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Recycled Décor 
for Money and Landfill Space Savings

    By Monica Resinger  

Decorating your home can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.   Recycled items utilized in your home decor can save a ton of money, not to mention landfill space.  Use items you already have or shop for used items at thrift stores or yard sales.

You might be thinking that recycled items are flawed and you wouldn’t want to use them in your décor, but there are ways to hide flaws and sometimes even turn an item into a work of art!   Here are some ideas

~ Paint can do wonders for décor items; it can transform a hideous item into a beautiful one. Shop at thrift stores or look around your home for wood, terracotta or other décor items such as boxes, containers, photo frames, planters, plaques, small wooden furniture such as a bookshelf or chair and other items, then paint them to go with your décor. You can sponge paint, use stamps or freehand designs.

To sponge paint, using acrylic paint, paint the item a complimentary color to your décor and squirt a puddle of paint about the size of a half dollar onto newspaper.   Dip part of a sponge into the paint then dab the sponge on the newspaper to take off the excess paint.  Then begin dabbing the sponge onto the item. Continue until you are pleased with the results. You can sponge dark colors onto light colors and light colors onto dark colors, both with great results. This is a great method for items that may have chips, cracks or dents in it as the resulting pattern can hide flaws.

Foam stamps can be found in the craft department of any retail store or a craft store and there is a great selection so you should have no problem finding a stamp that goes with your decor. To use stamps, paint the item a solid acrylic color that is complimentary to you decor. When dry, paint a different complimentary color onto your chosen stamp‘s surface. Stamp newspaper to take off excess paint then press the stamp evenly onto the item in the desired position. You can continue stamping for a patterned affect or simply use one stamp as a focal point.

~ For less expensive silk floral arrangements, check your local thrift store for supplies. I always see an abundance of silk flowers, greenery and baskets for a fraction of what it would cost new. If they are a little dusty, clean them off with a damp cloth. Look for flower colors and basket styles that will compliment your décor. I have even seen blocks of floral foam that can be put inside the basket to poke the flower stems into. If you wish, spray paint the basket a new color that will compliment your décor. Vases can also be found very inexpensive for posy displays.

~ If you have a welcome rug or other rug that has weathered or otherwise lost its color, you can paint over the original design with acrylic paints for a fresh new look. You can also look for weathered rugs at thrift stores and yard sales. Clean the rug first by either washing it in the washer or hand scrubbing it and hang drying. When it is completely dry, simply paint over the original design in desired colors. 

~ Use colorful scarves or hankies as you would doilies on tables. If you don’t have any, they can also be found very inexpensively at thrift stores and yard sales. 

~ For a magazine holder, cut the top off of a cereal box diagonally. Decorate the resulting magazine holder with paint and attach lace to the rim using hot glue. 

~ To make an inexpensive but charming planter, poke holes for drainage in a cleaned coffee can. Spray paint it desired color and add stamped or freehand designs. When dry, add soil and plant (should be a rather large plant if you are using a large coffee can).

~ Save any type of glass jar and use for flower arrangements. Add a few painted flowers or other design if you want to fancy them up. You can also use these as candleholders.

I hope these ideas give you some inspiration to use recycled items in your home as decor.  If you’d like more ideas, take a trip to your local thrift store and try to imagine the possibilities of items you see; you’ll be doing yourself a favor by saving money and landfill space.


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