Design Trends – Upcycling, Recycling and Reclaimed Furniture

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At one time, the idea of second-hand furniture was that it was great if you were into antiques or you couldn’t afford something new.  But more recently, a number of factors have led to a growing trend in design – upcycling, recycling and the use of reclaimed furniture.  But what’s the trend about and how can you find products for your home within it?

Upcycling versus recycling

At their heart, recycling and upcycling are very similar – the reuse of something either for the same or a different purpose.  Upcycling is often called ‘creative reuse’ because there’s a greater emphasis on using something in new and interesting ways.  It also looks to fix up something that might be broken or damaged so that it can be useful again while still retaining the original character of the item – not trying to make it brand new and perfect once more.

Recycling, on the other hand, takes an idea and returns it to its basic form in order to them make something new from it.  This can be something like paper that is recycled and made into another type of paper or glass bottles that are broken down and remade into new ones.  There’s a big emphasis on recycling for its potential to cut down the amount of rubbish that goes to landfill sites and is why many homes have a recycling waste bin as well as a general one.

Why both are important

Humans are very wasteful – in fact, we are the first species to create waste that nature cannot deal with and that has the potential to be around for thousands of years.  Plastics are a perfect example of this.  However, the trend of upcycling and recycling can both do their part to help reduce this waste and also to reduce the number of new items that need to be created.

They have also led to the growth of websites that allow people to donate, sell or give away items to be upcycled and recycled.  This has a number of benefits – the items don’t end up in landfill, they are being put to good use and this cuts down the number of new items someone needs to buy.  Whether it means taking a load of plastic bottles to be recycled or upcycling a dresser to become a storage unit for your home office, all of these efforts cut down on waste.



Reclaimed furniture

A specialist example of this trend is reclaimed wood furniture.  This is a form of upcycling that is undertaken by skilled craftsmen and examples of it can be seen at where all their stock is reclaimed wood furniture.

The art of making reclaimed wood furniture involves sourcing wood from a wide variety of places and making new furniture with it.  There are lots of benefits including the sustainable nature of this furniture – wood is a top sustainable material but by upcycling it into new furniture, this further enhances these credentials.  Reclaimed wood furniture can also be unique and come in any style from Nordic to ornate French looks and even industrial interior design styles.


There are so many ways to get involved with upcycling and recycling from ensuring all your waste goes into the right bin to opting for reclaimed wood furniture over new, mass produced options.  It allows us all to do our bit for the planet and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill sites as well as decorate our homes with unique and interesting furniture and accessories that ensure our spaces are uniquely us.  And it can be a great cost-effective option as well!

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