Skip to main content

Eight original ideas for reusing household items

Do you have a bunch of things at home that you think you should throw out? We recommend checking out these ideas to reuse them first. You're sure to be surprised by all the things that you can make from items like an old box, glass jars, corks or hangers etc.

If one of your goals this year is to try to be more sustainable, this is for you. It may seem like a complicated goal at first, but it's really not. At IKEA, we know that everything starts with the first step and that small changes make a big difference when looking after the environment.

A basic principle of sustainability is using resources responsibly or making the most of what we have, which is essentially the same thing. In this article, therefore, we propose several ideas to reuse household objects and give a new lease of life to something that no longer appears to have a purpose. Not only will you be able to re-purpose things that you were going to throw away and save a bit of cash but you'll also have fun at the same time. What more could you want? Let's go!

1. Create a handy shelving unit with multiple boxes


If you have several wooden boxes taking up space around the house or forgotten in the storage cupboard, you're in luck. Use these boxes to create a shelving unit to store all those little things in your room that never seem to have a place. From accessories to stationery, or even your shoes.

It's easy to assemble: simply stack one box on top of another depending on how high you want your shelving unit to be. For greater stability, you'll need to screw them in or stick them together with special wood glue.

Once done, simply find a place for your new shelving unit and start storing whatever you need to in it. You can also pop some decorative elements like a plant on top for a truly beautiful end result.

2. Make a paint palette out of a mould you never use


If you or your family members love to paint, this idea might just serve you well. It's really simple and it involves using a cupcake mould as a paint palette.

We often accumulate these types of cooking utensils and then barely use them, so if you feel like it's taking up space for no reason and some of you are fans of painting or have children at home, you can mix your colours with ease. This can be very practical for little ones as the deeper compartments allow them to use more paint without making as much mess as conventional palettes.

3. Create unique plant pots from glass jars


Our kitchens often accumulate glass jars from various foods that you've finished or that you specifically bought for a certain use but no longer serve that purpose. If this applies to you, a good way to reuse these jars is by converting them into plant pots for herbs that you regularly use in your kitchen.

You can hang rails with hooks and keep them near where you cook. As well as keeping your herbs handy, they'll add a touch of nature to your kitchen decor. As the jars are made of glass, you'll be able to see both your plants' greenery and the soil.

4. Design a beautiful dream catcher with a hanger and string


Feel that your room could use an ornament? Instead of buying one, you can make one with things that you have at home. Here, we make a dream catcher for the bedroom. Follow this example of how to make one. You'll need:

  • One wooden hanger
  • String and ribbon of different lengths (about 10–12)
  • Wooden beads
  • Feathers

Once you have all these items, the process is as simple as tying the string and ribbon to the hanger, alternating different types for a more colourful piece. You could place one bead at the top and two beads at the bottom (before tying the knots). You can also tie feathers to the bottom — but put feathers on alternating strings so it doesn't look too busy. As a final touch, attach a shorter string with beads and a feather to top of the hanger.

5. Bring your urban garden to life in a plastic seedbed


Plastic boxes can have many uses: storing toys, shoes, clothes and books etc. but if you have too many and don't know what to do with them, you can turn them into seedbeds and create a small urban garden at home.

To do this, you just need to add soil, your favourite plants, water them and give them the light they need. We recommend thoroughly researching each type of plant so that you can choose those best suited to the weather conditions where you live and the current season. That way, they're more likely to grow well. Depending how well they grow, you may need to re-pot them later on.

6. Use cork to make an organiser for your accessories


Necklaces over here, bracelets over there… Never able to find your accessories? Then this idea is perfect for you. It involves hanging a board in your room or walk-in wardrobe to hang your accessories so they're always in their place.

To do this, all you need are small cork panels and bottle corks from your kitchen. In the photo, you'll see that we opted for our HEAT round pot stands but you can use whatever you have at home (square, rectangular etc.), you choose! Corks will work as hooks so you can hang up everything you need. To keep them secure, simply screw them onto the cork panel, as shown in the photo.

We've left them natural but if you wanted to, you could use your imagination and paint them different colours. It all depends on the effect that you want to achieve with your room decor.

7. Create a unique magazine rack from old hangers


Adding an innovative, unique touch to your home decor is easy. And this idea is proof why: use several hangers as a magazine rack. Use them to hang up magazines, newspapers or brochures and keep them handy wherever you usually read them (in the living room, in your office, in a bedroom corner etc.).

Simply mount several hooks on the wall and hang the hangers you need. You can even paint them in different colours for a more striking result. None of your family or friends will have such an original magazine rack!

8. Make your garden pretty with repurposed boxes


If you want to enhance the decor in your garden, you can do so with a couple of old boxes. Simply paint them in a bold colour and plant several plants that go well together for a beautiful plant display. If you really want it to stand out, use different sized boxes, as in the photo.

As for placement, you can put them directly on the floor, on the windowsill or stack them on top of other boxes for extra height. This unique, personalised touch is bound to attract your neighbours' attention.

What do you think of these ideas? As you can see, with a willing attitude, you can re-purpose many elements that are, in principle, no longer useful. If you find yourself wanting more, here are a couple of articles to teach you more about the art of upcycling. Don't miss out!

We love it when customers use our products in a creative way. Why not try to do something new with them yourself? But remember that any modifications or changes that you make to IKEA products will prevent them from being resold or used for their original purpose, thus invalidating IKEA product warranties and your right to return them.