Usually I’m showing you how to restore your old house, but sometimes I like to get creative and reuse some of the myriad of leftover building materials I come across as a restoration contractor. Today, I wanted to give you some inspiration for your old home with these 5 DIY projects using salvaged items.
It can be as easy as getting a great deal on a piece of furniture at the local antique fair, but to create the truly eye-catching conversation pieces it requires re-thinking the materials you have into something unique and special.
So, I’ve put together some salvaged projects that I or some of my friends have created over the last few years that might give you some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing. The options are only as limited as your imagination so let it loose and start creating.
1. Window Chalk Board
One of my favorite clients need a message board and coat rack for her two girls when they came home from school. I thought what better way than to grab a salvaged 2-lite window sash and swap out the glass for some masonite that I then painted with chalkboard paint.
Add some decorative lettering by one of my long time employees, Karen, and a couple salvaged hardware finger lifts turned upside down so they can hang their coats or bags and you’ve got a salvaged window message center! We even went a little overboard and added a pin board on the backside should they ever decide the chalkboard was not their style it’s a reversible piece of salvaged decor.
2. Door Coffee Table
My friend Mark made this mid-century coffee table out of a small door we found on a train station project. He had the simple idea to refinish the door and then add some hairpin legs he also salvaged. Of course, you could buy some hairpins legs on amazon and put them on all the same, but Mark wanted to keep every piece of the table historic even down to the reclaimed screws he used.
It may not be a table you need, but old doors are awesome for almost any project! Headboards, tables, room dividers, anything you can think of can work, especially since there is so much variety in the sizes of doors.
Once you have the door picked out you can either make the legs or buy pre-made wood or metal legs that best suit your project.
3. Corbel Shelf
Probably the easiest ideas are finding interesting and sometimes large pieces of salvaged architectural elements and simply cleaning them up and displaying them in your home. Item like these corbels make perfect shelf brackets. Just pair them with an old piece of wood and you’re done.
Old wooden signs can make fun wall decor. Tin shingles can become a vintage backsplash. The options are as endless. Look for a piece that interests you and try to find a creative and different way of using it.
4. Console Table
The natural patina that wood gets as it ages gives it such a rich look that it makes almost any project feel warm and inviting. I found an old structural wood beam in my shop and decided I needed to display it somewhere in my offices. I didn’t have a lot of time to do a big project at the time, but remembering Mark’s mid-century table legs I had a thought.
I washed the dirt off the wood with a garden hose and scrub brush then sanded it enough to smooth out the roughness but keep as much patina (patina is my favorite color after all!) and then added four coats of my special wood finish and left it dry. The next day I picked up a tall pair of hairpin legs on amazon slapped them on the bottom of the piece of wood. Viola, a DIY salvaged wood console table for under $50!
5. Door Knob Wine Stopper
Old glass door knobs are beautiful to me and the different colors and varieties are amazing. So, I decided to jazz up my wine fridge by turning some of the salvaged glass door knobs I have floating around my shop into reusable wine stoppers.
I found some tapered corks and attached them to the underside of the door knob and now I had a fancy way to serve wine. You don’t have to use actual cork if you don’t want to. There are lots of wine stopper options out there. You just have to drill a hole in the cork and glue a dowel into the center then glue that same dowel with a little Gorilla Glue 5-minute epoxy into your doorknob.
I really hope these DIY projects have given you some ideas for your home and got those creative juices going. Let me know if you have any other projects that’s you’ve done that you might want to see me attempt making in my shop. I’ll take the best suggestions and create a YouTube video for my channel so you can see my take on building the project.
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I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.