We’ve all heard of recycling but have you heard of upcycling? It’s a trend that has been around since the mid 90’s but only recently has it begun to gather worldwide attention. Often described as a contemporary version of recycling, the definition of upcycling is to process used goods or waste material to produce something that is often better than the original.
Home interiors are focusing on natural material, neutral colours and organic roots. The Scandinavian and industrial style look is popular, and its characteristics of exposed brickwork, copper piping and reclaimed wood all lend themselves perfectly to the upcycling movement.
Upcycling is ultimately ‘greener’ than recycling. For example when you recycle something, it often has to go through many processes in order to be recycled. If you decide to re-use an old aluminium can as a quirky pot, the extensive process of recycling isn’t needed. What’s more, once you start upcycling, you’ll begin to see the potential of everything in sight.
As well as being good for the environment, upcycling can save you money. Whilst there are plenty of cheaper furniture options available, if you have a spare chest of drawers, why spend money on a new coffee table when you have all the wood? Upholster a chair with that shirt which is now too small or why not re-cover a headboard yourself instead of spending lots on a new one? In addition to this, upcycling means that you can create your very own bespoke homeware.
Whilst the idea of it can be daunting, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Revamp your wardrobe by pasting a piece of spare wallpaper at the back or drill a hole in any object to create a unique clock. Once you’ve got the hang of the simpler tasks, turn your attention to making cushions, throws and more. Empty jars and bottles look great when used as vases or tealight holders and for an added bonus, wrap twine and ribbon around them. Chipped teapots and mugs can also be reinvented as plant pots!
Frame spare bits of fabric, old maps and old seed packets for characteristic and eye-catching wall features. Broken tiles can also be used as mug coasters. Next, give your stairs some personality by painting the wood different colours or add wallpaper to the risers. Create your own lampshade by covering the existing one in spare fabric or paper. Alternatively, if you have an old globe from years ago, cut in half to make a statement bowl and fill with potpourri. In addition, melt the wax from old candles down to create a brand new one. The options are endless.
One thing’s for sure, in a consumer driven society, who are seemingly obsessed with new products and buys, could upcycling be the way forward?