Something Old, Something New: Some Fresh Uses for Overlooked Items

3 Mar

Here at Abode, we firmly believe that old things add a sense of history to your home. And you don’t necessarily have to spend antique prices to achieve that result. Today’s post shows you some ways that we love recycling flea-market finds to add pizazz and personality to our abodes.

Old Bike, New Wall Art:

old bike wall art

Possibly my personal favorite, this rusty old bike was just sitting around, so owners of Abode, Allison and Matt Sprouse, decided to do something with it. Sawing off one of the handles allowed them to evenly mount the bike on the wall and there you have it:  a huge and striking piece of wall art that literally cost them nothing! Even the books they put in the old bike rack were picked up free from boxes at an old used book store. The moment you enter the Sprouse’s sitting room, you are immediately transported to old sunny days of spinning downhill sitting on the handlebars.

Old Fan, New Table Decor:

Also in the Sprouse’s home, an old fan spruces up a coffee table. Add some old books and a great lamp, and the living room looks fantastic!

Old Wine Glasses, New Candle Holders:

For some reason, I just love colored glass. I picked these beauties, and lots more like them, up for about 50 cents a piece at an old thrift store. I love to fill them with tea lights and add some colorful twinkling around the house, especially on dark nights and grey days. And I sometimes use them on summer evenings to light up the path to my house when I’m hosting a party — it makes the house look lovely and the party easy to find!  When not filled with candles, they also make terrific vases for small flower bouquets.

Old Bottles, New Window Displays:

Once again, I love colored glass!  Here, a small collection of old apothecary bottles, vases and sparkling water bottles add the look of stained glass to the window — but without the price.

Old Coke Tray… New Curio Keeper:

Hung up on the wall, an old coke bottle holder become perfect for holding tiny curios — demitasse tea cups and old watches or other family heirlooms.

…New Glass Tray

An old coke tray can just as easily become a new hostess helper. Pile with glasses and carry out on the lawn for a picnic! (Glasses shown in photo are currently on sale at Abode.)

…New Seed Packet Organizer

Spring is creeping up on us and so it is the perfect time to pull out those seed packets and organize this year’s garden! Here, an old coke tray keeps in order this year’s seed selection.

Old Window Screen, New Jewelry Keeper:

necklaces on screen

Employee of Abode, Mary Van Vleet, picked up some old window screens when they were renovating her apartment. Thoughtfully, she brought one in and we use it as a display for some of the jewelry we sell at the store. The screen is perfect for hanging earrings, and some nails added to the top make perfect hangers for necklaces. (All jewelry on the screen is currently for sale at Abode.)

Old Milk Bottles, New Bookends

The shape of old milk jugs always adds a vintage touch. Here, they are perfect bookends when weighted down with a bit of a rock collection.

Old Gym Locker, New Bathroom Basket:

An old UT gym basket found at an antique sale becomes a great receptacle for bathroom necessities. Hang it up on the wall, or stand it on its side and fill with anything that needs to be put away and easily reached.

Old Tray, New Magnet Display:

This old steel tray was found at a thrift store for a couple bucks and given a new quick coat of paint with some rust-proof paint. It’s great for holding extra magnets, or for using as a message board.

Old Brass Coat Rack, New Green Hat Rack:

Once again, a can of rust-proof spray paint is all you need to transform a cheap old coat rack into a spiffy and colorful new one. Friends of mine even thought it was wood until I told them otherwise!

Old Barnwood, New Coat Hanger:

This rack hangs in our store at Abode and people always want to buy it! In reality, it’s just a piece of barnwood that Matt and Allison found and then screwed some robe hooks into. We use it for hanging pictures, aprons, or just about anything else that can be hung. I’m planning on making one for my hallway for overflow winter coats and then for hanging pictures or herb bouquets in the summer.

The lovely hanging vintage frames and aprons are for sale at our Abode store.

Old Chair, New Pillow/Towel Display:

Old chairs often have lovely lines and convey years of history, but sometimes they’re really too worn to sit on — but don’t throw them out! Chairs like these are perfect for nestling in a bathroom or bedroom corner and propping pillows, towels or blankets on for easy storage and access. This beautiful chair still happens to be useful for sitting or decor and is for sale at Abode.

Some More Old Things We Love:

This metal barrister book case is just fabulous! Right now it holds display items at our Abode shop, but it can be yours if you want it!

These old antique buffets sit in our store as well right now. I love the naturally distressed paint, well worn with age, love and good usage. They make great display cabinets and still function well as buffets. Besides, they add a wonderful splash of color to any room.

Visit Us Again and Share Your Ideas!

Come check out some of the fun things, old and new, at our store, or visit us online at for other small items we sell. And send us photos of your creative re-uses of old objects — We’d love to see and share them!


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