Reducing Waste through Repurposing Vintage Items

For some buyers, once an item, fabric, or accessory has outlived its purpose or the fashion of the period — it becomes useless and worthy of only one place: the trash. For others, repurposing vintage items, especially those that have value, can be an expensive venture. Not only might it be costly to remake antiques and heirlooms (particularly if you have to use pricey materials or contract out the repurposing job), but it requires a considerable amount of time in order remake an old item into a new one. This might be time and money that you may not have readily available.

But what if you could creatively repurpose items, particularly antiques, keepsakes, heirlooms and treasures, and do so at a fraction of a cost? What if there were repurposing options that you pursue that not only helped you save a considerable dollar amount, and even minimized the amount of time and effort you expended into remaking your vintage item? Finding DIY repurposing options might just be the impetus you need in order to find renewed value in old items. Not to mention, it might be the best way to hold onto something that you may not yet be quite ready to get rid of.

The first step in DIY repurposing is to determine the value of the item you are working to remake. You make consider getting it appraised, or searching the internet to get a sense of its value. Once you know the true value of your antique item and you are comfortable with your plan to repurpose it, consider these tips to make something old feel and look new again.

Repurpose in Groups

In order to save yourself the greatest amount of money and time, consider repurposing multiple items together. This strategy has the greatest impact — which is particularly important if you are someone who has a tremendously busy schedule or who does not have large amounts of dispensable money to pour into your repurposing project. If you have many dissimilar items (like a bunch of old door handles or mismatched glass, porcelain or metal doorknobs), you can always make them seem like a group by uniting them with a uniform paint or stain color. While these items might be mismatched, remember that “mismatched” can also be a creative and avant-garde aesthetic. Not to mention that this great option will help you tie in items that may not have existed together into a common decor theme.

Be courageous and go all the way!

Antiques do not have to remain virtually unchanged. There is no official rule that antiques must remain as they were. In fact, they can be radically different than their original state. So do not be afraid to really change an antique. For instance, if you love your grandmother’s arm chair and you would like to incorporate it into your aesthetic, but the fabric is really old looking or barely fits your decor, then change it! Rather than leave it sitting in a dusty basement or storage center, you might consider reupholstering it so that you can still make use of a loved family heirloom and treasure. Warning though — if reupholstering is something that you are weary about doing yourself, then be sure to hand that job off to a professional. But if it is a job you feel knowledgeable enough on and confident to do, then throw yourself right into the project!

Scraps Need Not Be Waste

Finally, re-think the scraps and what you can do with them. If you have items like old textile pieces, needlepoint pictures or quilted squares that are just hanging around or stored, pull them out and frame them up. While they might not get used as they were originally intended, they can be repurposed as a great image to be viewed over a fireplace or at the entrance of your home. But just be sure to frame them in an area of your home that does not receive direct light as the above noted materials are prone to fading and sun damage if not protected.

Bank & Vogue is committed to reducing waste by reusing and recycling materials. For information on how to buy or sell vintage materials in bulk, contact us today.

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Recycled yarn used for embroidery Bank & Vogue