Creative Do-It-Yourself Projects for Repurposing Old Furniture
This is a sponsored post by Dane O’Leary.
There are many reasons why you might want to take used, worn furnishings and repurpose them into creative vintage treasures. For one thing, recycling furniture prevents pieces that could be perfectly usable and still have plenty of life left in them from going to waste. For another, repurposing used furnishings in creative, new ways can add charm and character to your home in a way that most new furniture can’t. What’s more, turning something old into something new gives you the opportunity to reinterpret pieces in innovative ways while changing and refreshing their look to reflect your individual personality and style. And it can be a lot of fun, too!
Here are some great do-it-yourself projects for turning the forgotten into beautiful furnishings that are sure to turn heads.
Vintage Chest-of-Drawers Kitchen Island
One of the most difficult — and rewarding — furnishings to use in a totally new, inventive way are larger pieces chests-of-drawers. It’s easy enough to repaint or refinish them, making them beautiful again, then using them for their intended purposes in a bedroom or guest room. While this is a great way to give a used piece new life, this isn’t exactly the epitome of innovation. Using a large chest-of-drawers as a kitchen island is an incredibly innovative new use for one of the most common furniture cast-offs. They’re a staple of second-hand furniture stores, yard sales, antique stores, local newspaper ads and even Craigslist. You can buy them for a very reasonable price, but if you already have one to use that’s even better.
Via House Beautiful
Chances are that a used piece will need some attention in order to return to its former state of glory, which will likely entail sanding it down to refinish or repaint it. Then you can either attach whatever material you used for your kitchen counters so that the surface of your vintage island will match, or your could use something like butcher block to set your island apart from the rest of your kitchen. The drawers will give you extra storage and once the facelift is complete, the chest-of-drawers will look perfectly at-home and quite stunning as your new kitchen island.
Shabby-Chic Ladder Shelves
Antique ladders are everywhere. There vary in size from two-step foot ladders to being taller than an adult, but that variety is actually an asset to this do-it-yourself repurposing project, if you can even call it a project. Turning a ladder into shelves can be a simple or detailed as you want it to be. You could simple lean the ladder of your choice against the wall and start to place your books and decor on it like the steps are shelves, or you could might prefer to get creative with your ladder shelves.
There are several ways that you can personalize your new shabby-chic shelves. Perhaps most obviously, you could paint the ladder. You could either do this carefully, making sure you cover every single nook and cranny in the wood, or you could do a quick once-over with a roller and let the wood imperfections create a sort of pattern or texture with the paint. Other options include sanding and staining the ladder, doing a crackle-finish paint effect, stenciling patterns or designs onto the ladder, or “upholstering” the ladder in fabric. Of course, there’s also nothing wrong with giving the ladder a good cleaning and leaving it as is.
If you have more than one large ladder, you might consider turning them into corner shelves for books like the ladder pictured here. While even using just one is effective, using more than one by stacking them one over another would be a great way to give you plenty of shelving space if you have a lot of books while also being a very beautiful, one-of-a-kind wall treatment. Don’t worry if they have paint spatter on them because that’s only going to add to the look.
Repurposed Vintage Lockers
You’ve probably seen people use those vintage school lockers in their home to create more storage while adding an element of unexpected fun. Repurposing vintage lockers isn’t very difficult, but oftentimes the hardest part is to find the actual lockers that you want to use. The best way to find them would be to check online classifieds like Craigslist or keep an eye on eBay. You should also check antique and thrift stores in your area; if they don’t have any, you might give them your information and ask that they call you when they get some in. It may be a longshot depending on where you live, but you could very well luck into finding some vintage lockers at a yard sale or maybe a nearby estate auction. These are also ideal places for browsing and finding a variety of used, neglected items that can be refreshed and repurposed into something amazing.
While you hunt for your lockers, think about where and how you’d like to use them. Since they’re going to give you storage, consider places where you want or need extra storage; they’re great for offices, foyers or mud rooms, bedrooms, or maybe even a kitchen or dining area for storing flatware and cookbooks. As you’ll see, vintage lockers can repurposed in several useful, beautiful ways that can give a space that wonderful shabby-chic, bohemian look.
Via Vickie Howell
This set of five-level, locker room-style lockers has been repurposed into cabinet-style shelves that would go great in a bedroom or office. The bottom two rows still have their doors, offering shelf space where items can be stored without being on display. For the top three rows, the doors were removed so that the shelves would be open, making this set of lockers look more like a cabinet.
The interior of the lockers were painted a darker gray while the exterior was painted a coral hue, juxtaposing the industrial lockers with a slightly more feminine touch; it’s a good idea to paint the interior of these types of pieces a darker color to offset the interior from the exterior and highlight the contents of the shelves. To remind you that this piece used to function as lockers in the locker room of a school, the metal plates displaying the locker numbers were left intact and unpainted as they’d look if they were still used to store students’ gym clothes.
If you prefer a more sophisticated look, you might try this version that marries the antique industrial lockers with country-cottage styling. The lockers pictured are older and simpler; instead of having multiple rows like the locker room lockers, these have four thin tall doors and are a little more plain.
These would be ideal in a more formal area like by an entryway or in a foyer to provide storage for things like coats, jackets, scarves, shoes, and so on. After being painted an elegant off-white inside and out, numbers were stenciled at the tops of each door to remind you of what this piece used to be while remaining an elegant and efficient storage solution.
Yet another option would be to flip vertical lockers onto their side, mount wheels or legs onto the bottom, and turn the lockers into a great credenza or hutch. You’d need to make sure that you lockers were turned so that you’d open the doors by lifting from the bottom, otherwise you’d need a way to keep the doors latched shut. In addition to being great in a dining area or foyer, these could also go in a bedroom as a variant on a hope chest where you can store precious keepsakes, baby clothes, spare linens, and things of the like.
For more tips and tricks, head to Modernize.com. You can find just about any idea from casual to rustic to modern. Whatever your style is, you can find some ideas!