Roll up your sleeves and get upcycling!
Do you wish your house and garden (or balcony) looked a bit more original? Is the reject pile of things you don’t need any more getting bigger than you’d like? Then upcycling is the perfect way to transform old, ‘useless’ stuff into eye-catching features for your interior!
Upcyclers give old, used items a new lease of life. You start with what you have and make it better, more beautiful or really useful – often with a healthy dose of creativity and originality. Upcycling is more popular than ever today, so now is the time to pep up your own interior with a genuine collector’s item!
Designers are already doing it
We live in a throwaway culture, which means we buy a lot of stuff – that we often don’t really need – and are just as likely to throw it away again. But it doesn’t have to be like that. A whole lot of interior and fashion designers feel the same way.
It took a while for the term ‘upcycling’ to catch on, but now it’s the new cool when it comes to working with recovered materials. We see incredible dresses or trendy bags on the catwalk that have been made out of scraps of fabric and clothing. Stella McCartney even took it a step further: the British designer has used plastic from the sea for one of her latest collections. Brands like H&M and Adidas are also going all-out for upcycling. Architects and artists are exploring the possibilities of driftwood, waste and second-hand items to create one-of-a-kind designs and works of art. The opportunities are endless; the results are unique and wonderful.
Upcycling is not the same as recycling
Upcycling is not the same thing as recycling. When you recycle something, you reprocess your used (or thrown away) materials. For example, plastic bottles can be melted to make new bottles, or broken glass can be turned into new glass. It’s a good way to avoid waste, but not the cheapest or most environmentally friendly of processes. The original material also loses value. When you upcycle something, you turn old materials into a new, useful variant by doing something creative and original with them. In this way, objects get a second lease of life (and maybe even a better one). Take those typical wooden pallets, for example: with a bit of cleaning and puzzling, you can turn them into a summery sofa, swing or table. And a quick lick of paint gives them a complete new look… in an instant!
Today we attach more importance to authenticity, craftsmanship and nostalgia. We are opting more and more often for sustainable material, vintage furniture and fair trade food and clothing. We are prepared to get our hands dirty: throwing pots, painting crockery, all kinds of DIY projects: you name it. Avoiding waste no longer means compromising on style or class. On the contrary: doing your own thing with recovered material adds character to your home. It is a way to create a unique interior.
Do more with your floor
Have you got leftover floorboards after fitting a new floor? Don’t just throw them away: they are a great start for a creative project. You can conjure up a photo frame or coat rack in a flash. Or what about an original breadboard? A herb planter for your balcony? Growing your own food has never been so easy!
Are you passionate about cycling? Bring your hobby indoors by upcycling an old bike into super-cool accessories. Use a piece of old tyre to make earrings, a headlight to create a desk lamp … Or what about a cycling head on the wall? Forget those animal heads and go for a hip new look!
Need more inspiration? Take a look at Pinterest.
Here’s how to do it yourself:
HOW TO: cycling head on the wall
1. Have you got an old or broken bicycle lying around? Unscrew the handlebars and saddle.
2. Combine the handlebars with the saddle, or use the handlebars on their own to create a pair of animal horns.
3. Print out the Quick-Step pattern (you can download it below) and trace it onto the floorboard.
4. Use a hand saw to cut the shape out of the wood or laminate.
5. Place the handlebars on the floorboard in the shape of animal horns and add the saddle for the complete look.
6. Attach the handlebars and saddle securely with cable ties.
7. Hang it on the wall and prepare to stun people with your cool new look!
Click here to download the pattern and create your own cycling head!
Good to know: Whatever you decide to do with your old floor, burning treated wood is not a good idea. And if you want to save your wood for a craft project in the future, keep it in a dry place off the ground.