Reclaim, Restore, Reuse

Furniture By Any Other Name...

They used to call it junk, and then they called it refinished furniture. After a time it became shabby chic or retro chic, depending upon where you live and which current culture you adhere to. Today, the recycling industry has overrun its banks from the collection of cardboard, bottles and plastic containers to include furnishings and furniture. Reclaimed furniture is the not only one of the best ways to be green, it can be a great hobby and a money-saving way to fill your home with treasures. An added bonus is that by purchasing recycled items it closes the gap in waste, creating a viable market for items we would have tossed away not so long ago.

Also check out our article on faux painting to learn how to give old furniture a new lease of life.

Preserve History and Keep the Dump Level Down

History is being preserved in the reclaiming of items that otherwise would have added to the height of the city dump and with a blend of ingenuity and creativity, things that could have been lost are restored in a new framework to be used for many years to come. Coffee tables that used to be doors grace the living spaces of some of the most posh homes on the block. Room dividers, made of industrial artifacts cleverly put together, not only make their designer some money, they lower the dump level and save a page in history as well.

How Do I Reclaim Furniture?

There are a couple of ways one can go about reclaiming furniture. The obvious way is by shopping in used furniture stores or specialty stores where reclaimed furniture has already been refinished and is put up for sale. For the hunters out there, one of the fun ways to get the job done is by cruising the countryside, checking flea markets and ads in the local papers. You can always find things in the piles of throw-outs found curb side when the city does its annual spring clean-up as well. Sources are limited only by your willingness or unwillingness to search.

Okay, I've Got The Piece, Now What Do I Do?

Once you find something you want to reclaim, there are many ways to get the job done. If you're handy, refinishing the piece in the basement or the garage can be a rewarding project. Sanding and painting pieces can be done in relatively short order and you can add another treasure to your growing trove. If the do-it-yourself way is not your idea of a good time, there are folks who specialize in refinishing furniture and, for a fee, they'll do the job for you. Having said that, there are myriad books and workshops available to help a person learn to do the job themselves, so you save money and get the satisfaction of having restored a piece yourself.

You're Only Limited By Your Imagination

Don't forget, the way you find something need not be the way it ends up. As mentioned earlier, doors can make wonderful tables. Leaded glass from a door or cabinet can be framed and hung in a window or against a wall. We've all seen those huge reels which are used for wire, turned on their side, painted or stained and sealed, gracing the backyard of somebody's house. Barrels make great planters, but they make wonderful chairs as well.

The sky is the limit when it comes to recreating furnishings from the recycling bin.