Vintage repurposing gives new life to old items in unexpected ways. The sky’s the limit when it comes to potential uses for old yardsticks, plant stands, screen doors, gardening tools, and buckets. Flea markets are treasure troves and local thrift shops are a forager’s paradise.
Pinterest and Tumblr® brim with creative ideas for transforming goods that have seen better days. A chunk of ancient, red barn siding becomes a wall hanging. Old metal bedsprings take on a second life as a wine rack.
Each salvaged piece comes with a story – a history that may be known or can only be imagined.
DIY and home decor bloggers specialize in “repurposing” and “upcycling.” Some do it for fun. Others do it for a living, selling their wares in shops and online boutiques such as Etsy™, which is an Internet haven for buyers and sellers of repurposed goods.
The repurposing trend has even hit reality TV. Ever watch “Flea Market Flip” on HGTV®? Contestants vie for the most creative trash-to-treasure items, which they repurpose and then sell to the highest bidder.
South African designer Katie Thompson of REcreate has a special flair for transforming the ordinary to the extraordinary. She calls herself a “hoarder of all things useless, impractical, broken, colorful, and shiny.”
Among Thompson’s innovative designs are stunning, one-of-a-kind chairs recycled from vintage suitcases.
“I’m sure we will eventually run out of suitcases, which is fine. People will always be throwing things away. So maybe in 10 or 20 years, my business will be making things from old laptops or cellphones,” she said. “There will always be something to repurpose.”
Beverly McCullough is a self-proclaimed “California girl, wife, and mom” who loves to create. She authors the Flamingo Toes blog and newsletter.
“I love creating new things out of old or vintage items. It gives them new life, and it’s so fun to find new ways to use antiques or thrift-store finds that people don’t want anymore,” she said.
She especially enjoys the thrill of putting a new twist on retro styles.
“It saves money to repurpose items from thrift stores. I don’t feel so bad about repainting furniture or cutting into grandma’s doilies when they aren’t my grandma’s doilies,” she said.
McCullough’s favorite repurposed item is her Silverware Starburst Mirror (make one yourself tutorial).
“The silverware was from a set we received as a wedding gift but didn’t use anymore,” she said. “I love that the silverware decorates this sweet mirror, and I can see it every day.”
McCullough once spotted an old, chicken-wire door at a garage sale for $5.
“I may have hurdled several small children to snag it before someone else did,” McCullough joked.
She painted some oak frames and added simple vases that hold fresh flowers for the unique wall hanging.