How to Recycle Old Windows

Ideas for Decorating With Old Windows

Discarded old windows ready for repurposing

Dean Hochman/CC BY 2.0

Old windows are frequent finds at flea markets and yard sales. You might even find some stacked on the curb for free. Decorating with old windows is inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and it personalizes your space. Here are five ways to recycle old windows.

Room Divider

Suspend a collection of old windows from the ceiling with chains to turn them into a room divider. Mix different window sizes, shapes, and finishes together for an eclectic, vintage effect.

For a floor-to-ceiling look, use multiple windows to create each vertical section. You can screw them together, and then hang the joined unit from the chains. Or, create a more open arrangement by connecting lower windows to the upper ones with eye- and S-hooks, or with additional lengths of chain.

If you just need to visually divide the space, leave the window glass in your room divide bare.

For more privacy, apply spray-on frosting paint to the window panes or use liquid leading and special paint to make the windows look like stained glass. Both options obscure the view while allowing light to pass through the glass.

Pot Rack

Remove the glass from a sturdy old window with dividing muntins to turn it into a pot rack.

Suspend the window-frame pot rock from your kitchen ceiling with plant hooks and chains, perhaps over your kitchen island or a freestanding range.

Mount it on the wall if the ceiling won't work. Use spacers between the wall and the window so the pot rack projects an inch or so away from the wall.

Screw oversized C-hooks into the thicker pieces of wood around the window's perimeter, which are called the rails and styles. Hang your heaviest pots and pans from the C-hooks. Hang smaller, lighter pieces from S-hooks slipped over the muntins, which are the smaller strips of wood that form the inner grid.

Coat Rack

Hang a horizontally inclined mirror—or just turn a vertical window on its side—on your entry hall or mudroom wall.

Install coat hooks along the bottom rail to turn the window into a rack for outerwear, umbrellas, and hats.

If you replace the window glass with a mirror, you can give your hair and lipstick a last-minute check before you walk out the door.

Message Board

Get organized while recycling by turning an old window into a message board for your kitchen or home office.

Replace the window glass with a chalkboard or corkboard panel. If you're using a multi-paned window, you can even use a checkerboard arrangement of both.

To turn your old window into a chalkboard, cut the hardboard to size, prime it, and then apply a couple of coats of chalkboard paint. You can use traditional black, or opt for one of the brightly colored chalkboard paints.

For corkboard, you can simply cut it to size and use it as is, or cover the cork surface with a decorative fabric. Add a bunch of decorative pushpins and you're ready to go.

Hinged Screen

If you happen upon three to five French doors or oversized casement or factory windows, you can hinge them together to make a decorative screen.

If you can't find tall windows, you can also stack and secure two or more regular windows together to form each panel of your screen.

As with windows made into room dividers, you can leave the glass clear or use frosted or stained glass paint to use the screen for privacy. You can also shirr decorative fabric panels on sash rods, and then affix the rods to the top and bottom of the individual panels that make up your screen.

If you're looking for more ways to repurpose old windows, you can turn them into wall artfurniture, or use them to decorate your garden.