If you've ever rummaged through a salvage shop that deals in old building parts, chances are you've lingered over stately columns, beautifully crafted metalwork, and stacks of ornate doors and windows. And while these fragments caught your eye, chances are you also thought to yourself, "What on earth would I do with them?"
But don't stop there. With a bit of imagination, you can turn found objects into furniture. Read on to see how a wooden mantelpiece dumped by the roadside can become a charming headboard for a bed, a wrought-iron balustrade makes a clever lamp, and more.
One person's trash becomes another's treasure with this nifty new idea for your bed.
This homeowner's mom spotted a mantel worth saving discarded on the side of the road -- its previous owner had simply kicked the splintered and peeling piece to the curb.
First, sand down a piece like this and apply a fresh coat of paint, such as the brilliant white shown here. Next, you'll need to fill in the center with fabric. Then, place fabric on top of batting and secure with staples. Affix the fabric panel in the back; in the corners where the mantel and plywood meet, nail one end of a small piece of wood to the mantel and the other end to the plywood. "The whole project (shown here) cost less than $100," says the homeowner.
Repurpose salvaged objects in creative, distinct ways that reveal your decorating style.
Whether searching for a specific item or just browsing, even the most discerning homeowner needs pointers. One trick is to look past an object's original use, and try to envision a new purpose for it.
The possibilities are endless. Wood brackets take on new life as bookends. Decorative medallions and carved building surfaces, such as panels or friezes, transform into instant art when hung on blank walls.
Don't let the strong, inflexible nature of ironwork fool you into thinking that reuse is limited.
As displayed in this home, a weathered metal gate now functions as a graceful iron screen. The homeowner took this piece to a local welder, who made minor adjustments to adapt this metal gate for its new role.
Another Bright Idea for Lighting
This ornate, wrought-iron baluster, attached to a limestone paver base, is transformed into an elegant table lamp. Because the baluster is delicate and thin, the lamp cord runs along the back and is attached with small, flexible U-clamps.
Depending on height, columns make for great display pedestals, lamps, plant and fern stands, or dramatic conversation pieces when used alone. Other items such as individual chimney pots and stone balusters become sturdy supports when used as table bases.
Liven up a kitchen counter with salvaged copper pieces.
Lamps, art, and collected objects will make your kitchen as personal and well accessorized as the rest of your home. Organize cooking utensils in a copper pot placed beside the stove. Leave wall space open for displaying decorative platters or trays. Find an old teapot or pitcher to make into a lamp for the countertop, and use a wooden easel to support a small painting of vegetables or fruit.