BuildDirect Blog: Life at Home

Home Decor Upcycling Ideas: New Lives For Old

Scouring the Internet is a wonderful way to find inspiration for reinventing things you might’ve thought had their day.

Just because it can’t be of use as it once was doesn’t mean you can’t turn yesteryear’s obsolete items into repurposed awesome things that are of use, and fun to have, in your modern life.

Next time you’re cruising yard sales or helping someone clear out their attic, try imagining all that “junk” as something completely different.

Here are a few of the items that most make me want to become a deconstructionist/inventor.

Rethinking a Played-Out Piano

Mrs. Amber Apple and her husband Steven found a quaint old piano on Craigslist they loved the look of, but being beyond repair, they had to get creative to find a relevant use for the old plinker.

Gutting the keys and chords, sinking an LED monitor into the face, stripping it back to its original wood, and installing some funky lighting over the work surface has turned this piano into a jaw-dropper of a whodathunkit desk.

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The “piano desk” is the latest iteration of the reinvented instrument, but others have made them art too, like those who’ve turned grand pianos into a wall-mounted bookshelf with keys intact.

A favorite piano repurposing, though, comes in form of the Piano Bar. No, not the kinda joint you’d go to see Tom Waits crooning, but a piano turned into a booze boon for your inner mixologist. Better Homes and Gardens gives you a step-by-step guide to rocking out your mixing counter.

To Luggage and Beyond

Suitcases from back in the day were meant for travel in a harder world. They’d stand up to being kicked, dropped, and shuttled around in slow-moving and inefficient transportation scenarios for days, if not weeks.

Being somewhat indestructible, and always very cool-looking, these cases are becoming a very popular home accessory because they can be repurposed in so many ways.

Try the amazing upholstered “suitcase chair,” for starters. There have been a number of suitcase chairs I’ve seen over the years, but this cushiony version is the first one that welcomes a weary traveller with great comfort.

As ottomans, suitcases are fantastic. Not only do you get a spot to rest your feet, but it’s a hiding spot for your remote controls, the book of the moment, or anything else you want to hide away, especially messy things like knitting gear.

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An old round overnight case with some legs attached, and suddenly you have a snazzy piece. Upholster your case tops to create a more upscale quirky looking ottoman.

With floating wall mounts, some folks are turning cut-in-half suitcases into floating shelves. In a spot like a larger bathroom, it could be a great way to store some towels and other items both on top and inside.Others are skipping the shelf idea and turning suitcases into wall-mounted “cabinets” for everything from beauty supplies to bar-related goods, and they all look great.

The Console TV

One of the neatest things people keep reinventing are console TVs. The intertubes are littered with great ideas for turning the large ugly wood frames of the Way-Back TV-sets into genius items relevant for today.

Obviously, removing the picture tube is essential for these projects. Do so carefully, as this can be very dangerous, and please recycle tubes at electronics centers near you. Upcycling the case is where the fun happens.

Classic reinventions include dog/cat beds and children’s puppet theaters, and they’re great, but when you get into things like the console TV converted to a fish-tank, well, it’s a whole other level of awesome.

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In the age of AMC’s Mad Men, anything ‘60s-ish that comes with a Manhattan is as trendy as it gets, which makes yet another drinks-makin’ center a killer piece almost any living room could rock: The console TV bar. Barkeep, make it a double.

But Wait, There’s More

These are just three of yesteryear’s household objects saved from landfills and turned into brilliantly fun things that suit today’s lifestyle while offering distinct looks you just can’t find from today’s manufacturers.

From paint choices to fabrics, there’s no end of ways to repurpose well-made items from decades past. Instead of looking for new solutions, try reinventing the old and celebrating your personal style and, hey, save the planet while you’re at it.

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Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty. Steffani Cameron on Google Plus.

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