Repurposing With Purpose

Posted by Jessica Dilger on Jul 18, 2020 6:00:00 AM

With a small twist, what’s old can be new again

Charm, that’s what it’s all about. When you see an outdated decor item or piece of furniture ready to hit the scrap heap, looking at it with new appreciation can make it all the difference in how it looks, how it is used…and how it is loved.functional cubby

Every chip has a story

For years I redid furniture and or restored it to its original glory because I adored the charm that old pieces had. I love to find unusual ways to use them in my home as they were quirky, but also because every chip was a part of their story. 

 

Some blemishes may have been handed down through generations—“Yes, that cigarette burn happened the night you were born”—or maybe because the blemish, nick, or mark needs a story: 

 

“That hole in the side of the table? Oh, that was from a gunshot when your Uncle Harry thought a raccoon was inside the house trying to eat his dinner.” 

 

That the raccoon story was made up may make the piece seem for valuable, but you have to stick to it.

 

My family thought I was insane when I wanted an old dresser as my bathroom vanity. But, HELLO, it was gorgeous!

Jessica's bath vanity

 

Making it repurpose-ready

When it comes to repurposing things, no matter the project, giving it a good scrub is going to be the first thing you’ll need to do. Dust and oil can hide things you don’t initially see. Once it’s all clean you’ll know how to move forward.

 

Repurposing items to a planter, for example, is a really easy and fun project that has grown wildly popular—just make sure you have hols in the bottom for adequate drainage. There should be at the least four holes, evenly spaced but a large pot will need more. You can do this easily with a drill and a 1/4 inch drill bit, making certain you use the right drill bit for the right material, and always wear safety glasses.

 

My decor identity crisis

So let’s talk about the repurposing-with-purpose trend and think outside of the box. I’ve always been quirky in that I look at things and try and figure out what I could use them for, what could their new identity be? 

 

“Repurpose,” by definition is "to adapt for use in a different purpose.” I hate to throw anything out that could serve a purpose. Let’s just call it a Decor Identity Crisis. 

 

Looking past the dust and or logical use for an object can liven up your home in so many ways. Why?! Items that aren’t ordinary, that are unique and not everyone has them, absolutely ooze character. Let me give you some examples:

 

  • I turned an old postal cubby into an organizer in my office for all of my crafts
  • An old wooden tool box is now my gardening caddy
  • An old watering can is now a planter
  • My gorgeous new television stand was once an old buffet

 

Larger items really can hit a home run. I helped an old dresser find its new home (and identity) in our guest bathroom as a cool, hip vanity. 

white bath

Can you believe that my husband was going to scrap 90 percent of the items listed above? (Truth be told, there are things hidden all over our property waiting for the day that I find their purpose—crib rails, scrap wood, old doors, old windows, shutters, and more— but shhhhh, don’t tell my husband!)

 

What’s in your attic?

Most of us have so many items in our homes already that aren’t being used, and or haven’t yet found their future use. 

For example, you can turn those old baskets into wall art (yes, I just said wall art. Seriously, look up the trend). 

  • Do you have boots lying around that your kids have outgrown? You can flip them into cute little planters! 
  • Dated lamps? Spray paint the base and recover the shade to give it a completely new look! Some spray paints offer textures and even sparkles.
  • Left over flooring? Make a big, artistic statement piece.

 

This repurposing trend is so fun because you really can’t go wrong. 

desk organizer cubby

 

Embracing the challenge of ‘different’

You are the Maestro, the designer, and the artist. You might even be visionary—I have officially given you the power to be your own designer. 

 

Let me warn you that you might get some strange looks from your family while wielding your new found designer skills. Just don’t let it discourage you, they will come to appreciate your imaginative creations soon enough.

 

Final advice: I’m not saying to go out and buy all sorts of antique things and give them new identities, but I am challenging you to find something you already have and find a way to flip it and give a new reason for it to exist. It’s really fun!

 

Big or small, it’s an engaging adventure.

 

About the author

Jessica Dilger writes from “Shoo Fly Ranch,”  a homesteaded acreage in southwest Washington state where she lives with her family, 30 or so chickens, 14 cows, two bottle calves, and two new goats named Ben & Jerry. She also operates FM Farmhouse, a quarterly decor subscription box program.

 

 

 

 

Tags: The Fabulous Farmhouse

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