Repurpose Old Windows as Wall Decor

Ideas for Turning Salvaged Window Frames into Artwork

Mirrors made from old windows
Mirrors made from old windows. "14.FleaMarket.EM.SE.WDC.27aug06" by Elvert Barnes under CC BY 2.0/ flipped and brightened from original

if your walls are boring and bare, you can recycle old windows as wall decor. You can make photo frames, paper or fabric collages, mirrors, curio shelves, or shadow boxes. Whichever project you choose, it's easy to create old window art.

Old Window Photo Frame

  • It's simple to repurpose an old window with divided panes of glass as a collage-style photo frame.
  • Enlarge your photos to the size of the glass panes or ​use mats to make smaller photos fit, just as you would with a real photo frame.
  • Alternately, center a smaller photo on each pane of glass and mount them with old-fashioned photo corners. The glass surrounding each photo will serve as a mat, like a frame within the frame.
  • For an even more unusual effect, enlarge a favorite photo to match the overall size of the window. Though the poster-sized photo will be divided by the grid of muntins, the eye will still see it as a single image.

Fabric or Wallpaper Frame

  • Turn your old window into a work of art by using it to display fabulous wallpaper or fabric. You can also use scrapbook or wrapping paper.
  • Choose a window with multiple glass panes divided by thin strips of trim called muntins, and then install a different fabric or wallpaper behind each pane. The muntins will hide the raw edges where the different pieces of fabric or wallpaper meet.
  • The final result adds color and pattern to your room, and it's a terrific way to utilize vintage wallpaper and fabric scraps.

    Window Frame Mirror

    • Replace the glass in an old window with a mirror to give it a new use and create something stunning for your space.
    • Manufacturers frequently copy the window-frame mirror look but recycling an real window as a mirror typically costs less than buying a reproduction. The real thing looks better too.
    • For the most interesting look, choose a shapely window as your mirror, such as an arched Palladium window or a large rectangular window with lots of individual panes.
    • Hang your mirror on the wall above a console, dresser, or buffet. Or, hang it on any wall at normal window height to bounce light around the room.
    • If the window turned mirror matches the installed windows in your room, you can even dress them all with matching window treatments to create the illusion of more windows.

    Repurposed Window Display Shelf

    • To repurpose an old window as a display shelf, cut a piece of scrap lumber to the width of your window.
    • Then, stain or paint the shelf to match the window finish, and then mount it to the thick piece of wood at the bottom of the window, which is called a rail. The depth of the shelf is up to you, depending on what you want to display.
    • You can use a window with or without glass, as you prefer, or even replace the glass with mirror.
    • When it's finished, hang the window on your wall and adorn the shelf with a few favorite accessories.

     Recycled Window Shadow Box

    • To make a wall-mounted shadow box from an old window, first construct a shallow, open-front box that equals the length and width of the window. Fit the box framework with shelves, and then paint or stain it to match the window.
    • Consider lining the shelves with a soft, solid-colored fabric if you plan to display delicate objects.
    • For a glass-fronted shadow box with a door that opens and closes, attach the window to the box with hinges.
    • You can install the hinges so the window turned door opens from the top or from the side, as you prefer. the box with hinges.
    • If you prefer an open shadow box effect, remove the glass from your window, and then affix the window to the front of the shadow box frame.