40 Times Thrifty People Upcycled Their Old Junk Into Beautiful Home Creations

Image: bsap8

They say one man’s trash is another’s treasure, and no one proves that statement to be true quite like upcyclers. Yes, the reclaimers among us make it their mission to take discarded or otherwise undesirable materials and transform them into gorgeous, one-of-a-kind home accents. Read on to see 40 wonderful examples of their hard work.

Image: gnomicfox

40. Chair made of coins

Who knew spare change could make such an attractive place to sit? Reddit user gnomic_fox shared this stunning project: a chair made of melded coins. Other users did have some questions, though, as some wondered if the chair would be sealed to prevent rust. In fact, one suggested keeping the coin chair out of the sun; needless to say, a metal seat could get pretty hot.

Image: Instagram/naturallymogi

39. Plastic bag plant holder

Most of us have a stash of old plastic bags going to waste, so here’s a great way to upcycle a good portion of them. With a few twists and knots, you can turn them into a macrame plant holder for your hanging greens. And according to the person behind the project, Instagram user naturallymogi, it’s also an adorable way to keep plastic from ending up in the ocean or in a landfill.

Image: Instagram/phoenixupcycles

38. Four-poster pet bed

It’s no surprise that people like to spoil their pets. And with a bit of upcycling, that pampering can reach the next level. Instagram user phoenixupcycles removed the back two legs of an old chair and flipped the front pair upward. With a pillow placed at the center, the final product looks like a four-poster bed, sized down for four-legged friends.

Image: hcherie92

37. Stools fit for a library


Whether it’s through earmarked pages or a creased spine, any well-loved book will begin to show wear over time. But Reddit user hcherie92 has come up with a great way to upcycle one library’s literature. They said, “[I] had a volunteer help me make these stools out of our discarded books for new library seating.”

Image: Lord_Ballyhoo

36. A handy coffee table

Do you have a carpenter’s old toolbox lying around? If so, you can create a coffee table like this one, as crafted by Reddit user Lord_Ballyhoo. The legs of the piece come from another project, wherein the Redditor removed them from a Victorian dining table to transform it into another coffee table.

Image: Instagram/engstrom.design

35. Door becomes desk


Only a sturdy oak table could carry the weight of this unconventional desktop. Designer Richard Engström searched high and low for a strong, cost-effective base for his upcycling project, which turned an old door into a desk. Meanwhile, a glass top finished the project and flattened his work surface.

Image: Instagram/plumen

34. Pot some bulbs

Dinged-up, dull or otherwise used pots can go into the recycling bin, never to be seen again. Or, they can become a set of funky lampshades, as styled here by Berlin-based upcycler and Instagram user gobuildideas. And the items also make a fitting addition to any kitchen or culinary space.

Image: selfhelprecords

33. Strumming shelves


Have you given up on a musical hobby and have an old guitar or two lying around? That looks as though it was the case for Reddit user selfhelprecords, who needed only a jigsaw, sandpaper and scrap wood to spruce up this pair of instruments. Apparently, the toughest part of all was ensuring that the shelves sat level. But once they were straight, the unique storage unit hit all the right notes.

Image: Twitter/TDK Macassette

32. Sitting ’round

Sitting inside a barrel and watching TV doesn’t sound very cozy. But thankfully, the pictured furniture maker, Oscar Ziwenga, got creative with the metal cylinders and made them into comfortable places to sit and relax. Indeed, he transformed them into a full living room set, including chairs, a couch and even a coffee table.

Image: amberkay34

31. Adora-bowl


Music lovers can commiserate over the sadness that comes with a scratch on a beloved vinyl record. But fortunately, Reddit user amberkay34 has shared a creative way to keep your favorite records around – even if they no longer play great tunes. Place a record over a bowl and heat the edges with a blow torch, or simply pop them both into the oven at 200 °F for between five to ten minutes.

Image: queenofthefarm

30. Class up your glass

Reddit user queenofthefarm said she found some glass insulators on her property and decided to get creative with them. First came this planter, with the insulators adhered to a plank to hold onto a quartet of succulents. The Redditor wrote that she would next make some of them into pendant lights for her kitchen.

Image: laurasaurus5

29. Wardrobe-woven rug


Emptying out your closet can do more than just free up storage space. Indeed, it can give you the fabric that you need to make a handmade rug too. Reddit user laurasaurus5 said she spent a few weeks hand-knotting and weaving her high-pile tapestry, playing on the North African boucherouite style of carpet-making.

Image: Knucklephuck

28. High-tech bench

A pair of computer towers can hold a wealth of important information, or they can provide a sturdy base for a bench – your choice. Upon seeing this creation on Reddit, one user suggested that they plug in the bench and make it into a USB charging station for those using the seating.

Image: Colomatition

27. Reflecting on art


A shattered mirror is said to bring seven years of bad luck, but Reddit user Colomatition might have proven that to be a myth. Instead, they grabbed the shards of a broken looking glass and a bit of glue tack and set to work. The result? A stunning mosaic of a soaring dove that is nothing if not serendipitous.

Image: Instagram/downgreenvilleroad0802

26. Tub-to-table

The husband-and-wife duo at Down Greenville Road create their own signs and decor in what they describe as an “urban farmhouse” style, according to their Instagram page. So when they caught sight of this laundry tub, they knew exactly what they wanted to do with it. And they duly carried out their creative plan and turned the tub into a shabby-chic side table, complete with porch spindles as legs.

Image: Twitter/BottleCraft by Tom

25. Brew up a lamp


Pick your poison: wine, beer or liquor. Then, empty the bottle – whichever way that you see fit – and make it the eye-catching base of a table lamp. You might be thinking that this transformation could be rather tricky, but fear not. Fortunately, hardware stores make this project easy by selling lamp-making kits with all the supplies that you’ll need to transform your favorite liquor bottle into a toast-worthy accessory.

Image: dillonmcdoodle

24. Retire in these easy chairs

After a long day of hard work, sometimes all you want to do is plop down in a comfy chair and stay there for the rest of the evening. Surprisingly, a discarded tire or two can become your go-to seat on days like that. And you won’t have to worry about a rubbery smell or stains so long as the finished product is sealed.

Image: bsap8

23. Bar in a barrel


Winemakers pour their prized liquid into barrels to complete the aging process, and their wooden vessels of choice let in just enough air to help the red, white and rosé stuff to mature. This clever project, then, is a nod to the wine-making process. And within this wooden barrel you’ll find a wine rack with finished beverage bottles on display.

Image: Instagram/the_elm_tree_furniture_co

22. Lighten your load

A wooden yoke joins two oxen so that they can haul a load with both of their strength combined. This light fixture also relies on a yoke; but, rather than bringing livestock together, it’s creating a cohesive feeling for an extra-large dining table. And rope-hung bulbs dangling from the wood beams tie it all together.

Image: blackenedsky87

21. Concert coastin’


Live music fans, this project is for you – especially if you have a box or a drawer filled with old concert tickets that you can’t bring yourself to throw away. Instead, upcycle your stubs from your favorite gigs by decoupaging them onto a set of coasters – as Reddit user blackenedsky87 has demonstrated here.

Image: Instagram/lucasmunozm

20. Tubular chair

Netherlands-based Spanish designer Lucas Muñoz Muñoz aims to create functional objects while still spotlighting the artificial environments that humankind has engineered. His tubular chair made of metal piping fits right in with this aesthetic. Perhaps even better for the future owner, the seat looks comfy and cool too.

Image: Instagram/creaciclar

19. Bulletin in a basket


Magazine pages and newspaper may not seem sturdy enough to hold a basket’s worth of oranges. But Instagram user creaciclar and other crafters know it’s possible, so long as you have the right technique. Rolled pieces of paper, a bit of glue and some handy weaving will have you on your way to upcycling all of your old papers in no time.

Image: Instagram/steels_animals

18. Steampunk your kitchen

Steampunk design makes industrial machinery feel chic. You see, artisans typically incorporate parts such as gears, springs and even a bit of tech to create a vibe that’s equal parts unique, fantastical and science fiction-inspired. And this table would fit right into a steampunk-inspired design scheme thanks to the functional pieces that make up its base.

Image: is0t0nik

17. Botany meets broken speakers


Rather than throwing a set of broken computer speakers away, Reddit user is0t0nik found a new use for them. Yes, when turned sideways, the sound boxes make aptly sized containers for growing plants. They’re compact and light enough to hang from the wall, too, and they’d look super cute in an office space.

Image: ShoelessJodi

16. A precious play kitchen

We’ve all seen furniture left at the curb on trash day, but not everyone sees the potential in these discarded items. Upcycler and Reddit user ShoelessJodi can spot a gem in the garbage, though, and nabbed this entertainment unit from the street. Then came a flood of creativity that inspired the Redditor to turn the former TV stand – which was sturdy and in decent condition – into a kid-sized kitchen set.

Image: Instagram/mindsz_denhelder

15. Shelving sled


As soon as snow hits the ground, the sleds come out, but you might want to think about keeping your nice wooden one indoors from now on. It’s simple to make a storage unit out of a toboggan, especially one with rails and supports that hold shelves snugly in place.

Image: 2193584

14. Greenhouse? Bingo!

According to Reddit user aarogar, “This is what upcycling is all about!” A tumbler of this kind would typically be used to shuffle up tickets for a fair draw. However, another Redditor named 2193584 decided to make the shakeable glass heptagon into a greenhouse for budding plants.

Image: N-loc

13. Mirror, mirror


Hand mirrors may seem to have one use only, but Redditor N-loc saw them as an ideal canvas for acrylic paintings. So, they headed to thrift stores and went online to sites such as eBay. And there they could scoop up a myriad of vintage hand mirrors, which make perfect frames for small works of art.

Image: Instagram/the_vintagecollective

12. Sew unique

As you’ve learned by now, antiques make great inspiration for tables. Sometimes, they’re the table top; but, in this case, we have an old-school base. The shell of a treadle sewing machine – including its foot pedal – is strong enough to support a dining surface and makes a staple piece of furniture into a great conversation piece.

Image: 8tatsgirl

11. Lights, camera, lamp


Displaying a vintage camera will add interest and personality to just about any side table, especially if you dabble in creative pursuits such as photography. But Reddit user 8tatsgirl took it one step further, upgrading her accessories into functional table-topping lamps by outfitting each with a light bulb.

Image: deadsocial

10. Pull-out planter

A discarded dresser plus some greenery could equal an upcycled, out-of-the-box planter. Just take the work of Reddit user deadsocial, for example. For their project, they stacked a trio of drawers to create a cutesy floral arrangement. But don’t forget to drill drainage holes into your new planters before packing them with soil and seeds.

Image: Instagram/wrapture_accessories

9. Comfy canines


Katherine Lynne, a small business owner and skilled knitter, shared a great DIY tip through her Instagram page, wrapture_accessories. She wrote, “I harvested items around the house. Old pillows and receiving blankets.” Together, her worn-out linens made a cozy pillow for her pooch. And, needless to say, the dog loved it too.

Image: Instagram/sammyrae0322

8. T-shirt throw

Like many college students, Sammy Hyatt admitted via Instagram that she had “accumulated [an] insane… amount of t-shirts” while in school. But rather than leaving the excess tees to gather dust, she gave them new life by sewing them into a quilt. As she wrote on the site, “It’s so cool to see my three years [of college] encapsulated in a cozy blanket.”

Image: Bklyneville

7. Spray paint planter


Ever the upcycler, Reddit user Bklyneville decided to keep the cycle going with this little set of projects. For one thing, they used empty spray paint cans to make their own lamp base. And the planter to the left was once an aerosol art supply too.

Image: 1tinyydancer

6. Pine tree pencil holder

Raise your hand if you love Christmas. And keep your hand in the air if it hurts your heart to throw your tree away at the end of the season. But don’t fear, because this project will help you hold onto your favorite holiday year-round. Saw off the end of the tree’s stump, carve out a hollow hole in the middle, spray paint it and voila – you have a secretly festive, extra-special desk organizer.

Image: Instagram/strykerwoodworking

5. File it away


We love to collect antiques, but some pieces no longer have a function in the modern world. Stryker Woodworking creatively incorporated these small antique filing drawers into an updated piece that served a new purpose. And with a set of hairpin legs beneath them, the former storage system suddenly becomes a side table.

Image: Instagram/rejiggery

4. Suitable upholstery

Fresh upholstery instantly breathes new life into an old piece. Indeed, that’s why it’s a go-to method for upcyclers the world over. And it appears that this project is a double-whammy of reused materials, as an old chair has been re-purposed with a tweed jacket. The suit even comes complete with buttons, undershirt and pocket square too.

Image: emmytooter

3. Not at all trashy


The last thing that you’d expect to make the focal point of a room would probably be the trash can. But Reddit user emmytooter was able to do so in a completely classy way, transforming a former bin into an earthy looking lampshade. And the trash can’s natural materials fit with the leafy throw pillow on the chair beneath it too.

Image: sutefanideluxe

2. Coffee and cultivate

As convenient as single-serve coffee pods can be, they also create a lot of waste. Once again, though, green thumbs are in luck, as pioneering Redditor sutefanideluxe showed that they can quickly turn their empty java containers into starter pots for plants. The tiered coffee organizer also makes it easy to track the progress of all of the budding plants.

Image: alyssatriesart

1. Think outside of the cube


We’ve all seen the cube-shaped shelving unit – its square cut-outs the perfect size to hold organizing baskets. It’s hard to believe, then, that the piece of furniture on the right had such humble beginnings. Yes, adding legs, doors and hardware truly transformed this popular piece into a grown-up addition to any bedroom.