Upcycling, recycling, repurposing and salvaging are the current buzzwords in the interior design world. Whether it’s because of the economic downturn or concerns about the environment, we’re all becoming more conscious of what we use and what happens to the things we throw away.
Instead of throwing something away we should repurpose it instead, which simply means taking something old and giving it a new lease of life as something else; with some paint, craft materials and creative thinking thrown in along the way.
Units which have storage underneath and the sink sitting on top are hugely useful, especially in a small bathroom. But there’s no need to rush out and buy a new vanity unit from a bathroom supplier, as nearly any old sideboard or chest of drawers can be adapted to have a basin fitted on top.
Look for unfashionable dark wood or orange pine furniture, paint your unit in a light shade to match your bathroom and give it a couple of coats of waterproof varnish to protect it. Ask your plumber to supply either a new or second-hand sink to sit on top.
If you want to take the project a step further, consider tiling around the top of the unit using vintage tiles or end of range bargains from the DIY stores, or sheets of mosaic tiles which can be cut to shape.
It’s always a good idea to have a lockable cabinet or cupboard to keep medication in, especially when you have small children around.
One really individual way of creating a medicine cabinet in your home is to use an old leather suitcase, which can be bought for a few pounds in second hand or charity shops. Screw the base of the suitcase into the wall, fit a mirror on the front and then add some wooden shelves inside. Use the existing locks and catches on the suitcase to keep it closed, or add a small padlock instead.
Oh, and don’t forget to keep your medicine cabinet clean once in a while: this will help.
Wine racks come in all shapes and sizes, and the best sort for bathrooms are the iron racks which can be fastened to the wall.
Roll your towels up so that they are the same diameter as a wine bottle, and just slot them into the rack. Smaller items such as face flannels and bottles of shampoo or bubble bath can easily be stored in the same way. Look out for wooden or metal wine racks rather than plastic as these are easier to paint to tie in with the rest of the colour scheme.
Floor standing racks may be better if you need to store a lot of towels, as it can be difficult to keep heavy racks secured to the wall properly.
There are dozens of ways in which you can create extra shelving in your bathroom, from the conventional to the quirky. One of the most unusual ways is to use an old doll’s house which your children have grown out of.
Remove the front of the house and any furniture from the interior, and you have a set of handy pigeon holes to use for storing toothbrushes, loo roll and bottle of perfume. Or turn an old ladder on its side and fix it to the wall, giving you the perfect space to store lighter items or things like pictures and other decorations.
Let your imagination run wild and always consider how else things can be used before throwing them out.
If you’re handy with a knitting needle or crochet hook, it is very easy to make your own bath mats using strips of old t-shirts or other cotton, either knitted up into a large rectangle, or crocheted into an oval or circle.
Alternatively, corks from wine bottles can be used to create a useful and unusual bath mat too. Cut the corks in half then pack them into a wooden frame as tightly as you can. You will need lots of corks to make a reasonably sized mat, so start saving and ask friends and family to pass you theirs. If you pack the corks tightly enough there is no need for glue.
We’ve also put together a huge list of 100 interior design blogs that features plenty of blogs that make projects like these.
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