Upcycled: 5 Furniture Ideas Using Recycled Material

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Upcycling is a hot trend. Upcyclers create a new, one-of-a-kind piece, and they help save the planet by doing it. If you want to be the coolest kid on the block (and who doesn’t?) turn on your creativity, scan the thrift stores, your garage or the junkyard and make something awesome and unique from all that old beat-up junk.

5 Breakfast at Tiffany’s Couch

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One of the greatest repurpose ideas for furniture is Holly Golightly’s couch in the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Ahead of its time in recycling (1961), Holly’s couch is an old claw-foot bathtub with the front cut out and pillows added for seating. There are lots of old claw-foot tubs around that can’t be used for baths anymore. What could be more luxurious than upcycling one into a sofa?

4 From Crib to Bench

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When your baby has outgrown the crib, cut it in half and make a bench out of it. Those vertical bars on cribs make beautiful, antique-looking back and sides for the bench. You can even cut down and recover the crib mattress to make a comfy cushion. Your bench will be the envy of all your parent friends.

3 Bathroom Medicine Cabinet

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Take an old hard-side suitcase (you know the kind, those old flat ones) and mount it on your bathroom wall in a vertical position. Screw in some shelves on the inside and glue a mirror to the outside, and you have a great medicine cabinet. This idea would work especially well, of course, with a travel-themed decor.

2 Living Room Display Case

Born in a Barn

One upcycled design that would give a unique setting to your favorite books is a display cabinet made out of old windows. Since window glass is hard to recycle in the traditional way, making this project would do the earth a good turn. You can also use the legs from broken chairs or tables on the base of your window display case.

1 Kitchen Island from a Dresser

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Some great DIY kitchen islands can be made out of old dressers. This is a pretty simple upcycle; a counter top, wider than the dresser, is affixed to the top and you have extra storage, eating or food-prep space and a unique piece of furniture. To make it extra special, repurpose an old door or table top for the counter.

Sara Powell began her writing career at the "Washington Report for Middle East Affairs" in 2000 while working on a Ph.D. in Middle East History at Georgetown University. She has also written and edited for San Francisco based bilingual newspaper "El Tecolote" and various online sites.

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