5 Fun Upcycling Ideas and Vintage Trends

Vintage trends are back and we think it’s crucial to get definitions straight before getting started with our favorite upcycling ideas and fashion trends. Fortunately, more and more people realize that upcycling, recycling, and going vintage are essential. As we know, climate change is causing significant changes, and we all have to act sustainably. There’s a lot to address between changes in human behavior, fast fashion, flooding, and even extreme weather conditions.

Because the global public understands we have to act—now—there’s been a move toward sustainability. In fact, there’s much more discussion about how to be more green for the planet. Some of the ways that each of us can help get started toward that sustainability are by getting more familiar with some of these terms. According to Merriam-Webster, upcycling means creating something from recycled products of greater value than the original item. For instance, sneaker companies are upcycling plastics found in the oceans and making them into recycled sneakers.

By contrast, recycling means to reuse or convert into something for another use. As an example, you could take a paper bag and recycle it to create more bags. Or, you could take old curtains to your local tailor and recycle the material into clothing.

vintage blazer and skirt

Photography by: Ivan Ramirez @irphotography_official

1. Vintage Clothing is a Top Trend That’s Here to Stay

During the 1970s, people started to go to vintage stores to find fun and exciting retro clothing. Unfortunately, in the 2000s, we entered a time of fast fashion. In other words, style got seen as expendable, and people could continually buy new clothes at cheap prices depending on the season’s trends. However, the trend for fast fashion is not something that has staying power. So, vintage is now back on top. People have started to go to thrift stores or have started to donate their clothing so they can pick up fun, cool, and interesting vintage pieces.

The reality is that vintage, with its quirky mix-and-matching, is not going away. Upcycling is here to stay and as you know with the pandemic, fashion changed. What was acceptable, more reserved, and conservative to wear to the office in 2019 isn’t where the world’s at.. After lockdowns and remote or hybrid working, people want to have more fun with fashion. Of course, that means brighter colors, prints, and embracing their personal style to stand out in a crowd. Vintage fashion helps with that because you could get one-of-a-kind pieces not available anywhere else!


studio garden shed

2. Making Old Sheds into Cool Entertainment and Personal Spaces

As we mentioned, upcycling means creating something of greater value. Well, one of the most remarkable ways we’ve discovered for doing that is with old sheds. In the past, sheds were a structure on your property where you probably kept your gardening and lawn tools. They were just a small—uninteresting—building. Hallelujah, how the times have changed! When the pandemic started, millions of people began working from home. Leave it to people to be creative because many decided to convert old sheds into personal spaces such as creative studios, book nooks, playhouses and even bars!

However, the upcycling ideas didn’t end with converted spaces. Nope! People went all out and remodeled their sheds into “she sheds” (you know that men have their man caves). They also created gaming and entertainment spaces. Still, others decided to convert sheds into gyms, yoga studios, and individual rooms for health and wellness. In fact, if you do a quick search, you’ll find dozens and dozens of ideas for upcycling sheds into fun places to entertain friends and family or just for you to get away from it all in your area.


vintage tv dog bed

3. Old Furniture Could Get a New Look and Purpose

Whether you’ve thrifted old furniture or it’s been handed down from the family there’s ways to upgrade those pieces. Maybe you have furniture you bought, but it’s been around for a long, long time. No worries! Check out this cute vintage tv hutch that was turned into a dogs mini oasis with a full bed! Do you have an old dresser that you would love to get out of your bedroom and recycle somehow? How about an old desk? Well, with a bit of time and imagination, you could convert them. Let’s start with the dresser. Your dresser could become a new desk, bathroom vanity, or even a nice accent bench that you could place in the entry of your home.

As for your old desk, well, we know that sitting behind a desk isn’t great for your health. So, how about upcycling and converting it into a standing desk for better circulation and wellness? The reality is that you could do a lot with old furniture. In fact, if you’re tired of the same look in your home, you could get a whole new look by simply converting your old furniture, repainting and recycling them into other pieces for your home decor.


bench vintage chairs

4. Reimagine Your Backyard by Adding Upcycled or Vintage Items

People often think about the inside of their homes and want to make that space beautiful and comfortable. However, the backyard is also just as essential. As you know, during the warmer months, it’s a place where you could spend time with your family and friends. Moreover, being exposed to greens and blues is good for peoples’ overall mental health and well-being. So, you shouldn’t skimp on making the backyard comfortable and pleasing.

What could you do? For instance, is there something that you could do with your old wooden chairs? For starters, you could upcycle a variety of vintage chairs into a fun bench. You could also purchase a vintage bicycle or a front and back basket and make the whole thing into a planter. Add colorful flowers in both baskets, and you’ll instantly have an item people will remember and mention. Another fun idea is to go to a vintage store and pick up an old bathtub. You’ll need to get one side of the bathtub sawed off, and then you could add support and comfortable pillows for a fun (and unique) accent piece in the garden!

tea cup planters

5. Use Recycled Items and Integrate Them With Nature & Your Home

So, as we know, each of us needs to be sustainable. Ultimately, that means we have to get creative about what we throw away. Well, yes, there is. You could take old kettles and teacups and upcycle them into flower pots succulent terrariums. Do you happen to have old curtains lying around? How about making them into a hammock so you could lounge and soak in a warm summer afternoon?

Want a big, creative project? The springs of an old mattress could become a wall trellis for outside your home so you could have ivy and nature climb it. Love your first car and don’t want to part with it? Well, you could even bring it into your home or backyard by cutting out the front part of it and converting it into a place to sit. In short, all it takes is a little creativity and research to find out the best ways to upcycle and recycle almost anything you have in your home!

We hope you loved these upcycling ideas. And, if you want to do something for others, consider a fundraising clothing drive for a good cause.


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