We've all heard the old adage: One man's trash is another man's treasure. However, when you're sifting through yard sales and thrift shops, it can sometimes be difficult to find the diamonds in the rough. After all, which pieces are treasures and which ones are, well, trash? That might depend on how creative you're willing to get.
If you ask us, almost any item can be upcycled into something new and improved — and doing so can help you save serious cash. That's why we've rounded up our favorite upcycling ideas that will show you just how many possibilities there are. From DIY furniture pieces to functional organizers for all your knick-knacks, these simple upcyclying ideas and trash-to-treasure crafts prove that old goods can be transformed into new pieces with just a tiny bit of work. You'll be living a more beautiful — and more environmentally friendly — lifestyle in no time.
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Sure, a wooden desk is lovely to begin with — but there are creative ways to really make it shine.
Add a layer of paint, some peel-and-stick patterned paper, and a tassel for a desk that can hold its own as the centerpiece of your space.
There are so many ways to transform this simple piece from the neighborhood garage sale...
Use painter's tape to create a geometric pattern on the front of the cabinet. Now, you've got a show-stopping piece.
If you can find two matching lamp shades, then you can DIY your own chic light pendant.
Remove the fabric and lining from the shades and attach the wire frames bottom to bottom with electrical tape. Thread a pendent light cord through the middle and screw in an LED bulb. Hot glue the end of a length of jute cord to the top frame and wrap around until covered. Repeat with the bottom half.
Leftover wine corks are the perfect things to upcycle into something new.
Transform them into the perfect hostess gift with a little hot glue and a few gems.
Before you send those cans off to the recycling bin, see if you can upcycle them first.
Rinse clean, file sharp edges, then measure the can height, cutting wrapping paper or wallpaper to fit before securing with double-stick tape.
Use bricks from a leftover home project or buy them at your hardware store for around 60 cents each.
Scoop dirt or potting soil into a hole and pop in a few small succulents for the ultimate low-maintenance garden.
Get creative with a flea market find (we picked up this seagrass beauty for $10).
This dream weave was easy to achieve: simply paint a design, following the pattern of the basket.
Transform this dumpster-bound find into an entryway organizer that will add a pop of color and pizazz to an otherwise empty wall.
Use painter's tape to give the frame a fresh new color. Paint one pane with chalkboard paint and customize the others to your liking. Add a shelf and some hooks and you're done.
Your next round of yard work might leave you with a few concrete blocks leftover — and if it does, don't worry about how you're going to schlep them to the dump.
Instead, paint a pretty design onto a few of them and use the blocks as indoor or outdoor planters. Your flowers will never know the difference.
If you're replacing your old dining-room light fixture, give it a second life and turn it into something totally new.
A show-stopping necklace will make you feel elegant whenever you put it on (or simply see it in your jewelry box). These ones require just a bit of suede cord and lobster clasps.
At a yard sale? Scoop up that set of old teacups — there are so many creative re-uses for them.
These adorable homemade candles make perfect gifts. Not to mention, you can customize the scent exactly to your liking.
Your home refresh doesn't have to end with a fresh coat of paint. You can also turn those empty paint buckets into something fabulous.
A gold-trim ice bucket is just the thing to take your bar cart from blah to bold.
Vacuum your old rug to clean off excess dirt — then, get ready to take it up a notch.
This hot trend is surprisingly easy to do at home. Mix store-bought dye per instructions — we used RIT all-purpose dye in Coral. (Note: Match your dye selection to your fiber type — e.g. natural vs. synthetic.) Wearing gloves, fill a glass spray bottle with mixture. Coat surface of rug. Repeat until it is the desired color.
Past-prime mirrors are a dime a dozen at thrift stores and yard sales alike. Pick one up and transform it into a centerpiece for your coffee table.
A delicate candle tray will look so chic in any farmhouse, boho, or traditional home.
You know you've been saving those corks for something. We've got the most adorable solution ever.