Experts Share 12 Upcycling Projects for Your Home

Do you have unused items hidden away in your closets? Or maybe an old dresser that is falling apart? Instead of letting your items go to waste, why not attempt an upcycling project? Upcycling is a process that takes old, unused materials and refashions them into something new and usable. 

To help you get started, Redfin reached out to experts across North America, from San Jose, CA to Calgary, AB, including us, to share our best upcycling projects. From repurposing old glass bottles to transforming old metal grating, keep reading to see what we had to say.

Check out From Trash to Treasure: Experts Share 12 Upcycling Projects for Your Home.

1) Thrift outdoor lighting to improve your home’s aesthetic 

Why spend upwards of up to $300 on new light fixtures when you can do it for a fraction of the cost? I thrifted two identical outdoor light fixtures for $7.99 each. I didn’t like the grey metal they came with but loved the shape and style. But with one can of spray paint and an hour of work, I had two brand-new-looking outdoor light fixtures. – A Wandaful Thing 

2) Create beautiful garden art with old glass bottles

Take old glass bottles and upcycle them into beautiful and long-lasting garden art. These offbeat and quirky house numbers were made from recycled wine bottles and add lots of personality to your home. – Curious Mondo

3) Use stencils to paint designs

One of the easiest ways to update your home is with stencils and paint. Not only can you use stencils to create a modern accent wall, but you can also use them on furniture, pillows, and old ceramic flooring. Instead of ripping up old tiles and replacing them, you can paint and stencil right over them for an updated look. – One Handy Momma

4) Install a plate wall to elevate your space

Do you have vintage plates or family heirloom china hiding in storage? Plate walls are one of the easiest, most impactful, and eco-friendly upcycling projects you can do to elevate any space in your home. Give new life to these old treasures by arranging and hanging them on your wall. – The Brooklyn Teacup  

5) Turn scrap wood into new furniture 

Do you have old wood furniture taking dust in the basement or attic? A bit of unscrewing, sanding, and cutting can give you enough wood to create your dream desk, shelves, or a bench without spending a penny. Seal your new creation with hemp oil and add a touch of color by mixing in some earth pigments or applying a few layers of milk paint. You’ll end up with a stunning eco-friendly and VOC-free finish. – Marianne Faguy 

6) Repurpose an old metal grating to create storage

A broken laundry cart was used as vertical storage by mounting it to the wall. You can also use clothespins to make it a message board or add curtain clips with hooks to hang small things like paint tubes. Empty plastic gelato containers clipped in a row and along the bottom keep pens, pencils, paper clips, and scissors tidy and organized. – Crossing Light Studio

7) Transform the mood of a room with a mural 

While not everyone is able to commit to painting a wall with a bold mural, painting the design on larger pieces of furniture instead of a wall is a great way to achieve the same effect without the commitment. I like to stack pine cabinets to create a large, flat surface for painting, but a mural can go on any piece of furniture. – EC Mazur

8) Use tempered glass to create new furniture pieces 

Over the last fifty years, I developed several ways to use reclaimed tempered glass to make tables, countertops, light fixtures, and sculptures – all done using no heat or large machines. – Silastial Glass Art

9) Swap plants with family, friends, and neighbors

Ask your gardening neighbors and kin if they’d like to swap cuttings or plants that can be easily rooted or divided and transplanted – like hydrangeas, hosta, ferns, and Lenten Roses. Then the next time you walk through your outdoor spaces you can think of them and find greater enjoyment in these deeply rooted relationships. – Redeem Your Ground

10) Use old books to create a floating book wall 

Upcycling is a way to create original objects with a history and provide your interior a special touch by giving old objects a new function. You could use old books as support for a stunning floating book wall. – UpcycleDZINE

11) Install durable, low-carbon concrete 

Utilize CO2-enhanced concrete additives in any concrete used inside or outside of the home which is made of waste powder feedstocks and CO2 that would have otherwise been emitted into the atmosphere. The low-carbon concrete looks and feels the same as traditional concrete, but is stronger and more durable so you can build with greener, stronger, and more durable concrete. – Carbon Upcycling Technologies

12) Create your own cleaning solution with unused fruit 

If you like the smell of citrus and love a clean home look no further than orange peels. You can create your own cleaning solution with orange, lime, or lemon peels by adding them to a jar, covering them with distilled white vinegar, closing the lid, and waiting a week (or more for a more intense smell). Once ready, pour the cleaning solution where needed, and you can now clean with your favorite scent. – Jali Fruit Co.

Bonus: Turn spare PET bottles into jewelry

You only need PET bottles (bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate), a candle, accessories, and wires/hooks. Cut them into shapes, heat them using candle heat to bend & shape them, and assemble them together with your flavor of accessory parts. – Upcycle with Jing

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