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  • Trend Alert: Upcycling

    Posted by Daniel Edelman on

    Over the past few years, reclaimed wood and other repurposed materials have gained immense popularity in all aspects of home design. This trend is often referred to as “upcycling.”

    Upcycling, as opposed to simply reusing or recycling, involves making changes and improvements to a piece so that it may be used in a new or better way. From a novice carpenter’s pallet wine shelf to Native Trails’s Vintner’s and Americana Vanity Collections, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon!

    Wine Barrels and Staves

    Native Trails introduced the Vintner’s Collection after partnering with California wineries to re-purpose their used barrels and staves. These wood pieces retain some of the wine’s color, adding character which Native Trails incorporated into its 3 finishes (Chardonnay, Bordeaux and Cabernet). The staves are crafted into mirrors and storage-friendly, freestanding vanities; the wall-mount barrels are a bit more versatile, easily transitioning from a bath vanity to a wet bar.

    Watch this video to see more about how the vanities and mirrors are made.


    Other Wood Projects

    Native Trails has undoubtedly perfected their use of reclaimed wood for bathroom furniture, but there are endless opportunities for custom furniture and décor pieces as this trend continues to gain momentum! Some of the more commonly seen repurposing projects include old, solid wood doors as a head- and footboard, window frames with mirror panels and railroad spikes affixed to pallet wood as wall-mount coat hangers.


    Insulator Covers & Creative Lighting

    Some artists and crafters have taken re-purposing outside the (wooden) box and expanded their business to other materials that can be upcycled in a variety of ways! For example, glass insulator covers from old-style telephone poles are often turned into small light shades or candle holders. These covers are usually clear or turquoise, but can sometimes be found in other colors like purple and orange.

    Waterworks debuted the Watt collection, which was “inspired by the countless shapes and colors of telephone pole insulator covers.” Its collection includes pendant or wall-mounted lights with plain or ribbed glass shades available in clear, amber or blue. Those of you who attended our exclusive Waterworks event in March will already be familiar with these fixtures!

    Other great lighting projects include a colander chandelier, antique fan light fixture or cheese grater light shades! Like the insulator covers, glass bottles, light bulbs and mason jars are also frequently repurposed as candle holders. Sometimes they are mounted to a base, but several of these upcycled lighting projects, especially with candles, seem to be more favored in a hanging or wall-mount design.


    Tires in Landscaping

    Tires are also big players in the upcycling scene right now. Some people have added a drop-in sink for tire hand-washing stations or wrapped them in rope to be used as ottomans, while others have torn them completely apart and reshaped them into patio furniture or lawn animals!

    We’ve all seen the old tire thrown onto someone’s front lawn and used as a flower bed, but how about taking the tire planter to a whole new level with these brightly painted tires stacked into a flower wall? Now that’s landscaping! Or how about this rooster-shaped hanging tire planter?


    Living Room Furniture

    Finally, using reclaimed and re-purposed materials for furniture or other home installations is one way to make a lasting impression with your friends and family. The upcycling community is becoming very creative with living room furniture, in particular. One of our favorite ideas is cutting out the side of an old freestanding tub and adding a cushion and pillows to make a tub chaise!

    Another idea we love (because it can be used as a theme for the entire room) is using vintage trunks or suitcases for living room furniture. This is an innovative way for travelers to express their passion through their home! Use fabric printed with a world map to upholster your trunk chair or set an antique globe atop your suitcase end table for extra emphasis!

    Visit our Pinterest board "Upcycling" for more ideas!

    Post written by: Erica Templeton

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