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30 Upcycling Ideas From Our Favorite Designers

February 08, 2021

Embrace all the 're's — reuse, revamp, recycle and repurpose — to create a one-of-a-kind look with these designer ideas that delight in the antique, the vintage, the reclaimed and the salvaged.

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Photo: Julie Soefer. From: Marie Flanigan Interiors.

Think Creatively

Whether it's salvaged architectural elements, family hand-me-downs or your latest thrift store find, sustainable and stylish design is within reach. For example, the lavish headboard in this bedroom began as a castoff. "I upcycled the most beautiful antique architectural piece for a client’s home, adding custom upholstery to create a headboard. I love it so much, in fact, that it ended up on the cover of my debut book," says designer Marie Flanigan.

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Photo: Julie Soefer. From: Marie Flanigan Interiors.

Make It Your Own

There's a time to keep an antique in its original condition, and there's a time to strip, paint or stain and remake it. "A friend came across an incredible butcher block table at the Round Top Antiques Fair. I felt it was perfect to repurpose as an island for my guest apartment, but the color was all wrong. I had it stripped and re-stained, and I love how it turned out," said Marie Flanigan.

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Photo: Robert Peterson, Rustic White. From: Brian Patrick Flynn.

Consider Salvaged Seating

Vintage wood folding chairs, salvaged from an old theater, take a turn as an outdoor bench on the covered porch of HGTV Urban Oasis 2020. Lightweight and portable, the bench seating can be folded up and brought indoors, if needed.

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Focus on What Can Be Reused

The key to a successful upycle is to determine which parts of a piece can be salvaged. The legs on this antique butcher block were rotten, so designer Abbi Williams built a base cabinet to support the salvageable top. The 8-inch-thick butcher block now flows seamlessly with the rest of the kitchen countertops.

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