18 December 2009

The Art of Recycling

I learned the art of recycling out of necessity when I moved to my own apartment. With my limited financial resources, I couldn’t afford to buy new furniture, let alone any decorations. So I started recycling discarded items. Pieces of old, decaying furniture made their way into my workroom, where they underwent renovation: removing old paint, filing with sand paper, painting. The final result would always astonish me. But more so, it would amaze my partner who, with each “junk” as he called it, would get angry: “You’re not bringing that junk into the house!”
With time, I developed an eye for identifying the potential in different items: an old back of a chair turned to a unique picture-frame, an old wooden kitchen-cabinet, complete with a rack to hang plates to dry turned into a one-of-a-kind bookcase.

Every few months, a new piece makes its way from the streets to the workroom. It always thrills me to the bone to see the transformation of something old into something fresh and special. The apartment is forever changing, new pieces arriving, new color, furniture being rearranged, the once kitchen-cabinet turned bookcase now makes its way to the bedroom, the once-yellow picture-frame is now painted red, and so on.

This way, you can redecorate your house almost for free (the only costs are sandpaper and paint). The work itself gives me pleasure – it’s very relaxing, almost like meditation. I also recommend you try other kinds of recycling. My cousin Nina is a designer, and her specialty is in recycling old clothes and making new ones out of them in a very unconventional way. Check out her blog to get some really cool ideas.

So start having fun! And don’t forget to take before and after pictures! Let me know how it goes. Here are some pictures of my own recyclables, but I tend to forget to take a "before" picture, so there's only one. But the rest didn't look much better when I first brought them home.

p.s. This post was inspired by Rebecca's post The Art of the Ordinary.


  1. you're very handy to have around. good luck!!!

  2. I love these pieces - you're so creative. I love the art hanging from the red picture frame -- I may steal that idea. "Inspired by" Thanks for posting the photos. Happy Holidays!

  3. that's amazing Khulud.

  4. shadow: yes, I sure do come in handy.
    rebecca: thanks! we've all got some creativity, I'm sure you can come up with some amazing pieces.
    yali: thanks darling. welcome to my blog, and you're welcome to visit my place to see other pieces. of course, it goes with an invitation for tea or coffee.
    hugs, khulud

  5. I love your recycled "junk". I enjoy finding unique odds and ends that others would pass up.
    Love your style, and I really like your african paintings too. I have one very similar to the teal/orange/black one.

  6. susan: thanks, however I don't want to take credit for the African paintings. I bought those while I was in Uganda.


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