Homemaking: Re”purpose”ing Things

This post is all about ruts. Home decor ruts.

I like to mix things up from time to time, you know, rearrange the furniture…walk through the rooms of my house thinking creatively about what items might be better placed or used elsewhere.

Take for instance the dresser to the far left in my header. It’s a gorgeous antique, much too pretty to be hidden away in my bedroom for practical use. I brought it to the living room a couple years ago and it now holds videos/dvds (top two drawers), blankets (middle drawer), and toddler’s toys (bottom drawer). I have a similar dresser on my back porch and we use its drawers for winter mittens/gloves/hats, outdoor toys, and hubby’s coveralls and work gear.

I’ve had a lovely barnwood wall shelf in our bedroom for a while now, and recently I decided to use it to fill a lonely spot on one of our living room walls. Once hung, it needed something to make it say “country” even more, so I took my vanilla bean heart-shaped wreath down from the bathroom wall and hung it across the shelf’s two pegs…ta-da, I love it there!

Of course, then I had to think twice about what to hang in the wreath’s spot…and I remembered a beautiful wooden shelf with candle that my dh’s grandfather made for us one Christmas years ago. It fit the spot perfectly.

Here are some more ideas:

  • Do a rug switch…perhaps you have one in the laundry room that would be fun in front of the stove or kitchen sink?
  • Bring a favorite vase out from storage and use it as a focal point atop one of your bookshelves or a mantel.
  • Rearrange the books on your bookcase. Leave one of the shelves free for folded quilts, and stack the extra books under an end table.
  • Don’t have enough “pretty dressers” to go around? Do what I did, turn an unused changing table into a dresser by putting linen-lined baskets on each shelf for your clothing. Hang everything that won’t fit in your closet…
  • In the winter, turn your picnic basket into a place to store rolled up bath towels near the tub.
  • Move a desk. Have an extra wide hallway? Or a spot beneath a kitchen window? How about in the living room behind the couch, much like a library table behind a freestanding sofa.
  • I love wooden crates, I have two. One is about 2.5 feet high with a divider and it has a “Georgia Peach” label on one end. It makes the best bedside table, with the divider as a shelf. The other crate is shorter and I use it for a mini-bookshelf. In summer it sits on the hearth in the living room.
  • Besides crates for creative end tables, you could use those sturdy antique milk cans and add a wooden topper. Or stack antique-ish briefcases or luggage pieces, or large hatboxes, or make your own end table with large cement bricks and lumber (this works for bookshelves too).
  • Take two 2-drawer metal filing cabinets, spaced apart, and top them with a cut-to-fit piece of particle board (check it out at the lumber store, they have some beautiful pieces) and you have a pretty decent and versatile desk…you could use 3 filing cabinets and make it L-shaped…

Anyway, I love to brainstorm these types of things. And I’m always looking for new trips out of the rut, any fresh ideas anyone?

32 thoughts on “Homemaking: Re”purpose”ing Things”

  1. Sorry I have no ideas that I can think of right now but it sure was fun reading yours!! Once this cold is gone I MUST re-decorate!

  2. Thanks, Geri! Well, once your cold is gone it will be time to decorate for Christmas! Which for us, means rearranging the living room a bit, to accomodate the tree. Am thinking about tackling it today, with a busy weekend ahead. We normally do it the day after Thanksgiving, which is tomorrow for us Americans!

  3. Oh! I keep thinking it’s this weekend I didn’t know it was tomorrow! Yes I am looking forward to decorating for Christmas. I told DH this weekend we have to go out into the bush and get some pine boughs to decorate our white fence out front (and if I am extra ambitious make some wreaths for our front, back, and side doors!).

  4. Geri, the pine boughs/wreaths sound gorgeous, especially on a white fence, how beautiful! I’ve always wanted to try that! Such a great smell too…

    Thanks, Beck!

  5. Yes the smell is lovely…I can’t wait till we get our tree up because the whole house smells great. Well maybe I can wait a bit because then I will have Kyle and Bowser trying to knock it over lol!

  6. Real trees are the best!!!

    Ah, Christmas with Kyle will be SO much fun this year…he’s the perfect age for playing with boxes and wrapping paper!

  7. Yup! I am so excited I just know he will love it this year! And yeah real trees are the best. DH’s parents bought a brand-new (real expensive) fake tree last year and then bought another one in the discounts after Christmas. After Christmas they tried to give us their really expensive one they bought and I said no thanks because it just wouldn’t be Christmas to me without that fresh smell. I think they were a little angry with me and couldn’t figure out why I would say no to their “pricey” tree. But DH sided with me and agreed so they let it be. But I never asked them to go buy those trees and I just adore waking up to that fresh pine scent! It’s almost like sleeping in a forest!

  8. I hear you! We always had real trees until 3 years ago (long story as to why we switched!) when I broke down and bought an artificial tree. I try to focus on the positives of having a fake tree, but deep down I know there’s nothing like a real one…

  9. Well I know there are tons of perks to artificial trees…for one there’s no mess!! Last year was so annoying between the needles and our cat jumping up and grabbing ornaments. When we moved this year we found half our ornaments in hiding places all over (not to mention the ones I found throughout the year under the couches, etc.). Little reminders of our kitty. And then for another thing it is way easier on the environment. Think of how many trees are used and wasted each year! That’s why my parents eventually got an artificial tree, because our family is so big so my Mom would have “her” tree that she could decorate with nice Victorian ornaments and stuff and then there was the colourful kids tree. So if every family did that there would be billions of trees wasted every year. I can understand why an artificial tree would be good too. I just love the smell too much to switch!

  10. I understand, believe me! And it’s such a great tradition to go pick out as a family, even to the wandering hillsides looking for the perfect tree. Dh and I did that about two years in a row and always had to settle for a Charlie Brown type pasture tree. But, good memories nonetheless!

    I like the idea of two trees. We did that one year, let the girls have a small one in their bedroom. I should do that again.

  11. We loved it as kids. My Mom would want to help us decorate and she’d say we were having so much fun she didn’t want to disturb us. We would sing carols and goof around decorating our “colourful” tree and she then go and “help” her with hers (hers she would always fix later or just do herself anyways haha). But yes I agree with you about good memories! It’s too bad that nowadays when you go out to get your own tree it seems you aren’t allowed to just go out and chop down a tree. I remember the last year I had gone with my parents and siblings to cut one down it felt like we were “sneaking” because there were so many laws about it. I think they (lol they being whatever authorities guard tree-getting) want people to just go to the stores and buy them or go to tree farms, but my Dad is one of those men that “I did it this way when I was young so I’ll do it like that now” way of thinking. I understand why they have those laws/rules so I think I would be too scared to go cut down a tree now but it was definitely more fun when we would load up as a family, my Mom toting along a big thermos of hot chocolate, and roam around until Dad found his tree (always would be a Charlie Brown tree or a fat one!). I kinda miss that.

  12. Well, our tree definitely looks like the kids decorated it, though I was hovering and trying to disguise obvious holes, etc. Twice we’ve made popcorn cranberry garlands and those really dressed the tree up, it was gorgeous! I was thinking we need something more for this year’s tree…

    We don’t have any laws here about cutting down trees on your own property, and my dh was raised in a place with a lot of timber. It was still a long tramp when we were out hunting down the perfect tree. We haven’t done that with the kids yet, we really should next year. Our youngest will be 4 1/2, a better age for lasting in the elements!

  13. Ooohhh! What a great idea! The popcorn cranberry garlands-is there anything you do to the cranberries to use them? And yes a 4 1/2 yo will be much more into hiking around the countryside to find a tree…and much more excited by then too!

  14. Our house is notorious for changing– basically there’s so much we want to shove on one floor.

    The most recent change was bringing the desk and computer back upstairs (it’s been there and the basement on a rotating basement) but placing it in a corner and putting the piano askew in the dining room so we can still have a dining room table.


  15. Geri, there may be a way of preserving the cranberries…I just strung them on without worrying about it, and they eventually dried out, but not drastically, with only 3-4 weeks of use and throwing it out after Christmas. One year I made a winter garland for my kitchen windows with dried apples, dried oranges, and cranberries, and all the fruit had to be sprayed with acrylic sealer. They lasted perfectly for 3 years!!! I was so sad to throw them out! I threaded them together with raffia and cinnamon sticks. Had so many dried fruit pieces leftover that we took them to our homeschooler’s Christmas party and let the kids make individual Christmas tree ornaments with them, hot gluing ribbons, cinnamon sticks, etc on them…

    MIn, “whew” is the operative word! That’s a big job to move anything from downstairs up, esp a desk/computer. Our computer is in our living room…sometimes I wish it were in the master bedroom so that it didn’t take up a whole corner of the living room, but dh wanted us to be in the same room together whether he was watching tv or reading…now that our tv is sitting unused in the master bedroom (for the most part!) it would be the perfect time to move it. But at this time in our lives, it’s best to keep it out in circulation, use it for homeschooling, etc. Unfortunately, we have no dining room, so I’m out of options! Our basement is for the water heater only…and spiders!

    Did you decide to go ahead and take your house off the market?

  16. Ohhh those craft ideas are great thanks!! OK this question will sound silly maybe-what kind of cranberries did you buy? I can only find frozen ones up here and I’m worried that they will be too wet as they thaw to use. Do you buy them fresh?

  17. Yup we have that brand but they are only frozen. I guess they are from the US so to ship them up here and stuff it must just be easier to freeze them. Oh well I will try them out and see. Maybe I will leave them on a paper towel for a bit so most of the moisture is absorbed. I’m excited to get our tree (hopefully today!).

  18. They’ll probably be fine. I doubt there’s much difference between cranberries being frozen or thawed. They’re kind of a dry, fully enclosed berry anyway.

    Maybe I’m mistaken anyway…I am 32, :O and memory gets faulty. It seems like they were fresh, but I bet they were frozen now that you got me to thinking about it!

  19. LOL you say that like 32 is old…which it’s not!! We didn’t end up getting our tree today anyhow 🙁 too much snow and so we were a little scared of the roads since it’s the first snowfall and it was pretty busy out there!

  20. It makes me feel OLD to not remember the simplest of things sometimes! I guess I’m too busy remembering the *important* things (or we can hope!) that I can’t bother to remember whether the cranberries I used a couple years ago were frozen or thawed. :S

  21. I agree…we’re Mom’s so it’s easy to forget the simple things like that when we have so many things to remember with our kids and husbands.

  22. Maybe it’s just pregnancy that does it. I had so many “duh” moments while in my third trimesters! Truly blush-worthy moments!

  23. yes – I tried it. I thought about switching rugs only to find the substitute rug was filthy! Then, wen I looded further, ALL the rugs needed a clean. That was a revelation I can tell you.

  24. Well, spring is around the corner…if you’re in the US anyway! Great time for airing out the rugs! I adore throw rugs, wish the big ones could be tossed in the washer and dryer as easily!

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