I am all about that upcycled life and I figure, what better way to get more people doing the same than to show you all what I’ve got going on in my own home?

One woman’s trash is certainly another woman’s treasure. I’m always looking for ways to reuse things I might be passing towards the waste pile, or unwanted things someone else is trying to get rid of, thus preventing them ending up in landfill. All it takes is some patience and creative thinking to transform something old into something new. And when it comes to interior decor, why opt for mass-produced and flat-packed when you can display something truly unique that you’ve designed yourself?

Minimalism and streamlining are two passions of mine and I find that having items that I’ve made myself and put my creative energy into are the ones that stand the test of time. See, trends come and go and we change our minds about things as time passes, but if you’ve created something yourself, chances are that you’ll want to keep it around. Or, if there comes a time that it’s truly incompatible with your aesthetic, you can gift it to someone special where it’s likely to be gratefully received.

So, as I was saying, here are three features I’ve introduced into my home. They were cheap, easy to make and get many compliments paid their way.

1. Industrial displays

These came straight from the laboratory that I work in. They were headed to landfill, but I managed to seize them just in time and make a fun project out of upcycling them into some industrial-style shelving. They are made of stainless steel, but with a copper theme in mind, I picked up some spray paint from a local craft store and sprayed them from all angles. They’re strategically placed on the walls with a simple pair of nails and great for displaying smaller, interesting items.

2. Driftwood & Air Plants

Living by a beach, I am exposed to nice strolls, of course, but also some epic driftwood finds, such as this one. Initially I picked this up without knowing exactly what I wanted to do with it, only knowing that it would become a feature in due course. With some air plants lying around, I decided to combine the two and it makes for an epic piece of living art. I’ve seen similar things on a much smaller scale whereby the plants are glued onto the wood. This makes for a quick fix, sure, but just seemed so cruel to me. The best way to water air plants (Tillandia spp.) is to soak them in a bowl, sink or bathtub (depending on the quantity that need watering) for half an hour or so. During this time they absorb what they need. Follow this by letting them rest on a towel, then replace in their display. I had this idea for mounting them on driftwood in a way that would allow me to remove them every couple weeks for watering. I used a reserve of some wire Christmas tree ornament hooks that I had to hand, supergluing these to the wood in the locations I knew I’d want the plants. Then, after allowing to dry overnight, used the maleable nature of the hooks to coil around the plant and hold them firmly in place. I mounted the driftwood onto the wall with two hook brackets (which I plan on spraying copper eventually to tie everything in together).

We have a really ugly thermostat smack bang in the middle of the wall. I used a tumbling air plant to strategically drape over and cover this.

3. Unexpected Art

The final way that I’ve upcycled came when I had a card that I couldn’t bear parting with. The message inside was nice, but the image on the card itself even nicer. It felt such a shame to throw it into the recycling bin when the colour scheme was exactly my aesthetic. A quick look through the frames I had lying around revealed one that was a perfect fit. This made its way out of the rubbish pile and onto my wall. Buy someone a really beautiful card from an independent designer and be sure to include a little note inside suggesting they hang it on their wall afterwards. Throw in a frame too if you’re feeling super generous.

I am excited for all of the upcycling projects that I’m sure 2018 will bring with it. Never let yourself think that a small budget needs to stand in the way of you and the home that you want. Take a walk on the wild side and let your creativity come out and play.

 

 

Just imagine for a second if we were each forced to keep every single item that we buy and dispose of it ourselves. Imagine if there was no system in place to collect our landfill rubbish and recycling every week and you had to instead find ways to cope with all that stuff? Methods of disposal that come to mind include: composting biodegradables, reusing or upcycling.

On the one hand, I feel very blessed to live in a country where a wonderful set of characters come to empty our bins every week; it means that I can consume whatever I please and not have to worry about dealing with the waste. However, it also encourages me and everybody else to put little thought into what it is that we are consuming; we don’t have to worry about how we’re going to deal with the empty yoghurt pots and beer cans, empty paracetamol packets or tampons, broken kettles or phones, because we can dump them on the curbside and go back to our latest distraction. Unless you literally have to walk pass/drive by/or live next to a landfill site, it really is ‘out of sight, out of mind.’

So, hypothetically speaking, let’s say that we remove this service. The first thing that would happen is that there would be uproar; everyone would exclaim that it would be like going back a step and lead to disease and ruin aesthetics etc. After some time when the dust had settled, people would adapt and start to think about their purchasing choices: if I don’t want to have to deal with the leftover plastic that won’t biodegrade and I’ll have to shove in a cupboard, how about I opt for an option without packaging or perhaps in paper? Then, people would start getting creative. If you’re surrounded by a medley of materials that are starting to take over your house, you might transform them into something more practical or aesthetically-pleasing. I posted about my upcycling of bottles into plant pots a while back and I’ve turned another into storage.

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Perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but to me upcycling is a way to get creative and tailor something to your needs. It also pretty much guarantees you’ve got something unique to wear/display/use.

So it’s something to think about, isn’t it? And perhaps you’ll start looking at what you buy differently. Or maybe you’ll even look at your recycling box differently and transform into the next upcycling enthusiast.