40+ Upcycle Ideas That Prove One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

By Harpreet K July 9, 2023

This article was originally published on mydiwise
For some people, it’s hard to find time to get out of the house to go shopping for new home items when you have kids to take care of or a demanding job. Furthermore, we understand to need to add new items to your home, whether you just want or genuinely need them. But did you know there is always something you can make out of whatever waste you have? You can upcycle those wooden cutting boards or rugged jeans lying in the corner for multiple DIY projects. Every old thing does indeed have a new use. Some individuals have taken recycling to new heights. Some of the folks on this list find beauty in the most worn-out objects. We also guarantee that these innovative ideas will keep you occupied and inventive when you can’t find the time to get out of the house. We’ve compiled a list of simple and creative ideas that will not only help you beautify things out of potential waste but also bring out your inner artist.

iMac rebirth

Owning an iMac computer is a significant financial commitment. When it is damaged, it isn’t easy to dispose of. But what if you discover that you can turn it into something completely unrecognizable? We like to call this project the “ilamp.”
Image courtesy: ydw1988913 / Reddit
This individual demonstrated how to recycle, and even upcycle, Mac equipment. He used the bottom of the iMac as the base, and the other half of the bottom was molded to create the lamp’s neck. He converted the top of the computer to resemble a lampshade. How creative!

Brag about an LV bag

Having a Louis Vuitton purse is unquestionably a luxury! And what female wouldn’t want a bargain like this? So, for $75, this girl found an LV purse in a thrift store. Surprisingly, it wasn’t in excellent shape. But that didn’t stop her from using her creativity on it.
Image courtesy: NotABsian0073 / Imgur
As a result, she restored it to the point where it now resembles a brand new LV bag. Well, this girl wisely applied her knowledge and can now proudly show off her bag in front of her peers. We would love to flaunt this bag!

Bubble gown

Have you ever envisioned thermal bubble wrap and a gala gown together? Probably not. However, if you ever wear one, you can make it pop, literally! It also might help relieve your anxiety because bubble wrap is known to have stress-relieving properties.
Image courtesy: Bckrudwig / reddit
This man used recycled bubble wrap and turned it into a gala gown. Without a doubt, he is exceptionally talented. We have to say, considering the garment is made from bubble wrap, it’s very lovely. Celebrities that promote a sustainable agenda could definitely pull this off.

Vintage collection love

Vintage items retain a special place in the hearts of certain people. This user’s mother wished to own a vintage mixer for many years. But searching for an item like this at a reasonable price is a challenging task. Finally, her child came through.
Image courtesy: Benzona / Imgur
It was in a resale store for $5. But for that price, it wasn’t in good shape to give. As a result, the daughter worked tirelessly to transform the mixer into a stunning kitchen accessory. This woman is lucky to have a child who would do this!

The aesthetic rug

This guy decided to deep clean the rug that the previous owners of their home left behind. Once he washed it, he could clearly see the design of the rug, and it turned out to be quite detailed. This rug can give a room a lot of personality.
Image courtesy: dvalliant / Reddit
Instead of throwing it away like most of us would do, the person was resources and wise enough to clean it. It would have been such a waste if he had thrown the rug! What’s the lesson we learned from this? Always think twice before tossing something.

Crochet stitch master

When you’re on a tight budget, thrift stores can come to the rescue. You can save a lot of money if you decide to shop in them frequently. This individual brought a garment that looked like broccoli. Broccoli, yes. But, wait until you see what she did with it.
Image courtesy: u/couchpotatolady / Reddit 
Then she embarked on a crocheting adventure that none of us would attempt. She started by repurposing the cardigan as yarn, which was a brilliant upcycling step in and of itself. Then, she crocheted a cat bed out of the yarn. Genius!

Two repurposed shirts

We frequently recycle old clothing into something new. On the other hand, we have never considered recycling underwear. After all, it is a necessary clothing item, so why not? This craft person created underwear out of two old shirts.
Image courtesy: u/bpvanhorn / Reddit
It turned out to be a highly luxurious pair of underwear. After, there was some material leftover, but it’s better than tossing both shirts away. The leopard print offers a unique touch. It’s a confidence booster to look nice, even underneath your outfit.

Pallet-built bookcase

We frequently see wood pallets thrown on the side of the street. They can help haul hundreds of pounds of items, but people rarely attempt to upcycle them. This individual decided to put the pallet they found on the street to good use. He turned it into a bookshelf!
Image courtesy: onedio.com
Building a bookcase yourself is a great way to show off your personal style and talent when it comes to craftsmanship. And if you use an old wooden pallet like this guy, it won’t break the bank. We have to say that this is some of the best upcycle work we’ve ever seen!

Cat fortress

When it comes to pets, people recycle a lot of stuff. These recycling activities are exciting for both you and your furry friend. This individual wanted to construct a palace for their cats. After all, who’s to say that cats don’t deserve one?
Image courtesy: u/OwlOverIt / Reddit
Cats definitely know their worth, and if you are going to build a palace for them. It must be flawless. So what could be more ideal than a feline castle? This person used their old bed frame to construct a beautiful cat throne. It’s a hit with both the cats and us!

From an old fence to a garden box

We need to praise this creator before we can continue. Who goes through the trouble of making garden boxes out of an old fence for a friend? Until his friend intervened, this user was about to toss out his old fences because they needed to be replaced.
Image courtesy: kingpig2017 / Reddit
Out of love and kindness, the friend transformed the old, broken-down fence into a few garden boxes. We should be grateful for the thought and imagination that went into this project. Now we know what to do with our old fences.

Climbing toy tower

Upcycling has become a popular method of transforming rubbish into treasure. This user shared before and after photos of a broken and upcycled cable spool. You’ve probably seen them before, and you might have thought they were intriguing.
Image courtesy: derekghs / Reddit
People repurpose them as tables, toys, and whatever else they can think of. This guy transformed his into a climbing toy for Lady Sif, their new kitty. We wish Lady Sif joy and pleasure with her new scratch-climbing tower. She’s going to reach new heights!

Car seat makeover

Car owners know the importance of taking care of their car seats. They are usually the one part of the car that gets the most filthy. The ‘before’ photo depicts a dirty, damaged, and discolored seat. On the other hand, this guy appears to have used a wand to fix it!
Image courtesy: Zewsey / Reddit
We genuinely want to know how this metamorphosis happened and how long it took him. It appears to have undergone a professional transformation. This person seems to have put a lot of effort into cleaning it. And the hard work definitely paid off.

Homemade seed starter pods

Almost every gardener starts their plants from seeds, and choosing the correct container is critical. Some people are planting trees with materials that will take many years to decay. However, now they are becoming more aware of this problem, like the person who took these photos.
Image courtesy: Aluminumthreads869 / Reddit
This person is using simple materials to helo start their sees. They use leftover toilet paper rolls. These toilet paper seed pots can be placed directly into the ground once the seeds have germinated, and they will compost away in no time.

Not so ‘trashy’ trash can

We’ve all seen the standard stainless steel kitchen garbage cans before – not so interesting. But most of us wouldn’t think to make a fuss over our trash can. However, you can’t argue that a clean and shining bin draws our attention more than an old, filthy one.
Image courtesy: unknown author / Imgur
In both photographs, we can clearly see a difference. The vibrant, yellow trash can is unquestionably opulent. The person, however, gave it a makeover, and now they have a striking trash can that provides an interesting touch to the bathroom.

Reusable sandwich bag

You can make your own washable, reusable sandwich bags with a little time and less than a yard of cloth. For instance, let’s take a peek at this person’s sandwich bag. She utilized a piece of shower curtain for the interior.
Image courtesy: saint***head / Reddit
The best part is that she created this out of repurposed materials. This only proves that you can construct a similar bag for yourself. They’re perfect for storing your favorite lunch recipes. Choose whatever pattern or color scheme you desire for the outer layer.

Gleaming teddy bear

Cleaning and caring for your valuable antiques or child’s favorite toys will significantly extend their life and quality! However, sometimes our children get stains on things, especially their stuffed animals. Your child’s favorite bear may need a deep scrub now and then!
Image courtesy: Victoria Ho / Twitter
You can see a dirty, brown teddy bear in the first image. However, we see a completely white teddy bear in the second photo. It’s the same bear in both pictures, believe it or not! After this, mom washed the teddy bear, it looked like a completely different toy!

Harry Potter-themed dresser

After watching and reading the Harry Potter series, every child must have fantasized about being a wizard. So, if you’re a Harry Potter lover or know someone who is, we have a perfect upcycle project for you. This gentleman made a Harry Potter-themed dresser out of an existing dresser.
Image courtesy: Aaronstrange24 / Imgur
Who wouldn’t want Harry potter inspired furniture in their home? It would definitely give any home a magical aesthetic. With that in mind, this crafty man built this dresser for his niece. You can definitely try this concept if you have an old dresser lying around.

Miss ‘know it all’ granny

Grandmas are important to youngsters. They are warm-hearted, make the best food, and give the best hugs! We can learn a variety of things from them since they have a great deal of insight. It’s no surprise they’re known as “know-it-alls.”
Image courtesy: pdeof / Reddit
This grandma used her imagination to sew a container in the picture. She is unquestionably a recycling queen. When the container’s lid cracked, she decided to play her upcycle game. Let us remind you of the fact that the container is 20 years old!

Cotton sanitary napkins

Choosing safer personal care items, such as reusable cloth menstrual pads, is one of the greatest ways to take care of your body and the environment. Since store-bought pads take roughly six months to degrade, with that in mind, this girl in the picture used her creativity.
Image courtesy: BeetsbySasha / Reddit
This girl opted to sew her own cloth pad instead of buying them. These pads are known for not irritating or chafing sensitive skin. This young girl initiated a tremendous campaign toward recycling and ecological living by posting this cotton pad online.

Cardboard farewell

This user shared a photo of their cardboard box, which they had used for 13 years and had now retired. We can see it went through a considerable amount of moving around. No one ever thinks to upcycle paper as it decomposes quickly.
Image courtesy: Almost_exact / Reddit
This family used this cardboard box for over a decade. So, we believe it was time to say goodbye to it once and for all. It’s hard to trust, but the proof is right in front of us. We would definitely recommend this to people who want to get organized!

Recycled toy

When you were a little one, did you have a favorite toy? It accompanied you everywhere, and you adored it more than anything else. We all have that one special treasured toy. We outgrew them over time, but the precious memories still linger.
Image courtesy: galaxyMLP / Reddit
And, let’s be honest, it’s incredibly satisfying to carry on those memories to future generations. Here, we can see that this person took the time to bring life back to their favorite childhood toy. It’s no wonder why it might have taken them a lot of time, but it was worth the results!

Old yarn sweater

We all want to do our part to help our world and society, and recycling is an important part of that. But did you know that yarn can be recycled, too? In the traditional sense, it doesn’t work. Instead, it can be repurposed and reused.
Image courtesy: JadedYarn / Reddit
This girl used all of her old yarn to make a brand new sweater. It’s a lovely article, and we can see she spent time on it. Yarn recycling is critical since it is a finite resource that is rapidly depleting. So, we should reuse it intelligently.

Oven cleaning alert!

Cleaning your oven is similar to visiting the dentist. Few of us look forward to the task, but the prospect of ending up with a sparkling oven is often more pleasant than the task itself. Take a look at the first photo of the oven.
Image courtesy: Tinkerbellspartan / Reddit
The owner was compelled to use a putty knife and razor blade to clean it. It appears that a horrific cooking catastrophe occurred here, similar to when Monica Geller from the series Friends prepared their first Thanksgiving dinner together and everything burned.

Piano workstation

Repurposing old pianos into a wonderful house accessory is a trendy technique. A piano is one of those items that are hard to come by and are considered a luxury. However, it might turn into a space-consuming item once it stops working.
Image courtesy: lucy_lu_2 / Reddit
If no one is playing the antique piano you have, it will probably only accumulate dust. This guy, on the other hand, devised a solution for this. He decided to turn their broken piano into a fully functional workstation.

Partially there

Leather sofas are fantastic. The feeling of comfort they provide is undeniable. However, normal wear and tear can fade and damage your once vivid leather furniture over time. The individual, in this case, opted to refurbish their antique leather sofa.
Image courtesy: JephriB / Reddit
He snapped a shot halfway through the process to demonstrate the ‘before’ and ‘after,’ and we have to say, we’re flabbergasted. We appreciate the person who took the photo at such an ideal time. From what we can tell, the restoration is worth all the effort!

Crystal shimmery birdie

We know we’ll never use the mountain of CDs sitting in a random box ever again, thanks to today’s music-streaming technologies. It’s also difficult to toss them because they have sentimental significance. This guy shared a photo of a gleaming bird he created out of old CDs.
image courtesy: NoLongerThatGuy / Imgur
They snipped at CDs and worked their magic on the pieces. This is an efficient way to put those dusty CDs in the corner of the house to good use. Let’s give them another chance to spread their wings.

Wonder car

The stories that both the cars in the picture convey are quite different. The first one is owned by a homeless man who rarely looks after his vehicle. The second appears to be a brand-new vehicle with only a few miles on it.
Image courtesy: used_bathwater / Reddit
But, believe it or not, both photos are of the exact same vehicle. We’re guessing the owner realized that his car was in desperate need of a bath. In any case, it’s never too late to make amends. The transformation is incredible; we can’t deny it.

Shining copper basin

The sink in the first picture looks like it belongs in an abandoned house. We are delighted that this person opted to take a chance on the sink. At the same time, we are also wondering what cleaning products he used to pull this off!
Image courtesy: elegimaldia.es
He cleaned the sink with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, mild detergent, and a small amount of toothpaste. This helped to restore the hue of the sink. So we can undoubtedly say that this combination did wonders for its transformation.

Bring back the luster

What can we do to bring back the lustrous sheen to our pots? Alternatively, other variations of the same question are frequently posed. It appears impossible to remove all the stains, and none of the DIY videos seem to work. Fortunately, this guy discovered the secret.
Image courtesy: stonecoldsweetie_ / Reddit
They immersed their saucepan in a solution designed for grills and ovens overnight. When it comes to freeing food particles stuck on pots, the standard advice is to “let it soak.” Because the detergent is so strong, it’s no surprise that this pot appears to be as good as new!

Denim upholstery

There will come a point where you will have to say goodbye to your cherished jeans. But before you toss them out, consider repurposing the denim. Some people have, and they utilized what might be the most effective method possible.
Image courtesy: guyreddit468 / Reddit
This person shared a photo of their denim-covered chair on social media. They made a cover for this chair out of their old jeans. The primary justification for using denim upholstery is that, when done correctly, it may be quite trendy and appealing.

Power washer ‘power’

People appear to be enchanted with power washing. A power washer is responsible for this before-and-after comparison. You might be astonished when you see these next images. But it goes to show that nothing is ever too filthy to clean.
Image courtesy: jgibbons60 / Reddit 
Take a look at the bench’s ”after” results. It appears to be freshly painted! Looking at the ”after photo,” we can see that there has been a significant transformation. These kinds of modifications are surely rewarding because of the hard work that goes into them.

Refreshing furniture

There are a variety of green trash disposal choices available for your old furniture. These include, of course, recycling and repurposing existing furniture. So, why not repurpose it? You surely can just like this person in the picture did.
Image courtesy: chicstranger / Twitter
This individual took some discarded furniture and turned it into something beautiful. They transformed these pieces by applying a fresh coat of paint and polish. We can see that the results are eye-catching! So why not choose this instead of heading over to Ikea?

Jute washcloths

When you make the decision to live a life based on eco-friendly values, you will most likely wish to incorporate this new routine into many facets of your daily routine. This individual has chosen to recycle jute, a versatile material.
Image courtesy: megmadewithlove.com
Jute is an eco-friendly alternative to plastic that is becoming increasingly popular. Actually, as depicted in the picture, a jute washcloth is a fantastic idea. You can use it for a long time. After all, what’s the harm? It cleans pretty well.

No remnants left behind

We only have one planet and are completely reliant on it for our survival and well-being. Sustainable living requires understanding how our lifestyle choices affect the world around us and creating methods for everyone to live better. So many people are opting for sustainable living.
image courtesy: pillowpods / Twitter
And aren’t we relieved to see the results? The person who posted this photo was too obsessed with their fabric to waste even an inch of it. As a result, they made use of every scrap — from the throw blanket to the pillow.

Fabric makeup remover pad

You don’t want to use harsh chemicals on your skin, particularly if it is sensitive. Makeup wipes leave your skin more prone to irritation and breakouts. Not only do they disrupt the skin’s PH balance, but they also add waste to our environment.
Image courtesy: caninedesign / Reddit
This individual designed reusable microfiber makeup remover pads. They are constructed from microfiber cloths. Furthermore, you can reuse them numerous times. It’s always better to wash and reuse something. Plus, it’ll save you money and future breakouts. Win-win?

What’s underneath is that what matters

This individual paid $6 for three skillets. The first image makes us question his taste. Why would anyone purchase such rusted and ruined cookware? The skillets are obviously entirely worn out. However, he discovered that there was something valuable hiding beneath the filth.
Image courtesy: elegimaldia.es
After removing the rust, this poster was left with three perfectly usable, high-quality skillets. We mean, for six dollars, these skillets are a no-brainer. We can definitely say he had a keen sense of what makes usable sturdy cookware.

Eames lounge chair by Herman Miller

This individual purchased a vintage Herman Miller Eames lounge chair. It is typically a work of art that is slimmer and lighter than a traditional club chair and more comfortable. But this chair was broken, and the leather was all scratched up.
image courtesy: unknown author / Imgur 
It required a ton of effort to restore it. But surprisingly, the chair in the second photo appears to look brand new, like they recently purchased it from a store. Love and care can sometimes make a significant difference.

A lint roller out of a showpiece?

Who doesn’t like multipurpose items? We mean, if one product can serve multiple functions, who wouldn’t be interested in using it? We’d say almost everyone. The girl in the image is holding a showpiece rock. As we know, a showpiece is meant to adorn the room.
Image courtesy: jellyflesh / Reddit
Here, this showpiece rock also functions as a lint roller. What a multifaceted work of art! Above all, what a creative brain to think of something like that! This girl has definitely encouraged us to go on a quest for such a rock.

The perfect woodsmith

For centuries, humankind has worked tirelessly to make life easier, and without these efforts, life would be a complete disaster. One of the numerous ways that life on Earth is comfortable is through recycling. This user shared a photo of their repurposed pot.
Image courtesy: © davers22 / Reddit
The lid of the pot had a broken handle. Most people would simply throw it away, but one poster decided to be creative. He screwed a piece of wood into the lid with a spare screw. And there you have it – a fully functional pot.

What a top-notch tabletop!

If you’ve gone furniture shopping recently, you know how pricey new items can be. However, many people seek out furniture from thrift stores since it is made of higher-quality materials and is sold at a lower price. The catch is that these items may have some flaws.
Image courtesy: Lady-of-Letters / Reddit
The owners purchased this table for two dollars at a garage sale. Then, they transformed it into something incredible in just two days. The flaws did not deter this person; instead, they served as a catalyst for their inventiveness. Indeed, what a top-notch shot!

Revamped Corcoran boots

This list has instilled in us a strong belief in miracles. Just like we can see the pair of Corcoran jump boots in the picture. They are abused and damaged to the point of extinction. However, when looking at the ‘after’ photo, they don’t appear to be worn.
Image courtesy: littlebootboi / Reddit
On the other hand, this poster restored the boots, and we’re utterly blown away! They now appear to be ‘straight from the store.’ So, what’s the damage if we can get a brand new thing at home just by repairing it?

The traditional chair

You will see a mid-’50s highchair in the first photograph. Then, you’ll notice a refurbished chair in the next. This gentleman did a fantastic job remodeling the chair. This poster disproved the myth that chairs can’t be embellished. They can, in fact, be highly decorated.
Image courtesy: mbouste / Imgur
The chair, which was first used by their grandmother for her mother, has been passed down to the poster’s sister, who will use it for her baby. What a wonderful present! It’s like passing down a family tradition from one age group to another.

Car remodeling

We love watching shows and YouTube videos of people refurbishing old vintage cars, and they’re always curiously appealing. Remodeling a car can be as difficult as walking blindfolded or as simple as putting together a puzzle. A professional makeover is indeed possible, even with vintage toy vehicles.
Image courtesy: AreaPogChampion / Imgur 
Before spending a lot of money on an old one, make sure you do your research. This poster did a fantastic job on this project. The tiny car in the picture was initially covered in rust. However, they redeemed it by deep cleaning and repainting it.

Clean tarnished silver

Shopping at thrift stores has numerous advantages for both people and the planet. This person bought this sugar bowl for three dollars at a thrift store. However, the silver sugar dish in the second image resembles a fancy bowl.
Image courtesy: minarima / Reddit
This is because they chose to clean the rust off it, and what an excellent choice that was. It turned out to be a lovely sparkling silver dish that is commonly used to serve sugar. We definitely cannot predict how much beauty is hidden beneath a layer of rust and grime.

Assembled chair

Even this shattered chair has its own unique appeal. Because this poster could see past its flaws, he made it into something beautiful. The chair looked rusted to the point of being irrecoverable. At least, that’s what we thought until this savvy user proved us wrong.
Image courtesy: unknown author / Imgur
They transformed a damaged, old chair into something fully functional. Now, it appears to be a unique and new chair that would look splendid in any room of the house. This is another reminder that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

Frames as towel holders

Who knew frames could make such cute towel holders? This is the perfect decor and organizational project for you if you have a bunch of old frames stashed somewhere in your garage. It’s time to put them to good use.
Image courtesy: [unknown user]/Pinterest
As you can see, the owner of this bathroom used vintage frames of different shapes and sizes. The only thing they did to achieve some kind of uniformity was painting them white, which we think was such an excellent idea.

Rug made out of rags

If you have a couple of old rags you can turn them into tiny strips that you can use to make a colorful rag you can display somewhere in your house. All you need is the necessary materials, a pair of scissors, rag canvas, and a latch hook.
Image courtesy: [unknown user]/Pinterest
For the strips, you can make them in any length you want and trim them later once you are done fastening them on the canvas. The best part about these kinds of rags is you can make them into whatever design you want.

Quilt rack

Next, we have a project that’s going to revamp your home organization game. If you live in a relatively big house with several people, chances are that you have a collection of quilts or blankets. And while it’s okay to use a simple basket to store them, you can also use a rack.
Image courtesy: brepurposed.com
If you can get a spindle headboard like the one pictured above, you won’t need to buy something new from the store. Simply saw off the extended ends so it looks more like this and repaint it if needed. Aside from quilts, you can also use it to hand blankets and towels.