend to replace everything with new and always buy, buy, buy without a second thought.

Yet the most unique, creative and charming pieces can’t be bought. They can be cleverly reimagined and transformed into something really beautiful.

Replace your guests’ ‘oh hey, I have that too!’ comments with ‘oooooh where did you get that?’ and enjoy their amazed expressions when you tell them you made it yourself…out of an old door!

Now, there is DIY and DIY. Upcycling can be as simple as hanging something which is made to be sat on or store things in, or taking a couple of hours to give something a lick of bright paint and adding some patterned wallpaper to furnishings, to a full-on, whole-weekend, power-tools exercise in carpentry.

To save you from frustration and headaches, before you start make sure you do your research, watch online tutorials or pay close attention to the progress photos in the how-to guide. Also make sure you’re familiar and comfortable with the tools you’ll be using (or ask a handy friend for some help and make a fun day of it together).

Check out some amazing ideas below for upcycling to inspire you to get started on a DIY décor project of your own this weekend!

1. Timber beam pendant light.

This gorgeous timber pendant, for example, used to be a beam above a client’s doorway. The wall was knocked down and the beam was kept for this repurpose. All it needed was electrical wiring, a bulb, and heavy-duty chains to hold it up, and they now have a unique one-off custom made pendant light above their bathtub!

 Image: Alana O Interiors Image: Alana O Interiors

2. Construct a classy birch-log coffee table.

 Image: Better Homes and Gardens Image: Better Homes and Gardens

3. Repurpose old luggage into a cosy spot for your furry friend.

 Image: Gramkin Paper Studio Image: Gramkin Paper Studio

4. Reimagine an old door ‘frame’.

 Image: Photog Mommie Image: Photog Mommie

5. Transform bed slats into a hanging storage solution.

 Image: House Beautiful Image: House Beautiful

6. Give tired drawers new life as funky floating shelves.

 Image: The Perfect Shade of Grey Image: The Perfect Shade of Grey

7. Create industrial style wire basket pendant lights.

 Image: Ashely Ann Photography Image: Ashely Ann Photography

8. Refashion a globe into a lamp shade or two.

 Image: Apartment Therapy Image: Apartment Therapy

9. Makeover shabby furniture by papering it with newspaper for a cool vintage look.

 Image: House and Garden Image: House and Garden

10. Put together a novel bedside table. 

 Image: Sanna & Sania Image: Sanna & Sania

11. Arrange an array of trays into a lively artwork.

 Image: Redhead Can Decorate Image: Redhead Can Decorate

What better DIY is there than one you don’t need a how-to for? Both the tray feature wall and bedside book table are stunning features and could not be easier to execute and put your own spin on!

Lastly, when considering upcycling projects remember to draw the line between quirky and tacky…that line usually sits just before beer-can-furniture!

 Image: Pinterest Image: Pinterest

For more DIY home decor inspo check out these eight crafty DIY projects and these damage free DIY decor ideas for renters.

The Homely Team
The Homely Team bring you the latest in Aus property ranging from tips on buying, selling, renting, investing, building, moving house, suburb information and agent advice, all from industry experts.

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