New isn’t always better. Many of us understand that vintage and antique items found at secondhand shops often prove to be overlooked treasures. But before you second guess acquiring a chipped piece of furniture found at the flea market or hanging onto broken homeware lying around your own home, consider the fact that houseware waste is clogging landfills.
In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2017, Americans threw out more than 12.2 million tons of furniture, decor, and housewares—about 80% of that waste ended up in landfills.
“Sometimes the cheapest, most convenient, and fastest way of doing something may not be the best choice,” says Manasa Mantravadi, MD, a board-certified pediatrician and founder of Ahimsa, a brand of easily recyclable and stainless steel dinnerware meant to last.
While not everything can be salvaged, marked up children’s furniture and lawn chairs can be repurposed. You can even transform broken ceramic plates into beautiful mosaics (find the DIY below).
Apart from helping to reduce our collective carbon footprint, upcycling furniture and homeware DIYs are a creative way to reimagine old items. Here are five DIY projects to transform your broken home goods into beautiful treasure.
A mosaic table from old dishes
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The beautiful mosaic table made from broken dishes “has so much interest,” says Rachel Saunders, a multidisciplinary artist and designer in Victoria, British Columbia. The table can be made using colorful pieces of ceramics in shades fitting your space’s preexisting color palette. Choose pieces of varying shapes to create visual interest. Not all mosaics need to have perfectly precut geometric pieces to offer a design punch.
To make a mosaic table, you’ll need:
Find a table with a slight recess in its top. “Having the indention makes it much easier to tile,” Saunders says.
Collect pieces of broken ceramic plates that can’t easily be repaired. Break these into smaller pieces, no more than three inches at their longest.
Using the spoon, spread the 2-in-1 mortar and grout to cover the table’s top evenly.
Take the comb and make cross hatches for the ceramic pieces to stick to. Begin placing the ceramic pieces in an organic but complimentary pattern (Saunders used three different colors.) Let these dry overnight.
Next, use the same 2-in-1 mortar and grout product to grout the mosaic tile.
Sponge off excess grout and sand down any rough patches. Let the creation dry fully for another 24 hours. “Given the nature of the imperfect ceramics, the surface will be a little uneven, but I find charm in that,” Saunders says.
A tire rim firepit
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