From rags to objects of beauty

Last Updated 30 March 2017, 18:35 IST

Decorating your home with unique decor pieces has long been your plan. But, your plan has been put off multiple times, as buying new home decor is often expensive. Having a beautiful home doesn’t have to mean that you must invest a lot. In fact, much can be done without splurging on it. With a little bit of creativity and imagination, items that you considered throwing away can be transformed into a beautiful decor piece for your home.

If you are wondering how, this can be done through upcycling, which is the
simple process of repurposing unwanted products that are no longer being used in better quality products. This has become quite popular today and many people are upcycling various items to create something that is original and one-of-a-kind.

If you too are looking for something that is original and one-of-a-kind for your home, upcycling is the way to go, as you can create unique decor pieces. This is simply repurposing something that you are about to throw away or has been unused for a long time into something of value. Taking an object or item that has been lost, forgotten or become useless and giving it a new lease of life has always been seen in various forms in home decor.

However, it is only in the recent past that this trend has picked up.

Upgrading products
While it is increasing in popularity, there is some disagreement as to what the
difference between upcycling and recycling is. Broadly speaking, recycling is the process of converting materials into a different product; upcycling, on the other hand, upgrades used products to have a different purpose. As a result, the quality of upcycled products does not deteriorate. “Recycling reduces the quality of a
material or product. After a point, it can no longer be reused,” explains Shailaja Rangarajan, co-founder and CEO of “Upcycling, on the hand, upgrades it into a product with a different use. As a result, the quality of the product does not reduce.” As such, upcycled products have been transformed into a product of value and their quality is still intact.

But why go for upcycled decor? For one, they are highly sustainable, original in
design and cost-reducing. What else can one ask for, especially when home decor is very expensive these days? What makes upcycling unique is the personalisation that it offers. As a result, you can infuse a bit of your personality into your home. And by doing so, you are able to tell a story.

This is something that Aakriti Kumar, founder of Differniture, a New Delhi-based furniture design atelier believes in. “It could be the layers of worn-out paint that reveal what colour a certain piece was painted earlier or the gnarled and weathered grain of reclaimed or salvaged wood that was used in the product. These hidden elements bring out another dimension to the products.” What better way to break the ice at your house party? Additionally, if the products are chosen well, it can
accentuate the room’s features and complement the other decor pieces that you may have in your room too. So, keep a lookout for unique pieces that can add to the charm of your home.

And if you are confused as to what you can keep as a decor piece, look beyond its intended purpose. For instance, you can consider using a foldable chair as a closet space to hang your clothes and store accessories as well. It doesn’t just stop here - there many other things that you could do with old products, as the best decor can be created with items that you almost threw out. “For instance, you can add life to a boring, plain wall by placing some quirky wall stickers. Or, if you are looking to add a vintage feel to your home, you can place a wall clock made out of a vinyl record. Coasters are the perfect choice if you are looking for something that is subtle and understated,” says Amishi Shah, whose company The Upcycling Co makes such products.

However, while choosing which items you want upcycled as decor pieces, it is important to choose the right products as these can  make or break your space.
Having the right ones can help your space stand out. While you may think that it may be difficult to do, it is actually not. In such times, just follow your aesthetic sense or have someone who can guide you through the process of picking up pieces that can accentuate your space. “The idea is to use these upcycled products as conversational pieces and make them stand out from the rest of your furniture and decor. Having a few select pieces that make a statement will be more impactful than having a roof full of quirky products,” elaborates Aakriti. Additionally, it is also important to look at the durability of the product that is going to be transformed. This is a crucial factor in the upcycling process as the decor piece needs to last long.

Consider constraints
While upcycling, it is important to consider the limitations of the product that is being repurposed and how you can work around it. “It is important, as a design choice, to accentuate the repurposed components of the design as that is what will add to the piece’s uniqueness and individuality,” avers Aakriti. So, whether you want them to be obvious or subtle, ensure that these upcycled products look aesthetically pleasing and fit in seamlessly with your new decor products.
Keep in mind the overall decor them for the space before making your decision. By doing so, you would be able to have a piece that will look resplendent in your home space. Here are few things that you need to keep in mind when you are buying upcycled products:

l Ensure that you are buying from a credible source.

l Find out how the product makers source their waste materials.
l Check for the product’s quality.

As the product you will be buying is one-of-a-kind, it’s important to appreciate the work that has gone into it. If you aren’t looking to buy them, simply make them on your own! All you have to do is to rummage out things that you haven’t used in a while and give it a ‘facelift’ in any way you see fit.

If you want to do it yourself, all you need is a little imagination, a bit of time and be experimental. Upcycling is perhaps the one area where you can let your imagination run wild.  Whether you choose to buy it or do them yourself, the results that you get from upcycling will surprise you. So, what are you waiting for? Begin your
upcycling journey!

(Published 30 March 2017, 16:34 IST)

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