REPURPOSING is so hot right now. At least if you’re on Pinterest or Tumblr, that is. If the most hardcore “upcyclers” are to be believed, there’s no such thing as trash anymore. These folks turn old yoga mats, washing machines, and even dumpsters into cool repurposed items with new and clever uses.
1. Luggage to medicine cabinet
Vintage suitcases — too cool to throw out, but not built to handle today’s batshit-TSA airports. This is my favorite suitcase repurposing project. Add a mirror, hang it over the sink, done.
2. Card catalogue to mini bar
“You have a card catalogue in your den?” “Yes, I own so many books, I’m forced to use the Dewey Decimal system. Just kidding, I’m a wino.”
3. Wine barrels to drum set
As a percussionist, I can’t help but wonder what kind of sound those shells would get. Is there any resonance? Eh, whatever. It looks cool.
4. Climbing rope to chandelier
Created by Son of Nils, these lamps are “made of used climbing ropes that have been in action in various places all over the world.”
5. Tennis racket to mirror
There are tons of things out there that can be repurposed into a mirror, by simply…gluing a mirror on it. But I think the tennis racket is my fav because it looks like a giant’s handmirror.
6. Skateboard to sconce lamp
This one, created by MFEO, is a vintage board with brass hardware. Modern skateboards would work too…although they might not look as classy in your study.
7. Dumpster to swimming pool
Insert ‘dumpster diving’ pun here. This New York City mobile pool project is the endeavor of Macro Sea, a company that specializes in projects that combine art, repurposed items, and urban renewal.
8. Washing machine to fire pit
I vastly prefer s’mores to clean clothes, anyway. Play it safe and surround the pit with bricks or stones if you’re grilling on the grass.
9. Newspaper to yarn
All I can think is “what would happen if I knitted a newspaper yarn sweater and got caught in the rain?” But according to Green Upgrader, this stuff is only slightly less durable than real yarn. Maybe I should just start with a scarf.
10. Globe to lamp and bowl
Here’s what I would do with this: Hang the globe lamp directly above the kitchen table, then fill the globe bowl with colored marbles and center it on the table right below the globe. It looks cool in my head. Maybe I should buy a kitchen table so I can do this.
11. Suitcase to chair
These luggage seats will go around my globe table. I’ll have map napkins, airplane trays, and…maybe I’ve taken repurposing too far.
12. Suitcase to boom box
These BoomCases are handmade by the three employees of Mr. Simo and are fully customizable. And also, wicked cool.
13. Vintage plane parts to furniture
Austin Powers-esque bed brought to you by Motoart, a company that specializes in creating corporate and home furniture from old plane parts.
14. Vespa to rolling chair
So rad. Even better, the Barcelona-based company responsible for these also makes car seat sofas with headlights.
15. Light bulb to greenhouse
Now imagine a few dozen of these strung around your patio. Or hanging from a skylight. They’re just beautiful, and apparently pretty easy to make.
16. Bucket to rocket stove
According to the folks at Root Simple, the best fuel source for this homeade five-gallon stove is twigs, and is great for boiling and frying.
17. Credit cards to guitar picks
While you could try cutting your own picks, it’d be a lot easier with the Pickmaster Plectrum Punch. Definitely a cool way for a guitarist to turn old bank cards, gift cards, and carton lids into useful repurposed items.
18. Floppy disk to notebook
Love this one. They look pretty hip, and the cover is nice and sturdy. Too bad I haven’t had a floppy in my possession in about a decade.
19. Yoga mat to laptop sleeve
Brit actually offers 20 cool options for repurposing yoga mats, but this laptop sleeve is my favorite. The flip flops and wine bottle stopper are pretty cool too, though.
20. Cassette tapes to lighting fixtures
This one’s pretty classy, but if I could find my old shoeboxes of cassettes, things would be a bit more colorful. Fluorescent, actually.
21. Light bulb to oil lamp
According to Recycled Light Company, this thing burns for over five hours. Which is more than I can say for the last bulb I bought for my bedroom.
22. Piano to water fountain
Apparently, an employee of Piano Works in Atlanta took this irreparable piano home and turned it into a planter that pumps out 2,000 gallons of water an hour. Oh, and it’s freaking beautiful, too.
23. Thrift store painting to badass monster art
I don’t know if this counts as repurposing, and I don’t care. This is too cool not to include. Artists Chris McMahon and Thryza Segal pick up landscape paintings from thrift stores and add their own beasties. Prints are available (I recommend the cowboy lassoing the octopus-dog looking thing). What are your favorite repurposed items? Share a link in the comments.