What do you do with your old furniture or home equipment when you buy a replacement? Most of us would simply throw the old items away. But what if you could repurpose these items and turn them into something more beautiful and useful? Upcycling products is a trend that is fast catching on across the world and is a great way of reusing old residential items and saving money.

So, what exactly is upcycling?

Upcycling is the process of repurposing objects that are no longer considered useful such as your old sofa, study table, or chair and repurposing them into brand-new utility items. In a nutshell, instead of throwing away old objects, you make them more useful by upgrading them into something new and creative. What’s more, you won’t just get a useful new item for your house but also increase the aesthetic value of the object with basic skills.

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The great thing about upcycling is that it offers countless opportunities and enables you to unleash your creativity to come up with really cool objects. For instance, people have created amazing planters for their gardens made out of old pallets lying around their house. You will see lots of such examples on social media. Do you have old furniture, worn down items or pallets at home that can be turned into something new? Look up upcycling ideas (especially on Pinterest) and see what you can turn them into!  

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Is it like recycling?

While recycling also involves reusing old products, it is different from upcycling since the processes involved as well as the final results are very different. Recycling deals with reusing old and broken items and turning them into something else entirely. For instance, plastic can be melted and turned into pellets, glass can be moulded and blown into new bottles or jars, etc. In a way, recycling is like down-cycling since it involves breaking down the primary product to the original material and using that to create something new and useful.

On the other hand, upcycling is rooted in creativity and involves embellishment of an object so that it can be turned into something new and useful. In short, it is about giving a new lease of life to an old product so it can serve some other function. You can turn an old ladder into a vintage-looking bookshelf or turn old coffee mugs into succulent planters. The possibilities are endless!

While recycling and upcycling are different, they are both good for the environment as well as your pocket. You end up minimizing the waste and adding something new to your house instead of purchasing it at the market.

[Related: DIY tips for renovating your home on a budget]

Do I need to learn upcycling?

No. Upcycling is not a complex art that one needs to learn. All you need is to identify what you can do with an old object and you will find dozens of ideas on the internet to get you started. For instance, an old wooden crate can be easily upcycled into a great looking coffee table. Another great example is making a retro-looking bowl with an old record. All you need to do is heat up an old record in an oven-safe bowl for a few minutes so that the edges of the vinyl record can melt, making the disk mouldable at the side.

Likewise, there are tonnes of ways you can get creative and make upcycling a part of your life. Not only is it a fun activity to indulge in, but you’ll also end up saving money in the process.

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