Form + Function : My Favorite Upcycles

I’m design-minded but beyond just enjoying aesthetics I try to find opportunities to bring together my appreciation for pretty things and the sustainability of a good upcycle.  I also REALLY love making things with my hands so anytime I have the opportunity to get the slightest bit crafty I try to take full advantage.  I’ve found ways to reuse items around our home that might have typically been tucked away into storage, recycled or tossed out in the past and I hope sharing a few of my favorites helps others find ways in which their items might have more than just a single use.

Upcycle crib mattress to patio bed dishware to planters 

PATIO BED: Our patio isn’t very big, the view isn’t pretty and there’s quite a bit of road noise but we still find ourselves out there often.  We upcycled a crib mattress we got in our neighborhood Buy Nothing group and turned it into a little lounge bed.  Jeff loves taking work breaks on the bed to read and we’ve played a few games of backgammon on it too.  The bed makes our tiny balcony space very cozy.  When we’ve had friends over with little kids and both the crib and pack n play are filled with sleeping babies we’ve pulled the mattress inside and it’s been perfect for an extra nap spot.

PLANT HOLDER: I haven’t really used these little ceramic bowls but was holding onto them because I really like the way they look.  Since I wasn’t ever using them for food I put a few plants in them and placed them in our garden window.  Now I see the bowls often and they don’t take up space in a kitchen cabinet.

HAT HOOKS: San Diego gets it’s welcome share of sun and having hats is neccesary for all the time we spend outdoors.  Instead of having our hats take up space in a closet I placed them on hooks by our front door so they’re easy to grab on our way out.  I love that they keep the wall from looking so bare and we were able to use something we already had.

dishware out of the cabinet tv stand toy storage candle containers into storage

TEA CUP SCOOP: We eat oatmeal almost every morning which means we have a lot of oats on hand.  Instead of keeping the tea cup crammed into a cabinet I put it in a glass jar with the oats to use as a scoop and viola – instant kitchen decor.

DISCREET TOY STORAGE:  We recently swapped out our tv for a projector and donated a ton of DVDs to the library at the same time.  This pretty much emptied the tv stand drawers but we kept it around to turn it into a toy drawer.  It’s nice to have toys close by for our son but even nicer not to need to buy extra containers to store the toys and to be able to stash them out of sight easily.

BATHROOM STORAGE: I’ve been holding on to these candle containers for a long time and since I haven’t refilled them with wax yet, cotton swabs and hair ties have.

baby food jar upcycle junk bowl macrame plant hangers for garden herbs

BABY FOOD JAR CANDLES:  I am working on finding more uses for glass baby food jars but so far using them as votives for tea light candles and storing baby food is all I’ve gotten to.

JUNK BOWL:  My mom bought me this bowl for my birthday and I love it but I’ve always felt like I wasn’t using it correctly.  Initially it held all our remotes on the ottoman but now it sits on the countertop and collects miscellaneous items – pens, sunglasses, receipts, coins and random plastic pieces to who knows what. I love the design of it and when it gets full I clean it out.  I’ve found having a designated spot for clutter helps keep other surfaces clear and since the bowl is only so big it doesn’t let too much pile up.

HANGING GARDEN: We once had a garden growing on the ledge of our patio but were served with a lovely notice from our HOA reminding us of the rules and how that isn’t allowed.  Boo.  We will rebuild!  We’ve started with adding a few hanging herbs and plan to fill the open space with them since we aren’t allowed to place anything on the ledge.  We have a gardening hat and tools hanging on the wall to serve as patio decor when they aren’t being used.  I love that it’s out of reach of little hands.

So, what’s the purpose?  Why find multiple uses for an item?  Here’s my short list:

  1. You save money when you don’t need to purchase something additional.  What’s saved can be put towards a more life giving pursuit – traveling, taking up a new hobby, meeting a friend for a meal out, you get it.  Also, saving money means you don’t need to work as much to maintain a lifestyle of always buying new things which makes room for more free time in your schedule.
  2. It saves space and eliminates clutter.
  3. You’ll potentially have less to clean and maintain.
  4. It’s better for the environment.  New items typically come packaged.  If you aren’t buying more things then you aren’t creating any more waste.  Also, by finding multiple uses for an item you’re keeping it out of a landfill.
  5. You save yourself time by not needing to shop for something new.
  6. Being more resourceful with what you have is a small way you can influence others to do the same.  Hopefully this will lead to mass production slowing down, less environmental harm and better working conditions in factories.  One day??

I’d love to hear some different motives and be inspired by more upcycles.  Feel free to share yours with #halcyonhomemade on Instagram or in the comment section below.


Tagged , , , , ,

2 thoughts on “Form + Function : My Favorite Upcycles

  1. […] I owe all my repurposing inspiration to a friend who shared a photo of her nursing pad doubling as a coaster for her cocktail. Pure genius! I’m convinced moms know how to be resourceful and problem solve like no other. Feel free to share your upcycles in the comments and if you’d like to see some non-baby related ideas, list of my favorite around the house upcycles can be found here. […]

  2. […] FOOD STORAGE: In my post about upcycles I mentioned reusing glass baby food jars for food storage and as tea light candle holders on our […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.