The Toronto-based real estate developer Louie Santaguida has been working towards achieving a single goal in the past few years: namely, to encourage a widespread transition into green living. Leading this campaign with a set of developments with a prioritized reduction of CO2 emissions and zero net energy consumption, he aims to bring this environmentally conscious approach to the mass property market. As we begin to make this shift into a more sustainable era of property development, it only follows that our attitudes towards the way that we furnish these homes should be equally mindful of our impact upon our surroundings. By seeking ways in which we can tap into our existing resources and find sustainable furniture solutions, we can begin to make a truly meaningful move towards protecting our planet.
Getting involved with this movement can be incredibly simple, and can be kick-started with giving your old furniture a fresh lease of life. Instead of jumping to throw away your existing items, let your creativity loose and repurpose them!
Following are a few great ideas on ways in to repurposing and recycling your old furniture: an excellent way to help the environment and add your own personal touch to your interior design. It’s not unlikely that you’ll also end up saving a few pennies along the way!
- Rethink the ways that you use your old furniture.
Unless you wish to repurpose an item in its existing role by refreshing its cosmetic look, it often pays to think of some other use to an old piece of furniture, which could indeed be very different from its original purpose. Don’t be afraid to think unconventionally with how you choose to reuse your items – I’ve previously stumbled upon an instance in which an old wooden door had been successfully used as headboard, with no way to tell that it had begun life as a door. It can be a good idea to think along the lines of materials: an old door is essentially a large, rectangular piece of wood, a highly diverse item with a vast number of potential uses! Even if it takes quickly repainting the item or the addition of a few new features to alter its appearance, you will soon have a ‘new’ addition to your home with minimal effort.
- Place it in another room.
A very quick way to repurpose your old furniture is to simply change its location. You will be surprised at how a simple switch-up of an existing arrangement can refresh your home’s interior in a big way, and even provide the illusion of you having invested in some new items. This method is especially good for when an item remains in good shape, but you feel as if you have become slightly bored with it. You could be really surprised by how, for example, the pairing an item with other existing items in new ways can really change the feel of a space.
- Break some rules.
The famous painter Henri Matisse once remarked that “Creativity takes courage”, and that is just as much the case with repurposing old furniture as with fine art! You can’t be creative without breaking a few rules, and allowing yourself to think beyond existing limits. Don’t keep yourself from using a piece of furniture indoors, just because it was originally intended for your garden. Wooden patio chairs may give your dining area or kitchen a fresh, contemporary look, and your old nightstand could make an excellent side table. Be bold: this kind of repurposing can be the most rewarding, by allowing you to derive the most interesting looks from the most basic components.
- Swap or add new hardware to an old piece.
Repurposing an item can be achieved with the smallest of alterations. The influence of the detail should not be underestimated, as redesigning the minimal aspects of an item can often make for a surprisingly different effect. Try replacing an old door’s doorknob with a more modern design, or add new doors or shelves to an old cabinet. With this method you have the added pleasure of choosing a completely new component, but with a minimal impact upon the environment and your wallet. As well as in your local DIY store, try shopping in antique stores for a huge variety of potential additions. The possibilities are endless.
- Cover up.
If an old sofa or chair has started to show its age, don’t be too quick to think that throwing it away is your only option – especially since items that have already lasted through time are likely to be very structurally sound. It is natural for exterior fabrics to become worn, but it is a great shame to waste an item that was originally manufactured to a high standard. It is possible to completely transform an outdated item’s cosmetic look, even with minimal effort. Try purchasing inexpensive slipcovers to update its design and cover up unsightly marks and stains, or replace some fabrics for a little more time and effort on your behalf. Either way, this can be an excellent way to ensure the continued use of a favorite item without having to put up with an ugly aesthetic.
- Reshape your old furniture.
For a more dramatic approach to repurposing old items, why don’t you try changing the shape of your furniture? Whilst this requires a little more serious consideration of methods and dimensions, if you commit to this option you can open up many great possibilities. For example, you can saw an old table in half and then use one piece by securing it to the wall as a console table, or saw it into many more pieces to repurpose as wall shelves. You could also saw an old dining table down for reuse as a coffee table, as a center table, or as a table set for children. However, be careful with this method! It is advisable to think through exactly what you want to achieve with the existing item before beginning the DIY process, to avoid finding yourself with a half sawn-up table that is good for nothing.
Over time, it is possible for just about any piece of furniture can look tired and outdated. It’s natural – items gain wear and tear from day-to-day use, and fashions change. However, a worn exterior doesn’t mean it needs to be thrown away. Sometimes, simply refinishing or repainting an item can go a very long way.
By taking a little bit of time to consider how you can repurpose your old items, you can benefit from many advantages. With a little bit of thought and creativity, you can give a fresh lease of life to your items and interiors – all whilst saving the environment from another item being thrown away.