How to Upcycle ‘Trash’ Into Treasure

Mid adult woman painting chair with paint roller with yellow color.

Mid adult woman painting chair with paint roller with yellow color.

Are you getting ready to haul that so-called junk out of your attic? Or haphazardly driving by another yard sale without giving it a second thought? Before you trade in older, used items for pricey replacements, consider how you might upcycle presumed “trash” into fashionable new home decor. 

Repurposed jars. From old mason jars to small jam jars, these glass containers can be used as vases for fresh blooms, change holders, organizers for your desk, or planters for seedlings. The options are only as limited as your imagination. Step up the design quotient by giving them a quick coat of craft paint.

Bottle magic. Old bottles, from clear to colorful, can serve myriad purposes. Use them with your favorite stoppers and they become decanters for oil, dish soap or hand soap. Have fun with paint and create a pattern on the outside for an artistic decorative accessory.

Frame redo. Rescue a random assortment of weathered, old picture frames from the trash heap and turn them into a variety of decorative accessories. Replace broken glass centers with wood, and varnish the entire piece for an elegant new serving tray. Or leave the centers empty, spray paint the frames, and arrange them together for a unique, contemporary wall-art statement.

Not just for tea time. Have a collection of mismatched tea cups and saucers? Don’t get rid of them, put them to work! Use them to organize jewelry and trinkets on top of or within a bureau drawer (pro tip: hook earrings around the rim). Or use them as decorative candy or nut dishes during your next soiree. They also make for stylish servers for sugar or condiments at the dinner table. 

Wooden wonders. Larger wooden items can become especially burdensome when no longer needed, but sometimes you just need to see them in a new light. A decorative door can be reborn as a headboard, an old wooden crate can become the perfect planter in your garden, and a step ladder can be refinished as a multi-shelved night stand.

Upcycling older items will not only infuse new style into your home, it will keep more money in your wallet and put less trash in the landfill.