Creative Reuse

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by a local publication to talk about creative reuse.  Right before the meeting with the writer I got a little nervous.  I was thinking, “What the heck do I know about creative reuse and what the heck does that even mean?”

So, I thought I’d share with you what creative reuse means to me and show you how I’ve used it in my home and in projects.

To me creative reuse is using something for a different purpose then was intended.  I think to achieve a creative reuse “look” in your home is to think outside of the box and at the same time not think too hard.  A key element to creative reuse is experimentation, which means don’t concern yourself totally with the outcome.  I think that a lot of creative reuse projects are simply happy mistakes!

The creative reuse and DIY movement really spawned from a desire to have our house feel like amazing homes, whether or not you have to move in a year or are on a budget.  I personally think that some of the best designs and most creative homes come when people don’t have large budgets for their rooms.  More money, more problems, am I right?

Let’s start with side tables.  I’m not sure in my entire adult life if I’ve bought a side table and actually used it for it’s intended purpose.  My side tables are plant stands and my end tables are always other “things”.  In the photo above, we used my grandfathers old trunk as a end table on one side of our couch and we used an old suitcase and beam for the other side of the couch.

Another personal favorite is the locker.  I mean technically, lockers are meant to hold stuff, so are we really creatively resuing them if they are just hold stuff?  I think so!  If not in a gym, then they are perfectly repurposed in our homes.

We use a locker as our “mud room’.  When we were searching for homes, the biggest thing on my list was a mud room.  And man, was there a fight between Jake and I when I put my foot down and said we can’t buy this gorgeous and amazingly priced home because it doesn’t have a mud room! I soon realized I was a little off my rocker and got to work on figuring out how we could hide all of our clutter.  (And by our clutter, I mean MY bike bag, my purses, my keys, bike helmet, shoes, rain boots, dog’s leash, poop bags, scarves, hats, mail…etc.)

These lockers do just the trick! They technically aren’t large enough for all my aforementioned items, but luckily we do have a coat closet that can hide my lady junk.

One of my favorite Portland DIY bloggers used these awesome pink lockers as storage in her dining room.  There are not many pieces on the market for your dining room that can give you this much storage, let alone style! Lockers can run around $75-$500, but if you want that much storage, you’re looking at something custom made and now we’re talking $2000-$5,000.

And who can resist pink lockers? I for one can’t.

In a recent project, I used a handmade floor mat as an over the bed tapestry.  You can really hang anything on a wall.  I know that sounds kind of silly, but art is everywhere and it doesn’t have to be in a frame to go on your wall.

One tid-bit of information most people don’t know is that my gig was a bar!  It’s at the Portland Mercado.  So the next you are there eating your face full of tacos, you must stop-in for a cerveza at Barrio.  This project was so fun, not just because I was so crazy eager, but also because the budget was so small.  It was such great exposure for me to get my hands dirty, get all gritty and learn how to make things happen.

This is the $15.00 menu board that I created from basically things laying around the owner’s backyard.  It was the perfect solution for our “old world Latin American bar” we created.

We will end on a photo from Paige Morse’s previous home with two of my favorite reuse ideas: branches and ladders.  Guys, it’s just so simple and yet makes her home look so interesting.


I hope that you discovered a few creative reuse ideas for your home in this post! Let me know some creative reuse ideas that you have employed in your abode.