Urban Renewal: Turning Recycled Materials into Home Design Treasure

In today’s global culture, everyone is looking for new ways to remain sustainable. When it comes to interior design, sustainability is as high on the proverbial “priority chart” as functionality, aesthetics, and mood—in the context of furnishing and styling a space.

When planning for a future remodel, sometimes the first place one should search for new materials, new ideas, and new inspiration is the past.

Clean out your attic or garage, search for yard sales and estate sales, and visit vintage, consignment, or re-seller shops. (You might even try your parents’ house.)  The lines between new and old blend when it comes to style. What was popular in decade’s prior is almost always destined to be recycled and redefined by contemporary designers.

Raw materials like rope, steel, or wood can easily be salvaged and re-fashioned to fit a more modern look. When drawing inspiration, look to the materials themselves. What is the story behind the object? Is it native to your region? What was it originally intended for? Try to work these questions into your design. A fitting example might be a weathered anchor serving as the focal point in a nautical-themed space. I a more urban setting, an exposed brick wall can play an excellent host to a display of local art, being held in frames made from salvaged wood.

Of course, a remodel or redesign should be serving one greater purpose: To reinvent your living space. This mission, however, doesn’t always have to involve spending tons of money on new furniture and amenities.