The Art of Upcycling: 7 DIY Home Decor Ideas

Reduce, reuse, and UPcycle.

Nov 9, 2015
tools for diy home decor

DIY upcycling is an eco-friendly, inexpensive alternative to redecorating your home (topdreamer)

When it comes to decorating, it’s the little details that make a room – the pillow for a splash of color, the rug to pull the room together, the vase to add a modern touch. But buying new home decor is often expensive - and excessive, too. Upcycled, do-it-yourself home decor, on the other hand, are one-of-a-kind, singular pieces that reduce waste, save money, and greenify living spaces. With upcycling, used or discarded objects are recreated as unique home accessories - old wine barrels transform into bookcases, flip flops to floor mats, and skateboards to stools. Ready to get creative? Read on.   


The perfect DIY project for wine-drinkers, this eclectic piece will bring a rustic feel to any living space.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Lampshade, bulb, old wine bottle, engraving device or drill, wiring.
HOW IT’S DONE: With a diamond tipped drill or engraving device, create a hole near the base of the bottle. Run the appropriate wiring through the hole and connect with the lamp and bulb fixture.

lamp made from upcycled bottle is a diy home decor item

Add an energy-efficient bulb to make this lamp a truly eco-friendly home accessory (lanaredstudio)


A creative way to preserve memories while upcycling old maps, you can even stitch your route for a trip down memory lane.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Old road map, embroidery needle, embroidery thread, frame
HOW IT’S DONE: Cut the map to fit the frame and then use the needle to poke holes in the map along your route. Using a backstitch, sew along the route, finishing with an X at your destination.

Framed upcycled map as a diy home decor idea

You can also use old maps, instead of a regular mat, to add a quirky border to any picture (marthastewart)


Salvage old drawers with this quirky bulletin board that will make a practical and colorful addition to a bedroom, office space, or kitchen area.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Old drawer, corkboard, colorful paper
HOW IT’S DONE: Cut the corkboard to fit inside of the drawer and glue in place. Cover with colorful paper and hang on the wall.

Upcycled bulletin board as a diy home decor idea

This hanging drawer can also double as a display mantel. Add some decorative items to the bottom frame for an extra touch (bhg)


It’s time to clean out your closet and get rid of the mountain of old t-shirts you never use. Instead, repurpose them as soft, sentimental pillows.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Old t-shirts, rotary cutter, ruler, sewing machine, thread
HOW IT’S DONE: Cut the fabric to the desired size, allowing for 1/4-inch seams. Sew the sides together, leaving an opening to fill. Use filling to stuff your pillow, and then sew it closed. Push the filling to the bottom of the pillow and feed the unfinished edge through the sewing machine.

Upcycled pillow from tshirt is a diy home decor idea

T-shirt pillows make great gifts! Try it out with a shirt of your friend's top band, college mascot, or favorite colors (diynetwork)


If you’re looking for something to do with the ancient collection of inherited tea cups, these candles are a great way to light up your home and preserve antiques.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Teacup, candle wax, candle wick, old metal bowl, saucepan, scissors
HOW IT’S DONE: Combine the candle wax with water and melt over low heat. Position the candle wick in the center of the teacup and slowly ladle the melted wax into the cup, filling to the rim.

Teacup upcycled as candle is a diy home decor idea

This is also a great idea for mugs or cups with cracks in them. Instead of throwing them out, make a candle! (popsugar)


It’s time to put your old jeans to use and create one-of-a-kind, durable coasters that will protect your surfaces from heat and water.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Old jeans, scissors, fabric glue
HOW IT’S DONE: Cut away the inside, outside, and bottom seams of the jeans and trim them so they are all around the same width. Place a dot of glue at one end of the same and roll, place a line of glue along the denim while working. Continue rolling and adding new lengths of seam until you have a four-inch-round coaster.

Upcycled coaster made from denim is a diy home decor idea

With the leftover fabric, try your hand at crocheting a handmade denim rug (popsugar)


If you’re looking for a nice way to display your neglected vinyl record collection, these bookends bring a pop of vintage to your bookshelf.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Two vinyl records, kettle or pot for boiling, flat-bottomed heat resistant container
HOW IT’S DONE: Boil enough water to allow an inch of water in your container. Dip about 1/4 of the record into the hot water. The vinyl bends easily once it heats up. Bend the record so it forms a 90 degree angle and let cool.

Upcycled bookends made from vinyl records are diy home decor ideas

Because vinyl records melt so easily, there's a lot you can make with them. Try this bowl next! (instructables)

Mirele writes about everything related to doing good, with a particular interest in volunteering and social entrepreneurship, informed by her background in eco tourism.