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Category:  Decorating

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10 New Uses for Old Items

 Decorating with Finds from the Past

by Kathy Wilson

Creativity reigns in budget decorating, and there is no better place to showcase your creativity then repurposing old things. Just a couple of great ideas can make a room scream with style, and add loads of personality.

1. Crate It! Use an old wooden crate once used for pop bottles or wine as a shelving or wall display unit. Be sure to attach it to the wall studs with heavy duty hardware. Display pretty knick knacks, books or use it as storage in the kitchen or bath.

2. Bring in the Birds

Pick up an old concrete birdbath at a thrift shop or yard sale for a song. Top it with a round of glass for a one of a kind end table.

3. Open Doors for Your Dining Room

Another creative table idea is to use an old door as a dining table. Have glass cut to top the table, and add legs from a home improvement store. The shabbier the door, the better! Peeling paint and rusting hardware adds character to the piece, and the glass adds elegance.

4. Mirror, Mirror

Pick up small wall mirrors on clearance from your local discount store and use as candle trays. Place pillar candles on the trays in groups of three to five. The mirror will reflect the candle light, doubling the sparkle!

5. Fence in Your Pots Find an attractive piece of iron fencing at the salvage yard and use as a pot rack in the kitchen. Hang from the

ceiling with chain. Be sure to secure the hanging hooks into studs for safety. Use metal s-hooks to hang pots, pans and utensils.

6. Serve Coffee on a Bench

Yard sales are full of old wooden garden benches with lots of character. Use them in a casual home as creative coffee tables in the living or family room. They can also serve as entry tables.

7. Make Candlesticks

Old turned table legs or stair balusters make wonderful candlesticks. Use a paddle drill bit to create a seat for the candle just and inch or two deep. You can both sand and paint the candlesticks to match your decor, or enjoy their weathered appearance.

8. Use Old Fabric

Old tablecloths can be sewn into wonderful curtains, and pretty quilts can make wonderful table covers! Cut up stained pieces to create chair covers or placemats. Evan a worn floral gown can be salvaged and made into pillows.

9. Plates and Cups

Glass, stoneware and china plates and cups can be re used as wall art, flower vases, planters and candle holders. Check out thrift shops for a great selection for only pennies per piece!

10.Picture Frame Panels

Dollar shop picture frames can be used to add traditional wall panels at a budget price! Remove the glass and backing from the frames, and hang in square or rectangular groupings beneath the chair rail. This will mimic the wood molding panels in expensive homes.

Kathy Wilson is an author, columnist, and editor of The Budget Decorator. For thousands of free budget home decorating ideas, visit her at  


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