Upcycled Home Decor Ideas













I hope today’s START To Downsize article, Upsized Home Decor Ideas, will serve to inspire, encourage and motivate you to look at common, everyday things and see them in a different light.

What could be more unusual than this display of vintage kneading bowls, seen at the recent Bachman’s Spring 2012 Ideas House in Minneapolis, MN?  These Hungarian dough bowls were originally carved from wood to serve a very prosaic, humble role, that of the vessel where a family’s daily bread was left to rise.

I have seen these bowls, also known as ‘trenchers’, commonly used in homes, usually on or under a table, depending on size.  I have never, however, seen them mounted, en masse, on the wall, vertically and horizontally, some as the backdrop for hanging candles and others as planters for green and flowering plants.

Even more interesting is the incongruous, ingenious use of tree wrap as striping material on the wall behind the bowls.  Stunning!

This wall art idea is so very simple and so very stylish!

Each panel is a galvanized radiator drip pan!  One has vintage doorknob escutcheons  glued to its surface, while the other features a couple of permanent magnolia blooms.

I would consider both of these ideas as good examples of one of 2012′s hottest interior design trends, ‘Rough Luxe’, where old is blended with new, rough with smooth, elegant with not-so-elegant.

It works!

This is a recessed niche in the kitchen of the Ideas House.  What makes it so appealing is its use of old (Depression-era) newspapers to line the back wall.   Vintage-inspired floral plates are hung in each opening and multi-colored glass mini-vases, vintage-looking bottles, retro salt & pepper shakers are used at random to complete each vignette.

How to achieve this look on a budget?

Make new paper look old by simply wiping it with a wet tea bag until you like how it looks, then dry it with a hair dryer.   Shop for decorative plates at garage sales and thrift stores.  Make it a goal not to pay more than $.25 each; that way there is nothing to feel guilty about when you want a change!

DIY kitchen island from a tree stump and branches?  How very cool!

An important caveat, before we continue:

Know where your stump is from.  It is not a good idea to transport wood from one region or state to the next, due to possible spread of potentially damaging wood-boring insects.  Talk to your local arborist, who should be able to tell you which wood species to avoid and who might even know where a good stump stash already exists!

Now that we are duly warned, let us proceed:

Once you have found your perfect stump and branches, bring them into a sheltered environment, although not inside your home – perhaps an outdoor shed – where you will expose the wood to a bug bomb, then allow it to cure for a month or more, depending on size.

After the stump and branches are fully cured, the bark should be removed.  Hopefully, it will have all fallen off by itself during the drying process.  If not, carefully chisel it off, taking care not to gouge into the wood more than necessary.  Use a hammer and wood chisel to do the work, taking your time to ensure the wood is not overly damaged.

Once all the bark is gone, sand the surface with medium-grit sandpaper until smooth to the touch and wipe off the sanding dust with a damp cloth.

 If you would like a more consistent color to your stump and branches, touch them up with wood stain of your choice, then seal the surface on all sides with several coats of matte or satin polyurethane.

FYI: The top of the tree stump has an open grain and will likely take more coats to completely seal than will the sides.

Attach the legs to the stump by means of brackets, available at any hardware store, as seen below:

Image of Waddell 3″ Straight Top Plate from Lowe’s @ $1.28

Decide where you want your table legs located, keeping them as evenly spaced as possible.  Mark each leg’s location and center a plate over each area, screwing down with the accompanying screws.  Insert a double-threaded screw into the center of each branch leg and screw that through the center hole of each bracket.

Et voila, a one-of-a-kind kitchen island!

Finally, our last upcycled home decor idea for today…

This lovely, large coffee table is made from a roof-vent cover and mirror atop a vintage laundry-basket base!  How fabulous!  Once again, a perfect example of the  Rough Luxe design trend – dull with shiny, old with new.  Magnificent!

Please use the images and inspirations found in today’s START To Downsize post, ‘Upcycled Home Decor Ideas’, as a jumping-off place for your own unique transformations!

Brimming with ideas and/or questions?  Drop me a note and we’ll put our heads together to come up with a good answer!


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2 Responses to “Upcycled Home Decor Ideas”

  1. [...] based on art and sculpture exhibits, at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.  In today’s START To Downsize article, Downsizing Tips – How To Use Artwork As Floral Design Inspiration, I will be using [...]

  2. [...] using the information found in today’s START To Downsize post, ‘Easy How-To Tips for Tiling a Floor’, to DIY a SnapStone floating porcelain tile [...]

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