How to Upcycle Everyday Items Into Home Decor

While all of our homes could probably use a good cleaning out every once in awhile—and there are certain things you should get rid of immediately—there are some items that might be worth hanging onto.  For example, these twelve everyday items aren't necessarily trash, but left as they are, they're simply clutter.  With just a little imagination, though, each of these items can be upcycled and repurposed into things that don't just take up space, but instead add beauty and function to...MORE your home.

Take a look at these creative ways you can upcycle common things you probably have laying around the house.

  • 01 of 12

    Florist Vases

    Upcycled Florist Vases. Home Made Moder

    Spray paint several dime-a-dozen glass vases to mimic the look of milk glass, then use them to decorate bookshelves, coffee tables and more.

    Use vases with narrow necks to hold bracelets.

  • 02 of 12


    DIY Light Fixture. Home Made Modern

    Hang woven ones for a touch of texture on a gallery wall.

    Turn a woven or wire basket upside down and use it as a lamp shade or DIY ceiling light fixture.

  • 03 of 12

    Mismatched Plates or Bowls

    Plates on Wall. Susie Cushner / The Image Bank / Getty

    Hang mismatched but coordinating plates and/or bowls on a wall as artwork.

    Use one as a spot to drop keys on an entry table.

    Put small bowls in a drawer and use them to sort and organize jewelry.

  • 04 of 12

    Waste Baskets

    Wire Laundry Basket Side Table. Making Home Base

    Turn a wire waste basket upside down to use as an interesting accent table or stool.

    Use one as a DIY light fixture or lamp shade.

    Use larger plastic trash cans as outdoor planters for your porch or patio.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12


    suitcases as table
    Suitcases Used as a Table. via Buzzfeed

    Use a vintage suitcase for storing photo albums in a bookcase.

    Outift a small vintage valise with a mirror, travel-sized toiletries and other essentials for your guest room.

    Stack several old suitcases to use as a side table.

    Browse more clever ways to use a vintage suitcase.

  • 06 of 12

    Wrapping Paper

    Bookcases Lined with Wrapping Paper. Home Made Modern

    Frame a scrap of pretty paper for some quick and simple DIY wall art.

    Line the back of bookshelves with wrapping paper to serve as an interesting background for your books and decorative items.

    Line a desk drawer or kitchen drawer with wrapping paper.

    Laminate wrapping paper and cut it into rectangles to use as wipe-able placemats.

  • 07 of 12

    Picture Frames

    Upcycled Picture Frames. Makely Home

    Criss-cross string to create a memo board.

    Add fabric backing to make an earring holder.

    Browse more unique ways to upcycle old picture frames into new-to-you home accessories.

  • 08 of 12


    Wall Pocket Organizers. Home Made Modern

    There are several pretty and practical uses for old sweaters. Make cozy pillow covers or use them as a way to make simple vases more stylish. 

    Upcycle men's dress shirts into low-sew pillow covers.

    Use old jeans to make a small denim throw rug or bath mat.

    Turn shirt or pants pockets into wall pocket organizers.

    See more ways to turn denim into home decor.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Light Fixtures

    Chandelier Used as Planter. DIY Showoff

    Turn an outdated ceiling fixture into a trendy terrarium like this one by Design Sponge.

    Hang an old chandelier on the patio to use as a decorative planter.

  • 10 of 12


    Shutter Memo Board. HGTV

    Line up old shutters behind your bed to use as a headboard.

    Make a memo board by using the slats on an old shutter to hold pictures and cards

    Lay a shutter down the middle of a table to use as a wooden table runner.

  • 11 of 12


    Upcycled dictionary as mail sorter
    DIY Mail Sorter. Dollar Store Crafts

    Heavy tomes make great wall shelves by simply attaching brackets from the hardware store. 

    Use stacks of books without their dust jackets to elevate objects on a coffee table or fireplace mantel.

    Upcycle old books to create clever, hidden storage, book page art, and even lamps. 

    Create hanging wall storage or a mail sorter from larger volumes.

  • 12 of 12

    CD Jewel Cases

    CD Case Picture Frames. Rob D. Brodman via Sunset

    If you have all of your music downloaded and don't need the hard copy anymore, upcycle the CDs into coasters by first decoupaging decorative paper or gluing coiled rope onto them.

    Use the jewel cases as frames to create a unique gallery wall.