25 Ways to Upcycle Your Old Stuff

The best things in life are (nearly) free. See how you can upcycle your old stuff into something beautiful and functional.

  • Mobile Container Garden

    Trash Can Planters

    If you're a beginner gardener and don't know how much sunlight each plant needs, consider making your garden mobile. To do this, attach casters to galvanized metal trash cans and fill with your favorite flowers.

  • Kid-Sized Coat Rack

    Porch Rail Coat Rack

    An old porch rail works great as a functional coat rack for a mudroom or kid's room. All it needs is fresh paint and hooks.

  • Country Blue Bathroom Vanity

    Old Cabinet With Antique Charm

    The key to upcycling is being able to see the beauty in an old, damaged piece of furniture. Erinn Valencich found an old cabinet at a flea market and repurposed it as an antique bathroom vanity, bringing a charming look to this bathroom.

  • Shutter Headboard

    Shutter Headboard

    Layla Palmer added visual height to her bedroom by placing old wooden shutters behind her bed. To give them a coastal, cottage look, paint them in fresh, light colors. For added visual effect, alternate the colors of each shutter.

  • Mason Jar Lantern

    Mason Jar Lanterns

    Creating a soft, intimate glow in your yard is simpler than you think. To illuminate your outdoor space, place tea light candles in Mason jars and hang them with shepherd's hooks.

  • Vibrant Children's Desk Area

    Stair-Post Kid's Desk

    The best part of upcycling is taking an old piece of furniture and creating a custom-made piece with new life. Designer Brian Patrick Flynn made a colorful kid's desk using old stair posts and stain-grade plywood — the perfect spot for a kid to do homework.

  • Rustic Repurposed Art

    Repurposed Art

    Upcycling can be as simple as placing a frame around an architectural object, bringing new life to it as a stunning piece of art. Here Brian framed an old barn door and placed it over the bed to create a focal point.

  • Colorful Clips with Yardstick Decor

    Ruler Clip-Art Rail

    You probably have several rulers and yardsticks in your kid's school supplies stash. Get use out of some of them by gluing colorful clothespins to them and hanging them on the wall. You can use the clothespins to hang your kid's art projects and good grades.

  • Stylish Pink Bedroom Nightstand

    Bold Nightstand

    Don't know what to do with that small, damaged table? Brian cut a table in half and painted it a bright color to give the tiny piece a bold look.

  • Stylish Bathroom Vanity

    Door Knocker Knobs

    Door knockers add an intricate look to your home's exterior. Bring them indoors by giving them new purpose as knobs on your bathroom vanity or kitchen cabinets.

  • Cute Children's Kitchen Area

    Bookshelf Turned Kid's Play Kitchen

    You would never guess that the base of this kid's play kitchen is an old bookshelf. To get the look, use a cake pan as the sink and painted wooden play blocks as the faucet. Slide playful fabric on a tension rod, and place it in the shelf opening to create a sink skirt.

  • Bench Side Tables

    Bench End Table

    Layla Palmer transformed an old bench into a vintage end table. Using a bench provides plenty of surface space and storage underneath.

  • Sunburst Mirror Brightens up the Room

    Nature-Inspired Sunburst Mirror

    Collect sticks and twigs of varying lengths next time you're hanging out in your backyard. Glue them to a round mirror and spray-paint in your desired color to create a contemporary sunburst mirror.

  • Unique Shutter Sofa Table

    Shutter Sofa Table

    Shutters are key design elements in cottage style. Many people repurpose them as wall art or headboards. Layla used a shutter as the top surface of a sofa table to bring in soft lines common in cottage design.

  • Stylish Wallpapered Vanity

    Wallpaper Vanity

    Wallpaper isn't just for your walls. Brian updated an old bathroom vanity with vinyl wallpaper — it gives any outdated bathroom a fresh, new look.

  • Red and White Dining Room

    Eclectic Dining Chairs

    Flea markets are full of seating options, but they rarely come in sets. Brian suggests buying chairs in different styles and painting and upholstering them in the same shade and fabric. The mix-and-match chairs will bring an eclectic look, but the color will unify them.

  • Precious Pink Bed

    Daybed With a Crib Mattress

    If you're updating an old nursery, repurpose the crib mattress into a daybed for a cozy spot to read a book or for overnight guests.

  • White Kitchen with Blue Walls

    Painted Brass Chandelier

    Brass is a beautiful metal, but it may not fit in with your home's contemporary design. Brian painted this brass chandelier white to coordinate with the kitchen cabinets.

  • Kids' Craft Station

    The Junk Gypsies sisters created a kids' mobile craft station using an old wooden spool. They attached wooden dowels to separate the stations and screwed on jar lids underneath the top surface to hold crafting tools.

  • Recycle Products to Help with Organization

    Cardboard Drawer Dividers

    Keep the packaging next time you buy a product. You can use the cardboard to create drawer dividers — they work great for socks, ties, jewelry or scarves.

  • Wine Bottle Table Lamp

    Lighting is one of the easiest things to upcycle. You can turn practically any hollow object into a lighting source if you wire it. The Junk Gypsies sisters turned a large vintage wine bottle into an antique-inspired table lamp.

  • Outdoor Room Divider

    License Plate Room Divider

    Sometimes the items you collect make the perfect objects for upcycling. If you love collecting license plates, attach them to metal chains to create a vintage room divider. You can use it to divide a basement, outdoor space or studio apartment.

  • Piano Coffee Table

    The Junk Gypsies sisters love scouring thrift shops for treasures, like this set of piano keys. They added a wooden frame and legs and topped them with a piece of plexiglass to create a coffee table that fits right in a music or theater room.

  • Vintage Sign

    Outdoor Buffet Table

    Use some sandpaper and spray paint to transform an old, damaged dresser that's been collecting dust in your attic into a buffet table or bar area perfect for an outdoor sitting room.

  • Lab Container Coffee Table

    Don Short of West End Salvage used acryclic lab boxes from the '70s to make a sturdy coffee table. He stacked them in a spiral design and topped it with glass, proving you can make any unattractive object into a work of art.

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