Repurpose or Replace?

Are you ready to give your home a refresh? From full-scale renovation to simple redecoration, when sourcing materials there are many options that don’t always include something “new.” Think outside the box and go green. No matter what your goal, incorporating recycled or repurposed materials is great for the environment and your budget. Follow along as we take you through some unique ideas for your space.

Repurpose vs Upcycle

While these two terms may sound alike, they are actually very different. To repurpose is the act of adapting an item for a different purpose than its original use. For example, using antique doors as a headboard, stacking rubber tires for a retaining wall or adapting a bookcase to a bar. To upcycle is to reuse a discarded object or material in a way to create a product of higher quality than the original. So instead of replacing an item, like a vintage wood floor, you could strip and re-stain it; old furniture could be re-upholstered, and antiques repaired and oiled.

What is salvage?

Salvage on the other hand is property or goods that have been rescued from destruction. When factories close, a house is demolished or a business gets shut down, everything from stained glass windows, lighting and fixtures can be saved. Architecture salvage encompasses all these scenarios. But unless you enjoy the hunt of tracking these treasures down, the best place to shop often direct through a retailer. If you’re lucky, you may find a marble mantle from an old Victorian or a claw-foot tub from a historic hotel. From knobs to kitchen cabinets, molding and doors, salvage shops are a wonderland of unique and beautiful items that are never short on character.

What to buy used?

With all the options for sourcing upcycled, salvage, recycled and repurposed items it can be overwhelming to decide what to buy second hand. The best way is to narrow your focus and only seek objects that are decorative, sturdy and will add character to your space. These include:

  • Retro lighting
  • Antique bathtubs and sinks
  • Vintage fixtures (knobs, faucets, switches)
  • Decorative stained glass
  • Wood trim pieces (banisters, molding, mantles)
  • Interior doors and shelving
  • Cabinetry, wainscoting and beams
  • Brick and masonry

What to buy new?

New items should be an investment. Spring for quality and longevity when shopping. Consider how an object will add to the functionality of your space and if it will make your home more energy efficient and comfortable. Great items to buy new include:

  • Energy-efficient windows and doors
  • Heating and air conditioning units
  • Energy Star-rated appliances
  • LED lighting and bulbs
  • Linens and towels
  • Mattresses and bedding
  • Pillows and other soft goods

Saying Goodbye

With all the ways to add “used” items to your home, keep the trend going when it is time to make a replacement. Choose to donate or sell your items instead of sending them to the dump. Check your community boards for resale shops or local non-profits that may benefit from your items. From appliances to windows, furniture and linens, there is someone out there looking to turn your trash into treasure. Starting a new home project is an exciting time of decisions, purchases and promise. So, before you run out to start buying supplies, be sure to incorporate some of these great techniques to keep your project on track and your home efficiently green.

We at RWF are committed to producing long-lasting quality products. Our floors are made to stand up to years of wear and tear while still maintaining their beauty. Click here to find out more about how we make this happen.