The Three Rs: Repurpose, Reinterpret and Reinvent

By Paula Kirwan


Flea market and antiques mall furniture can be in good condition or it might need some TLC.  Many of us have the foresight to see the potential beauty of these pieces, and are willing to refinish them with techniques that bring that beauty out.


But are we thinking outside of the box to find less traditional uses for these pieces?


Add excitement to your home by repurposing pieces that are usually found in specific rooms of the house. For instance, a sideboard is typically used in the dining room, but how about putting it in a nursery (photo, right)? Think of the possibilities that the long top offers: It could hold the numerous everyday supplies needed for baby’s care, plus there is plenty of storage in the drawers and cabinets for baby’s clothes and diapers (photo, below left, see a dresser used in this fashion). 


A lovely old walnut or cherry chest of drawers makes a striking presence in a foyer instead of a bedroom, and offers the added benefit of drawers for keys, mail and other items that need to be tucked out of sight.


The hope chest that some young lady kept in her bedroom years ago as she dreamed of her wedding can be used as a coffee table in the family room. Likewise, the luggage she got for her honeymoon trip can be stacked to make a unique side table. 


Grandpa’s old wooden file cabinet can come out of the office and into your child’s room because the two bottom drawers make terrific toy boxes. It will continue to be useful as the child grows and can reach the top drawers for storage of even more treasures.


Don’t forget the bathroom when it’s time for distinctive decorating. Vintage china cabinets will work beautifully there, offering space for your pretty towels behind their glass doors.


If you’re handy, you can also reinvent furniture so that it can be used in a new way.  An old TV can be reconfigured to become a unique bar by removing the tube and building shelves inside to hold your glasses and spirits. Make a shelf unit out of a dresser that has missing drawers by adding shelving where the drawers used to be. Turn a sideboard or dresser into a bathroom vanity to make a one-of-a-kind bathroom. 


With the desire to find something unique for your home and the imagination to look beyond the obvious, you will soon see that the possibilities are endless.  Don’t be afraid to repurpose, reinterpret and reinvent!


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