Are you looking to redesign your home but are on a shoestring budget? Or do you have a closet filled with things you no longer use? Or do you enjoy creating new looks from your old stuff with a pinch of creativity?
If your answer is yes to any of these, then Upcycling is a great option. You probably might have come across this term before, but what exactly is upcycling?
What is upcycling?
For many of us upcycling is an unfamiliar word as it wasn’t around until the late 90s. But for the younger generation, this word is quite popular. In fact, by looking at its popularity in 2019, the Cambridge Dictionary voted upcycling as the word of the year.
Upcycling is revamping the mundane into something creative. If you have ever recreated or reused an object for something other than its only purpose, you have already upcycled it.
Often, we are reluctant to let go of obsolete things, especially when they hold a sentimental value. A simple yet interesting way to revamp these objects (so that they can be a part of our life once again) is upcycling. With upcycling, you can use the same item to create something unique and increase its lifespan.
It is a sustainable and environment-friendly alternative as the old materials destined to end up in landfills will now be repurposed. Also, it is a budget-friendly option to redesign the outdated and create something functional out of it (rather than spending money on purchasing a new set).
Here is a quick video explaining the impact of non-upcycling on the environment.
Upcycling VS Recycling
Generally, upcycling is confused with recycling, but they are not the same.
Upcycling is using the old product and redesigning it to make it usable. It gives the old product an equal or higher quality of use than before. Here, the upcyclers or DIYers use their imagination and creativity to make the outdated product attractive and reusable.
Recycling is scrapping the old product entirely and processing it to a new one from the scrap. In recycling, the old product is no more in its original form.
Here is a video giving a brief explanation of the difference between upcycling and recycling
Upcycling does not always mean changing the function. For instance, you don’t need to turn a trunk into a table. At times all you need to do is make the object look prettier and enhance it in some way while making it more suitable for use.
This Instagram post shows how you can breathe life into old furniture.
Upcycling is simple, and anyone can do it with a touch of creativity and innovation. To start with, find inspiration from the things around you. It can be a piece of broken furniture, mirrors, cans, bottles, an old cupboard, or anything that is expired or discarded.
The best part about upcycling things yourself is, you can refurbish them according to your tastes and add textures/colors that suit your choice. Here are 10-brilliant upcycling ideas you can use to brighten any room.
|Repurpose Wine bottle
|Guest room Pendant Light
|Repurpose Coffee Table
|Study room desk
|Repurpose a Simple Delivery box
|Repurpose Old Colanders
|Outdoor garden planters
|Repurpose chipped Mugs
|Creative Kitchen Wall Hangings
|Repurpose Bicycle rim
|Livingroom Wall Clock
|Repurpose Old trunk
|Kids Room Toy Box
|Repurpose Leftover wood
|Repurpose Plastic Cans
|Garage Trash Cans
|Repurpose Tree Stump
|Bedroom Side table
To help you get a better home design, we have shortlisted these Top-6 unique upcycling trash to treasure ideas. Have fun!
DIY upcycled furniture ideas
Most DIYers first move to furniture when it comes to upcycling as there are more options to explore. Such as repainting old furniture to give it a fresh look, using old wooden doors to make dining table tops, turning an unused table into a decorative wall photo frame, and more.
1. Upcycled patio furniture – mini bench
The good news is that most patio furniture sets have wood pieces, metal, and plastic which is considered a good material for recycling. You can use these pieces for creating basic indoor furniture such as a repurpose coffee table, kitchen shelves, vintage chalkboard, and a lot more.
Here is a quick DIY of how you can turn patio chairs into a comfy mini bench within a few hours.
Step 1: Cut off the chair seats, and front legs
Step 2: Create a single bench seat by attaching the two chairs. You can also add a bottom shelf for extra storage.
Step 3: Repaint it with amazing color.
Step 4: Now, add matching cushions, and our mini-bench is ready!
Not only do you get to repurpose furniture but, you also get lovely bench seating.
2. Upcycled bedroom furniture- porch swing
You can use your old bed for multiple repurposing functions, such as transforming it into a repurposing bookshelf, a workbench, a small pet bed, or even making a gorgeous console table.
But before that, who likes to swing on the porch with a cup of coffee on sunny days? We all do. Here is a quick DIY to upcycle an old unused bed into a porch swing.
Use the bed wood to create sturdy seating on the porch. Also, extending a metal/ wooden bed frame at the back of the swing would add a royal and elegant feel to it. Complete the look with vibrant hues and add cushions for comfort.
3. Upcycled oil drum – radiant pendant lights
Every year millions of steel oil drums are thrown out, and research says that only 47% of steel is recycled in the USA.
But many of us have barrels stored or lying in the storehouse, which might not be useful. With upcycling, these oil drums can transform into beautiful furniture pieces for home design, such as pendant lights.
If your perfect kitchen still seems incomplete, chances are a pendant lamp will work the magic. These pendant lights are budget-friendly, easy to do, and once done, we are sure they’ll steal the spotlight! Here are the DIY steps for making a pendant lamp from an oil barrel.
First, Cut the barrel into three sections equally. Take the base section and drill some space to let the bulb in. Next, repaint the desired color to that section of the barrel and add light connection. Now your stylish barrel pendant light is ready to be suspended from the ceiling. These lights are best suited at the center creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.
- You can use barrels without cutting if you have a high ceiling space.
- Also, you can use this barrel-light with a stand as a lamp next to your bed.
4. Upcycled fruit crates – alluring home shelves
It is amusing how simple things can add tremendous value to our homes – fruit crates being a fine example. Upcycling can turn a regular fruit crate into extraordinary endearing storage.
Now smart storage will not only organize but also make your home aesthetically appealing!
Here is how you can do it!
Clean the crates and paint them (let them dry). Next, stack them upon one another in creative patterns. Now, mount them on the wall creating a floating shelf. Doing this will not only save your space but also add a modern look to the room.
- You can use varied sizes of crates to make it look artistically pleasing.
- To avoid making them look cluttered, do not fill the shelves completely. Instead, empty a few boxes to keep flowers or decorative showpieces for fancy display.
5. Upcycled tire – outdoor seating
Discarding tires is a huge problem for the environment. A study states that in the United States, 250 million tires are discarded every year. This causes a serious disposal problem and burning them releases toxic fumes.
To improve this, each one of us can take efforts such as upcycling the tires to create captivating home interiors.
Here is a clever DIY upcycling idea for making lovely outdoor seating from unused tires.
Step 1: Measure your tire’s diameter and cut plywood a couple of inches less than the tire.
Step 2: Now, add a sponge or cushion to one of the plywood and stick them on one of the tires.
Step 3: Take another tire and stick it to the base of the first tire.
Step 4: Attach a wooden backrest and armrest from an old chair.
You can also make the seating with a strong nylon rope. Here is a video for the same.
6. Upcycled tins – stunning flower planters for your kitchen garden
Tins are available in every household and are an excellent material to upcycle. With just a little creativity, you can transform these tins into captivating indoor fancy showpieces or a flower vase.
To start with, clean the tins with normal soap water and then polish them with sandpaper. Now, spray a layer of primer and let it dry. Until then, look out for designs you wish to paint. Next, paint your design and let it dry completely.
For the final stage, fill the tins halfway with wet soil, add flowers, add a layer of wet soil (again), and your flower pots are ready to blossom.
- Prefer using easy-to-open or pop-up lids to avoid rough edges.
- Apply gravel at the base before adding soil to avoid leakage
The best thing about upcycling is the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment for transforming waste into something useful. You will feel proud to have remodeled an object that might have ended up in the landfill.