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Little Green Details: Repurposing When Designing Rooms in Your Home


There is so much crap at the chain stores that can get you thinking you need to spend hundreds if not thousands to design the rooms in your home, that you need to buy new to provide function and a nice aesthetic, or that in order to add 'character', you need to use materials that increase your carbon footprint.


Of course we know that's not true, but sometimes we get lazy and forget that so many things are easier than we might think, if we just stop, take a breath, and ask the question - what can I do with what I already have? Or, what can I repurpose to create what I need? Here are some of the ways I've come up with over the years to reuse, repurpose, and redecorate...

  • Nightlight: When our plans to become parents crashed and burned, I moved our beautiful recycled glass nightlight...into the bathroom. There is nothing worse than having to turn on a bright bathroom light in the middle of the night, so this ended up being a perfect solution to add visibility while not blinding us. These can be found at Uncommon Goods, if you're curious.

  • Jute Runners: Back on the farm, when we rebuilt our primary suite from scratch, none of the standard rug sizes would work to fit under our bed, yet we still wanted something soft to set foot on when getting out of bed. The solution? Repurpose two 6' jute runners we had! I've always adored jute rugs, so this was an awesome - and gorgeous - update. Learn more about how jute is made HERE.

  • Glass Doorknob: In my first city home, I'd salvaged a door that was going away, and reused it to make a outdoor table at the time, removing the glass doorknob that came on it and setting it aside...for years. I knew I'd eventually find a cool way to repurpose it (but not in a hoard-y way), and sure enough, when we got to the farm and the half bath had an ugly brass knob on an old lovely door? Its purpose became evident! Here's some other cool ways to reuse doorknobs.

  • Galvanized Plant Buckets: When I remodeled our bathroom, one of the things I wanted was inexpensive ways to keep bathroom goods, from toiletries to TP, both organized AND easily accessible. Nothing better than the garden aisle at our local Goodwill to snag a variety of thin galvanized garden buckets/tubs/etc. - I got 3 different ones for under $10, tossed 'em in the dishwasher to clean up, and BAM! Bathroom storage.

  • TP Storage: Back at the farm, our guest bathroom was the last room to get remodeled, and 'Pinspiration' helped incredibly in designing this insanely easy wall-mount TP storage. Always the one with scrap wood in our barn, I snagged a couple pieces of scrap window trim, our handy dandy Ryobi nailer, wood glue, and some white paint, and built a rectangle! Too easy.

  • Spice Rack: Probably my favorite repurposing project of all time was in my first home, one that was built in 1925 and, even though it was more of a cottage than a bungalow, still had some interesting little design elements. The kitchen clearly used to have a built-in ironing board...yet the last owner never did anything with the space beyond put a few knick-knacks on the two existing shelves! It very quickly called 'spice rack' out to me, and I used some scrap wood again to build additional shelves, just tall enough to hold spice jars. FYI, I got my glass spice jars at World Market almost 20 years ago and adore them. It also allows me to add my own cool labels AND, even better, refill them in the bulk aisle, saving a TON!

There are so many ways to look at what you have (or what's in a thrift store) when adding those little details to rooms in your home, and avoid buying new. Use that money you saved for something way more important in your life...and in ways that won't contribute to your carbon footprint.

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