9 Unique Ways to Decorate Your Home Sustainably


Hate throwing things away? Love a crafty Sunday afternoon? Then you’ll adore this list of upcycling projects.

Upcycling is the art of ‘reusing an object in such a way as to create a product of higher value or quality than the original’ (thanks, Wikipedia!). This form of recycling is a sustainable solution to our waste problem. Our landfills are filling up with 280m tonnes of waste a year (in Britain alone), and our environment is taking the strain.

So why are we throwing away perfectly good stuff? Why toss a tatty but functional piece of furniture or old clothes when with a little elbow grease you can turn them into something beautiful?

Feeling inspired to tackle an upcycling project of your own? Here are 9 ideas:


1. Pallet Table

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Wooden pallets (yes, the ones used to transport goods) are an upcycler’s favourite. There is, quite literally, thousands of ways to reuse this humble object.

Pallet projects are all over Instagram and Pinterest at the moment. People are turning them into charmingly rustic pieces of furniture with a few simple hacks. One of the easiest projects is a low coffee table; just add legs (made from a second pallet or hijacked from another piece of old furniture.)


2. Teacup Candle

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Candles make a house a home. They add ambience, warmth and brighten up even the darkest of winter evenings. This project takes an object you’ll find in droves at the local charity shop and upcycles it into a stylish candle holder.

All you need to do is melt leftover/unused wax (follow these instructions to ensure you do this safely) and pour into a teacup. These also make fantastic gifts!


3. Upcycled Dresser

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Old furniture can become something glorious with a few minor repairs and a lick of paint. Take the dresser pictured, for example. Hundreds of similar ones can be found on websites like Gumtree for cheap (or even free).

They might be a bit old fashioned, covered in scratches or in a colour that doesn't match the rest of your interior decoration. But that doesn't matter, because with a bit of sandpaper and a coat of paint you can turn it into something you’ll love. Here’s a simple guide to upcycling dressers.


4. Recycled Vases

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Old glass jars and bottles can be given a new lease of life as a vase. Separate bouquets of flowers and place just a few stems in each ‘vase’ for a delicately stylish look.

We love grouping vases together (as in the image above) along a window sill or on a side table. Glass vessels of all shapes and sizes can be picked up in charity shops, at boot sales and flea markets. Why not start a collection today?


5. Vintage Wall Art

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The gallery wall is the latest trend in interior design. They’re usually made up of framed photographs and art, but any treasured item or eye-catching object works.

In the image above, the home-owner has displayed vintage cameras and vinyl alongside framed art. On the next wall, antlers hang next to an ornate mirror. It’s an eclectic and eccentric collection but it works!

This is an excellent way to display your favourite items – think outside the box and don’t be afraid to hang items you wouldn't normally see on a wall!


6. Fabric Bunting

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Bunting is a cheap and cheerful way to brighten up a corner of your home. This bright décor can be hung across the mantel, strung along the bed frame or displayed in the kid’s room. There’s no limit to where it can go.

You can make bunting from vintage fabric, old bedsheets and clothes that no longer fit. We like the idea of turning the children’s old clothes into a beautiful keepsake.

If you have some sewing skills (and a sewing machine), this tutorial is for you. If you have NO sewing skills, try this one instead.


7. Paint Plastic Animals

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If you have children, you’ve probably got hundreds of these plastic toys hanging about. And we bet the kids played with them once, declared them their favourite toy ever, and then... never played with them again.

Rather than throw them away, spray them pink (or gold, blue, orange etc) and glue to the lid of glass jars for really cool stationary storage. Alternatively, use them as decor around the home – they make particularly fun table settings at dinner parties!


8. Bottle Chandelier

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A shimmering chandelier isn’t out of reach! You can make your own with beer bottles - or any other glass bottle for that matter.

You’ll need to collect or commandeer a handful of bottles (another good reason to have a cold one after a hard day’s work). This video tutorial uses simple hardware and some basic DIY skills to create this cool light, perfect for any man cave.


9. Vintage Plate Art

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Finally, a use for those plates in your grandma’s cupboard!

These beautiful old plates have been given a modern twist with stylish typography and sweet sayings. You can use porcelain paint to draw on a design by hand, or print designs onto decal paper and stick onto the plate.

You can get really creative here with images, quotes and even photographs! Then hang a whole wall of upcycled plates for a modern take on an old trend.


Where to Find Items

If you’re not using items you already own, here are some of the best places to source goods ripe for upcycling!

Charity Shops – Found on every high street, charity shops are full to the brim with items, some more unusual than others. An afternoon of browsing is sure to inspire some ideas!

Car Boot Sales – There’s nothing like an early Sunday morning trip to the car boot for a spot of bargain hunting. Find your local one here.

Local Craft Fairs – If crafting isn't your thing, find upcycled projects made by skilled hands at one of the UK’s many craft fairs. Full list of fairs can be found here.

Jumble Trail – A modern take on the jumble sale, find full details here.

Online – Gumtree, eBay, FreeCycle, Craigslist and many more!



We hope this article has inspired you to decorate your home sustainably by upcycling. It’s such a wonderful way to re-purpose objects that would otherwise end up in the landfill. And remember - one man's trash is another man's treasure!

Posted in Accessories, DIY, Homemaking, Interior Design, Lifestyle on 26th Feb 2016


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