Recycling & Upcycling Used Home Pieces

Upcycling is a popular home trend that takes recycling a step further and transforms common used household items and gives them a whole new function and purpose. From arts and crafts projects to custom-made furniture and home accents, there are many items that can be upcycled and turned into beautiful additions for your home. Below are some common items you can upcycle and add to your home.



Old solid wood doors can be sanded, refinished, or painted to create a wide variety of room and home accents. Here are just a few ways you can repurpose old decorative doors.

Table or Desk—Doors can easily be turned into dining room tables, end tables, or work desks. If the door has a decorative, uneven surface you can cover the top of the table or desk with a custom-cut piece of glass. The glass allows the beauty and detail of the door to shine through, while giving you the functionality you desire. For a dining room table use one or more doors and a set of sturdy legs or wooden foundation. For broken doors or smaller doors you can create small desks and end tables.

Frame for Art—You can hang beautiful old doors that have intricate designs or multiple panels on the wall and paint, draw, decoupage, or etch intricate designs into the uniform sections of the wood.

Headboard—For a custom made headboard, cut and connect multiple doors to your desired height and width of your bed. You can then sand, paint, or stain the doors your desired color, or use them as a foundation to add padding and decorative material.

Storage Shed—If you enjoy working in your yard and are in need of a little extra space to store your gardening tools you could upcycle doors and use them as the four walls and ceiling of a small outdoor storage shed.

Room Divider—If you have a large room in which you would like to add some separation and privacy you could join together a series of doors with hinges to create a unique room divider.



Windows can also be upcycled and used in all of the ideas mentioned above. You could also take old windows with multiple panes and add glass between the panes to create a unique wall mirror, or add chalkboard or corkboard to the frame to create a home message system.


Mason Jars

Mason jars or any glass jars can be upcycled and given a whole new life. Some common ideas are to drill a hole in the center of a Mason jar lid and add a soap dispenser pump to the lid. The soap dispenser can be used in the kitchen or bathroom. You could also use a Mason jar or series of Mason jars to create unique light fixtures. For jars that are no longer good for canning you can use them to store decorative rocks, candles, or flowers.

Upcycling not only gives used items a whole new life, it also reduces waste in landfills, gives you a creative outlet, and is often less expensive than purchasing full-price alternatives. To find pieces to upcycle go to garage sales, estate sales, thrift stores, and flea markets.


This article was provided by Charity Bailey, Environmental Studies student and creative repurposer. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to re-purpose a garage door, or just need a garage door opener installed on a normal door, Charity recommends checking out commercial garage door openers in Houston, Texas.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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