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Sep 20

Repurposing Furniture Instead of Throwing it Out

repurposing furniture from trashEvery year is the same thing at the Vollf’s residence. As soon as the temperature starts to rise and the flowers begin to blossom my needs to perform a spring cleaning and discard anything that is broken beyond repair or can no longer serve a purpose in my house shifts into high gear. Then, right after Labor Day weekend, I start thinking of how I can make my home cozier for the upcoming months, including the Holidays.

If you find yourself in the same situation, don’t worry, as you are not the only one and, before you decide to go on a shopping spree for a new piece of furniture, think about all the items you already have in your home and how you can reuse those goodies by simply refinishing and repurposing them. This way you will be able to give your home a new look without spending a fortune. All you have to do is get a little creative.

As much as I love the overall look of contemporary furniture, nothing can replace the outstanding level of craftsmanship of an old and well-constructed piece of furniture. Besides that, whenever I repurpose a piece of furniture, I feel great because by doing that I know I’m helping to protect our planet for today’s and future’s generations. (Repurposing not only saves on raw materials but it also conserves energy that would have been used in the process of manufacturing new product).

Did you know that for every pound of natural resources depleted in repurposing furniture, it’s estimated that between 5 to 9 pounds of original materials used in the manufacture of new product is conserved?

If you have an old chair that is just a little dated, you might want to consider re-upholstering it instead of buying a new one. By doing that you will not only bring a vintage piece to life, but, most important, you will prevent the unnecessary waste of our natural resources.

Be bold and create a conversational piece! Go beyond the simple fabric change and give the wood a new finish as well. Transform an old bar stool into exquisite plant holder simply by adding a fresh coat of paint or, depending on your crafting skills, by doing some decoupage to it. Older TV armoires can be definitely converted into workstations, wine cabinets, or even into a children’s wardrobe and, by doing that, you will be diverting a good piece of furniture from the landfill while creating a one-of-a-kind item. Furthermore, old furniture, tend to have less toxins than new ones that are made using particle board and formaldehyde.

Sometimes our new room design can no longer accommodate certain pieces from the older room. If this is your case, try to find a new home for those items. Instead of sending them to the landfill, look for other rooms in your home and see if you can reuse any of those items there. If not, try to sell them at an estate sale or donate them to a local charity or depending on the item, to places such as the Rebuilding Exchange that promote reuse education thru deconstruction.

The same way you are finding a new home for the items that are no longer useful in your home, consider buying used items and repurposing them. Instead of buying a wood like table set that is manufactured in a country with no standards for sustainability, consider acquiring a solid wood set from an estate sale and refinishing it to match your décor. After all you don’t need to be a furniture maker to repurpose old goodies.  When replacing your old furniture, head over to Seats and Stools’ website to get some ideas for design and style.

About the author: VK Sustainable Concepts’ Principal Andrea Vollf, LEED AP ID+C, is a registered interior designer and sustainability professional with over fifteen years of experience in the interior design and marketing industries. Ms. Vollf is also one of the co-founders of NEW – Networking of Entrepreneurial Women – a networking group that is committed to supporting and promoting entrepreneurial women living and working in the Chicago suburban area. Connect with Andrea on Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

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