Zero-Waste Home Decor Ideas - Part II: Unconventional Decor

June 21, 2019

 

 This post contains affiliate links. See disclosure.

 

 

As someone who lives and breathes interiors, I'm always itching to switch up our decor. Unfortunately, it's just not financially or environmentally responsible to buy new stuff on the regular. So, I've come up with other ways to scratch that itch.

 

In this post, I'll share the best zero-waste, budget-friendly decor ideas from our home!

In case you missed last week's post: Zero-Waste Decor Ideas Part I: Vintage Decor Ideas, click here.

 

1. Old Books

 

Old coffee table books are a great source of art. No one'll notice if you rip a page out here or there...

 

The Art Book ($30.62, Amazon.com).

 

 

Within these frames are pages from an oversized coffee table book compiling the work of one of my favorite artists, Peter Doig:

 

I'm not embarrassed about the origin of this 'art' and have kept the bottom image resting on top of the mat board, drawing attention to the fact that it's a page from a book. Does this make me cheap or resourceful? I say both.

 

 

 

 

Peter Doig ($40.36, Amazon.com).

 

Don't have any art books lying around? No problem. Even old textbooks with interesting visuals will do the trick.

 

This is a page from an old anatomy text from my med school days:

 

 

As are these:

 

 

 

Rohen & Yokochi Color Atlast of Anatomy ($91.80, Amazon.com).

 

 

 

Netter Atlas of Human Anatomy ($78.37, Amazon.com).

 

 

For more on this, check out this post:

 

 

2. Old Magazines

 

Before you purge those old magazines, have a quick flip through to see if there are any frame-worthy images. My favorite mag for this purpose is the Kinfolk series. It's full of stunning, minimalist-friendly images.

 

 

 Kinfolk Magazine ($12.91, Amazon.con).

 

 

 

Within the frame on the top shelf is a page from one of my old Kinfolk mags:

 

 

 

The photographed image in the walnut frame within our gallery wall is also from Kinfolk:

 

 

 

3. Kids' Artwork

 

By displaying the art your kiddos bring home from school, you're making use of something that might otherwise end up landfill.

 

 

This is a triple win for your home, the environment and your kid's self-esteem!  Even if your little one's no Picasso, you can display their art in a lower-traffic part of your home, like their bedroom, mudroom, or as a small part of a larger gallery wall.

 

 

We have my four-year-old's work up on shelves in his room:

 


We also have a designated frame within our gallery wall for his rotating works:

 

 

 And, a spot on our shelves:

 

 

For more on how to decorate with kids' art, check out this post:

 

 

 

4. Old Vacation Souvenirs

 

There's no better way to achieve a meaningfully curated home than with memorabilia from trips around the world. 

 

 

If you have your vacay keepsakes stored away somewhere, why not rummage through to see if there's anything that might look good on your mantle?
  

We love to pick up decor pieces on our travels. To give this habit a zero-waste spin, we no longer buy conventional souvenirs from our for the sake of buying souvenirs (i.e. no tacky shirts or magnets). But, I always keep an eye out for art and interesting objects from local shops and artisans. 

 

Some of our favorite pieces were acquired on trips.

 

This ceramic bowl was a Joshua Tree find and was made with local clay. The colors remind us of the rocks and desert sand in the area.

 

 

These carved gourds were from a trip to Peru.

 

 

Eric snagged this inlaid wood box while in Egypt.

 

 

 

 

5. Upcycled Shopping Bags

 

With shops like Aritzia and Anthropologie elevating their bag art game over the last few years, shopping bags have become totally display-worthy. Not only is this environmentally-friendly, but economical!

 

In fact, you might argue that if you divide the cost of your purchase between the clothes and the 'bag art' you're going to display in your home, it may justify the over $200 you just spent on that new blazer.

 

 

 

Yeah, I know... a greener thing would be to bring your own reusable shopping bag. And, the greenest would be to avoid buying new clothes in the first place (this isn't quite that kind of blog...). But, assuming you already have these bags lying around, repurposing them as art is zero-waste gold!

 

Image via Aritzia

 

 

 

Image via Anthropologie.

 

 

 

The image on the lower shelf is cut from an Anthropologie paper bag:

 

 

Within the small gold frame is the bottom part of another Anthropologie bag:

 

 

6. Old Clothes

 

If you have some old clothes you were keeping for sentimental reasons, why not frame a piece of the fabric? You won't appreciate that first onesie collecting dust in your basement the way you will a framed keepsake out on display.

 

I've yet to try this, but my friend Katie, at Peonies On Pleasant, did a nice job framing this piece of fabric cut from an old shirt:

 Image via Peonies On Pleasant.

 

 

 

7. Repurpose A Candle Jar

 

Many scented candles come in beautiful decorative jars. It seems like a shame to throw them out when the candle's used up.

 

You can easily repurpose a candle jar into a planter:

 

 

If you want to see more of our kitchen, click here:

 

 

 

 

8. Rearrange What You Already Have

 

One of my favorite introvert pastimes is rearranging furniture and decor in our home. Not only does this help hone your 'eye'---the ability to tell what looks good where (and better elsewhere), but, it's a great way to give your home a fresh look without spending a dime.