By definition, to repurpose is “to change (something) so that it can be used for a different purpose” (Merriam-Webster). The population (and thus interior design world) has been taken by storm by the concept. Reality TV shows have capitalized on (or sparked?) it. Pinterest boards, Etsy shops, Houzz categories, and Instagram hashtags have been created around it. Talented and creative craftspersons and upholsterers are delivering unique takes on the concept. There is no slowing down this train and as old items from days past continue to retire from their original stations new furnishings and accents are hitting the market in succession. Our own recent article on sustainable trends in interior design inspired us to go further and look into other exciting uses of the concept. Today, we share those discoveries with you.
10 Repurposed Furnishing and Decor Ideas to Inspire the Interior Design of Your Home
1. Desk or Vanity as a Bathroom Sink
image: Houzz Repurposed Furniture
Find a vintage office desk or bedroom vanity that you’re in love with? Repurpose it as a bathroom sink! Not only does it look amazing, the built-in functionality of drawers and/or cabinet doors makes it an efficient addition to your bathroom design.
2. Industrial Pallet as Shelving
Old wooden pallets repurposed as reclaimed-wood coffee tables is becoming a common site. But there are other ways to reimagine this industrial timber. For instance, the wood of a pallet can be broken down and redesigned as a shelving unit to display your favorite selections of anything that will fit, wine included. Be sure to keep the natural stain of the pallet intact, to maintain the intended theme.
3. Window Frame as a Mirror
Window frames provide a tremendous source of inspiration. Swapping out window panes for mirrors of the same cut is a logical evolution of the repurposing concept. The more patina built-up on the aged frame the better the look, but even a newer frame can be used, stained, and repainted with vintage zeal.
4. Window Frame as a Floating Picture Frame
An old window skeleton can also receive a second life as a floating picture frame. This ready-made project requires nothing more than a sectioned window frame, an transparent adhesive, your favorite photos, and the perfect wall or mantle to place it upon.
5. Door at the Head and/or Foot of the Bed
Doors from heritage buildings and industrial warehouses can also be repurposed. One especially creative vision takes the project into the bedroom. A door can be given an upholstery treatment and affixed to your bed frame as a headboard. Bookending your mattress by repurposing an old door as a bench footboard fully commits to the theme. Soon enough you’ll be opening your bedroom door more often to show off this truly unique look.
6. Vintage Suitcase as a Console Table
If you’ve been bitten by the wanderlust bug then you’ll fall in love with this upcycling option. Old flat-topped suitcases are easy enough to find in your local vintage, antique, or curio shop. Find one with limited or no exterior damage and have it outfitted as a console table. You can enhance the aesthetic by having the suitcase painted or re-upholstered. Also consider having the inside material or print updated so that you can leave it open for added visual impact. One of the benefits of repurposing an old suitcase as console table is that it provides you with additional storage space for those quick-grab items (keys, gloves, etc.) needed by the hallway door.
7. Bed Headboard as a Entryway Bench
Reimagine an old bedroom headboard by repositioning it as the backrest of an entryway bench. If repurposing an entire bed you can use the legs and/or a portion of the frame to build the entire bench for a consistent look and feel.
8. Dining Room Chairs Combined into a Bench
Don’t let a broken chair in a quartet ruin your favorite set. Repurpose the remaining three with yet another inventive way to add bench seating in your home. Remove the individual seats and connect the piece with a long plank, upholstered or painted, and add a few throw pillows for comfort.
9. Piano Retuned as a Shelving Unit
Due to its girth a hollowed-out baby grand piano holds grand design inspiration. With the cords removed and the interior refurbished leveled boards can be added to create an organically flowing shelving unit. The result is a big statement piece that will have your room singing a brand new tune.
10. Clawfoot Bathtub as a Sofa
image: RuffHouseArt at Etsy.com
You’ll be hard pressed to find a better conversation piece than this. A clawfoot bathtub already has the legs in place and a shape conducive to human form and comfort. By having a professional saw-out one side and affixing a custom-shaped seating cushion with pillows and a fresh coat of paint you tap into one the most unique concepts in repurposed seating. In the end you’ll have a cozy living-room tub for two or a place to recline on your own with a good book and a glass of wine.
There is no formula to repurposing as an interior design concept, aside from an utter devotion to creativity. Have you come across some inspirational repurposed interior design ideas that you’d like to share? Follow our Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and or Google+ page and let us know about them! For all other interior design needs in the Greater Vancouver area contact us at 604.986.2080.