9 Ways to Repurpose Natural Materials in Home Design
Repurposed natural materials add interest and texture, as shown in these examples of homeowner- and designer-inspired sustainable décor.
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Salvaged Wood Wall
This multicolored wall was made with boards salvaged from a gymnasium floor. Retrouvius, an architectural salvage warehouse and design studio, rearranged the various finishes and colors to achieve this stunning look. Find reclaimed wood planks from local lumber companies, Etsy and even The Home Depot. Or use other materials — you’re only limited by your imagination.
The ocotillo (pronounced ah-kuh-TEE-yo) is a drought-tolerant plant native to the Southwestern U.S. and Northwest Mexico. Its strong stems can grow up to 20 feet tall and are often used for fencing or shade structures, like this ramada, a pergola-like installation by @sonoran_ocotillo.
Even if you don’t have access to ocotillo plants, consider using locally sourced branches to create shade on an existing structure.
All kinds of natural materials transform ordinary mirrors into pretty reflective conversation starters using little more than a hot glue gun or construction adhesive. @driftawaydriftwoodart finds inspiration in whatever washes up on her local beaches, including shells, coral and driftwood.
Salvaged Stone Fireplace
When renovating an old home, think twice before throwing out materials. Both the stone and the cedar mantle on this beautiful outdoor fireplace by @zivleyknoll were salvaged from the property’s original house.
Of course, not all of us have such treasures waiting to be unearthed. But you can find salvaged beam mantles online, like this one made from turn-of-the-century barn wood!
You’d be surprise at all the ways you can decorate with a tree stump. Jonathan Levi Rutherford specializes in just that, using logs from storm-damaged trees to create furniture, sculptures and other objects. Among our favorites: This showstopper of a vessel sink made from a burl wood stump.
Tree Branch Ladder
Don’t overlook those tree parts left over after a trimming, removal or storm. They can be transformed into all sorts of items, including branch shelves and functional art.
@veganandbeaut made this blanket ladder for her living room with branches from fallen trees near her home. To make your own, clean the branches and remove any loose bark. For a smooth finish, sand the branches with fine-grit sandpaper and apply a wood conditioner to bring out the natural color. Cut and assemble the rungs using twine or rope.
Using reclaimed wood pieces is not only good for the environment, it adds character to your home. This rugged, storage-packed coffee table was built with wall wood salvaged from @sarahlabrieinteriors‘ 1950s home. Bonus points: She paired it, to great effect, with a rug made from recycled denim!
If you live near a beach, consider finds like sea glass and driftwood materials for one-of-a-kind art for your home. The Aloha Shack offers sea glass mobiles created with authentic glass and driftwood found on the beaches of Maui.
These eye-catching home décor items by @heartland_homes_decor feature crushed mussel shells and non-toxic eco resin (check out her Etsy shop!). Terrazzo is also a fun DIY project and an easy way to reuse broken materials. Besides shells, terrazzo can be made with chips of marble, granite, quartz or glass. Here’s a resin terrazzo kit to get you started! (Shells not included.)