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  • Writer's pictureWendy Elizabeth

It’s so easy being green….

This week I decided it was time to talk about recycling. Redesign (and any smart interior design really) is all about using as much of what you already have before going to the store. It’s about being creative, thinking outside the box and trying to save money. Recycling and redesign are similar concepts; we alter and adapt so that we can reuse items that we already have. To me recycling is a bit like leftovers; I don’t want to have the same roast beef dinner two days in a row, but if on the second day it is cubed and stir fried with fresh vegetables it will seem like an entirely new meal. Recycling in your home is the same way. Be innovative when you think about how it could be put to better use. Don’t be predictable and just add any old fringe onto the bottom of a lampshade. Take the time to think about what you would really like eg. match the color of the trim to the lampshade, make it look very deliberate and not like you have mottled together a bunch of old junk on a Saturday afternoon. It’s the details that make the difference. With that in mind here are some easy recycling/redesign ideas for you to try: 1. Paint it. If you hate it enough to throw it away then you have nothing to lose by painting it. If it’s metal use a can of spray paint, if it has a wood finish sand it down a bit then paint away with whatever is hanging around the house. Remember gloss stands out more than matte. (I use black chalk board spray paint on anything metal – it works like a dream and has a black iron look to it when dry). 2. Bring it inside. If it’s an outdoor piece of furniture consider how it would look/function inside. 3. Take it outside. Same idea – maybe it could be waterproofed or polyurethaned and put outside or even used in a covered porch area. If it fades or warps after a few years does it really matter?? 4. Replace the knobs on anything. Try to use the opposite texture/element of what you already have. If they are wooden try a metal knob, metal try glass, glass to wood etc…… 5. Take off the doors. Remove cabinet doors in the kitchen and you instantly have some open shelving to display plates and glasses. If you don’t like it just put them back on again. 6. Use old chipped china dishes and cups to hold watches, jewelry, pencils, plant pots etc. 7. Recover a pillow (or even a small chair if you’re brave) with fabric, hot glue and safety pins. 8. Revamp your sofa. Take the fabric skirt off the bottom to expose the legs. Replace the legs if they are dated (most just screw on underneath and a variety can be found in your local home improvement store). Adding taller legs can also update an old sofa that is too low. 9. Remove the glued on appliques from your dresser or china cabinet. Take a flat head screwdriver or a knife and pry it under the applique. Tap with a hammer and usually the applique will pop off. If necessary patch afterwards with a bit of spackle and paint or stain over it. 10. Paint the inside of any cabinet a contrasting color to the outside. Any type of paint will do, your cabinets will have more depth and the contents will look more cohesive.

Finally, don’t be afraid to try anything. If you are considering throwing it away then why not take a little time to try and fall in love with it again?

For more by Wendy and the Blue Giraffe, go to:

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