8 Creative Upcycling Interior Design Ideas that Are Actually Easy to Do

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These days, upcycling is all the rage. A quick look through Pinterest will reveal more bikes transformed into bathroom sinks than you can shake a stick at. Much of the upcycling trend is fascinating and inspiring, not to mention great for the environment. It also means that you can fill your home with beautiful items that no-one else will have.

However, most of us don’t have the first idea how to turn a bicycle into a sink stand. Read on for ideas on how to upcycle that won’t require a degree in design to figure out.

1. Chevron Wall Art

Chevrons are huge right now, so adding a few to your home décor will ensure you’re bang on trend. Here’s how to create a bold piece of wall art in a chevron design for next to nothing:

  1. Make use of those old shoe boxes by painting the lids with a coat or two of white paint – make sure you paint the sides of the lids, too – then allow them to dry.
  2. Use some masking tape to mark off a chevron design, and take a brightly coloured paint to fill in the gaps. The end result will look just like a collection of chic canvases!
  3. Try to use a selection of different sized lids, and display them together for an even more interesting result.

Chevron Wall Art

Chevron Monogram Canvas Wall Art by Catherine MacDonald (see more of Catherine's handmade décor at her Etsy store, Golden Paisley).

2. Wallpapered Staircase

Got some old scraps of pretty wallpaper that you’re hanging onto? Why not make use of them on your staircase? The end result can look very striking. If you don’t have enough for each step, consider alternating paint with wallpaper – that way you can use up your tins of leftover paint, too!

3. Picture Frame Serving Tray

Turn a large old picture frame into a kooky serving tray. Just display a pretty piece of wallpaper or your favourite photo under the glass or plastic, and hey presto! To make it easier to hold, consider adding an interesting drawer knob to each side of the tray to give you something to grip onto.

4. DIY Ladder Shelves

Old ladders can be repurposed into shelves in a number of different ways. Firstly, decide whether you want to paint your ladders for a fresh look, or retain their rustic charm – if they’ve been standing outside or in a dusty garage for any length of time, you may wish to give them a good scrub or even a quick sanding down to get rid of the grotty bits.

Standing step ladders (the sort that stand up without being leaned on anything) can be made into shelves pretty easily – just nail a board of wood from rung to rung. Be sure to measure the length of each step first, as each will be different!

Regular ladders – the kind that you need someone else to hold if you climb them – can also be turned into shelves. This useful tutorial explains how to attach ladders to your wall to hold books and trinkets, or if you have high ceilings you could even hang the ladders horizontally and attach hooks underneath to hang kitchen utensils on!

Ladder Shelves

Image credit: naturallycre8tive

5. Bottle Cap Tea Lights

If you’re a fan of bottled drinks, chances are you end up with dozens of bottle caps littering your kitchen. Why not put them to good use by turning them into quirky tea lights?

All you’ll need to make your candles is some old candle wax or crayons, pre-waxed wicks and an old pot or tin in which to melt down the crayons or wax in a pan of hot water.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Place the old wax or crayons into the tin or pot, and place the pot into a pan of boiling water until it has melted.
  2. Add a blob of wax to each bottle cap, then stick in a long piece of wick.
  3. Fill the cap to the brim with more wax (use a jug or something with a spout for easier pouring).
  4. Leave to set for a few hours, then trim the wicks to the desired length.
  5. Display your candles!

This tutorial offers a more in depth explanation on how to create your own bottle cap tea lights, as well as tips on which caps to discard.

Bottle Cap Tea Lights

Image credit: Newsiosity

6. Cork Board Ideas

Cork is a wonderfully versatile material – in fact, you can create all sorts of useful new items with it!

  • Got some tired old cork coasters lying around? Cover them with some pretty fabric using a glue gun, and attach a picture hook so you can hang them on the wall and hey presto – decorative mini corkboards! These are so easy and simple to create, you could even make one for each member of your family!
  • If you find that your necklaces and earrings can quickly become a tangled mess, why not repurpose an old corkboard into a jewellery organiser? A quick lick of paint and a few pretty pins later, and you’ll have a beautiful and practical item for your dressing table.
  • If you’re a fan of a nice drop of wine, consider saving up all of those corks and using them to create an unusual noticeboard – all you’ll need is an old frame, some glue and perhaps a bit of plywood for the backing.

Wine Cork Board

Image credit: Andrew Smith

7. Marble Fence

Even old toys can be used in a new way with a little ingenuity. If you’ve got a wooden fence, you may find that there are a few holes the neighbours can use to peep through into your garden. However, with a few marbles, you can put an end to their nosey habits!

Simply plug each hole with an appropriately sized marble, and you’ll be able to maintain your privacy and make your fence look super pretty at the same time. In fact, when the marbles catch the light they can look so pretty that you might even want to make a few extra holes on purpose!

8. Hat Lampshade

If you’ve got an old, sturdy hat that you no longer wear, don’t take it to the charity shop just yet. It could make a wonderfully unusual table lampshade! Bowler hats and top hats are particularly good for this purpose – why not add a little glitter or a string of sequins to give it a real West End feel?

Rice Hat Lampshade

Posted in DIY, Interior Design, Uncategorized on 5th Dec 2014

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