Minimalism is all about finding ways to simplify your life so you can make more room for the important stuff, like your relationships. Sometimes, though, you need new things to make your home complete. When things break or get damaged, the time eventually comes to replace them.
Just buying new stuff isn’t really the minimalist way. It seems wasteful and it creates clutter. Many people living the frugal lifestyle, therefore, have become very interested in upcycling. They take old stuff that looks like it is past its use-by date and restore or repurpose it.
The incredible thing about renewing/upcycling is the sheer number of options you have. You can take something that looks destined for the scrap heap and remake it entirely. Or you can restore old features in your home that look like they’re past their best into something completely new.
Don’t buy new stuff. Upcycle and renew instead. Here’s what to do.
Turn A Pallet Into A Wall Bar
Pallets are, by their nature, functional, rustic objects. And for that reason, they almost always look good when incorporated into a minimalist home. Pallets have found all kinds of uses over the years, but their role as wall bars is one of the most interesting.
You’ll need to do a fair bit of sawing to get this one right. But if you think about it hard enough, it is straightforward to turn a regular pallet into a wall bar. Start by cutting the thing into two sections, incorporating the end. Then stick it back together with the sawn-off part at right angles to the rest of the pallet body. You should end up with a shelf with a protective wooden rail, keeping all your spirits safe.
If you’re really clever, you can embellish the design by using the gaps between individual slats of wood for hanging wine glasses.
Bicycles sometimes get so old that you can’t use them to ride around town anymore. Everything eventually breaks, and repairing them is not economical. With that said, bicycles retain their charm, long after you wouldn’t want to ride them anymore. And that makes them ideal for planters.
Take an old bicycle and strip off any components that are creating an eyesore. Then paint it a color of your choice to get rid of any ugly branding. Baby blue is a good option. Following that, place a planter in the basket at the front and use it for a flower display in your garden. You’ve just created a brand new centerpiece. Well done.
Renew Your Floors
Wooden floors have a habit of attracting scuffs and stains. Over time, the protective coating wears off, and grit and damp make their way into the material. Eventually, you wind up with something that looks like a shadow of its former self.
Ripping up the floor, throwing it out, and replacing it with a new one isn’t the minimalist way. Neither is it necessary. With a floor renewal service, you can just get professionals to give it a makeover. They assess the damage, remove any dirt or stains, dry it out, and refinish it, protecting it from wear and tear.
There’s no fundamental reason why wooden floors can’t last a very long time with regular servicing. So long as you maintain the protective coating, they’ll look as good as new for decades to come.
Oil Barrel Coffee Tables
Oil built the modern world, but it is also a symbol of environmental degradation. Recycling the paraphernalia associated with it, therefore, is a top priority for some people.
If you have an old oil barrel lying around, don’t throw it out. Clean out any remaining oil, use an angle grinder to slice a cross-section out of it, add stands, and then add a tabletop of your choice. Finish it off by painting it in attractive colors to suit the rest of your decor. It’s brutalist but can look stylish in the right context.
Refinish Your Kitchen Cabinets
A lot of homeowners will rip out their old kitchen cabinets and replace them with brand new custom kitchen cabinets. But to a minimalist, this doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why get rid of the whole cupboard when all you really want to do is change the look?
For that reason, there’s now a trend towards simply refinishing or repainting kitchen cabinets. The actual interior structure of the units is often still intact. You just want to make it look different from before.
The simplest way to give your kitchen a makeover is to repaint the doors and other external visible areas of the cabinet. You can also replace the doors themselves if you feel like your kitchen could do with a new style. Importantly, both of these techniques are inexpensive and change the feel of your kitchen without wasting resources.
Building a ladder garden is both a lot of fun and very rewarding. If you have an old step ladder for decorating lying around, don’t just bung it in the shed. Instead, transform it into a beautiful feature for your garden.
Start by painting the ladder a custom color of your choice, covering up any old paint stains. Pastel colors work best here. Then grab some planters and place them strategically on the steps. If you’re not planning on using the ladder again in the future, you might want to nail additional boards to the structure to give you some more real estate for plant pots. Totally up to you, though.
Renew Your Sideboard
Sideboards are okay, but they can get a little dull after a while. Staring at the same blank, wooden facade in your living room, year after year, is enough to drive anyone mad.
Fortunately, you don’t have to put up with mundane, so long as you know how to make good use of metallic-effect.
Here’s what to do. Close all the cupboard doors and then start applying gold or silver metal strips. Try to create an attractive pattern as you place them. Go for something geometric, but modern, to chime with the rest of your minimalist decor.
Add Extra Sponge To An Old Armchair
Just like kitchen cupboards, the basic structure of armchairs never really wears out. Instead, the upholstery and foam padding starts to look and feel a little tired, which is the point at which most people will replace the whole piece.
As you might guess, though, there’s no fundamental reason to do this. You can recycle an old armchair and make it look stunning, all at a fraction of the cost of buying a brand new chair.
Start by ripping out all the old foam and fabric. Then make a note of the thickness of the existing foam and then insert new stuff 25 percent thicker. Wrap it all in some exciting new upholstery and fix it into place to give you a completely new and different item.
Make Your Old Wine Crates Into Piano Stools
Pianos and minimalist homes tend to go hand-in-hand. Grands, in particular, provide fabulous centerpieces in homes dominated by white walls and tiled floors.
Here’s an idea: instead of buying a new piano stool from a shop, make your own using a wine crate.
First, make sure that the crate you choose is robust enough to support an adult human’s weight. Then take another piece of wood the same size as the opening and upholster it. Choose an exciting pattern that suits the rest of your room, and then use it whenever you fancy a jingle on the honkytonk.
Turn Your Bread Bin Into A Charging Station
If you’ve just upgraded your kitchen, you might have an old bread bin lying around, probably destined for the dump. It turns out, though, that you don’t actually have to say goodbye to it forever. In fact, bread boxes make excellent companions in today’s age of high tech devices.
Recently, people have begun experimenting with turning old bread boxes into charging stations. They’re much more attractive than commercial docking stations, and actually complement the rest of the decor in your property.
Start by cutting some holes in the back of it, large enough for a USB cable. Then rig it so that once all the devices are in place, you can close the top or front of it.
Use Old Mason Jars As Food Containers
If you’re always struggling with storing pre-prepped meals, then check out this idea. Instead of buying a bunch of plastic tubs from the supermarket, use more environmentally-friendly mason jars instead. If you want a salad for lunch, put the heavier items, like beans, at the bottom. Then layer everything else up with the leaves at the top. Visually, it is super attractive because you can see all the items in your salad lined up from the outside. Plus, it saves you from buying plastic you don’t need.
Minimalism, renewing, and upcycling all go hand-in-hand. By taking old objects and restoring them, you’re preserving functionality while avoiding adding any new complexity to your interior spaces.