Y! Homes | Project Center

Upcycling your kitchen decor

Y! Homes | Project Center

(Photo: Cathie Filian/CathieandSteve.com)

There are tons of ways to save around the house, but perhaps one of the easiest is finding fun, creative ways to re-use the things you already have.

"Upcycling" is one of the hottest new trends in home décor and it's an easy way to update every room in your house without spending a fortune. The word "upcycling" refers to a process that involves taking everyday items and converting them to a new and better use—like turning an old, worn dresser into a sink base, for example.

With a little creative thinking, you can turn everyday objects you find in your kitchen into statement-making accent pieces. The best part? In addition to saving the planet, these conversation starters offer high-concept design while hardly putting a dent in your wallet.

Add a little flair to your kitchen with these fun upcycling projects:

A wine cork wreath. This is a great one to do after holiday party season since you'll likely have many wine corks available. Save all the wine corks from every bottle you use. This project takes roughly 100 corks—if it'll take you years to gather that many, start asking friends and family to donate theirs.

Designer Cathie Filian suggests on her blog, CathieandSteve.com, that homeowners use two paper plates as the base for this wreath. If you don't have paper plates lying around, try cutting out two hollow circles to use as a template. Once your template is complete, decide on a color scheme. You can keep the corks natural, but if you decide to paint make sure to do so before you start gluing the corks. Wrap the base in yarn to camouflage it and glue the corks on top in a pattern like the one seen above. Let it dry thoroughly before hanging on the wall.

(Photo: Sean and Elena Arroyo/Vintage Restification)

Colander light fixtures. If you're like me, at some point or another you'll have more colanders than you know what to do with. At the height of my strainer-hoarding I had four; two of my own, one of my former roommate's and one that moved in along with my now husband. We donated all but the one we needed, but that was before I learned they make pretty handy light fixtures.

The best part of this project is that it can be customized to fit your current space. For a pop of retro color, choose a metal colander in a bright, bold color, or pick a few of your favorites and combine them to create a chandelier. Have a more modern space? Use a stainless steel strainer and mount on the wall. Take a hint from Sean and Elena Arroyo of Vintage Restification—they use steamer baskets, mason jars and colanders to create these awesome accents. All you need is a lamp making kit, which you can purchase at any home improvement store, and a little patience.

(Photo: UpcycleThat.com)

Iced tea planters. Iced tea addicts, rejoice—there's now a use for all those cans. Jaques and Judy at UpcycleThat.com suggest turning those cans into functional and stylish herb planters. Simply remove the tops of the cans using sandpaper (as shown in the blog), wash out any excess tea and let dry. Fill them with soil and plant your favorite herbs and spices. In addition to making great accent pieces, these window gardens will provide fresh ingredients all year round. This technique also works with glass jars or smaller soda cans.

Ilyce Glink is an award-winning, nationally syndicated real estate columnist, blogger and radio talk show host, and managing editor of the Equifax Finance Blog. Follow her on Twitter @Glink.

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