Junking is all the rage and a perfect way to recycle. Dumpsters, flea markets, yard sales, auctions and church bazaars are great places to look for the kitch and funky items a decorator and collector desires. Repairing and re-using these items to suit her taste is a satisfying way to add some style to her home.
Old leather or hardback suitcases make great storage containers and are perfectly charming when stacked as tables. Leave them in those earthy tones, or give them some uniformity by painting them all white – beautiful in a bedroom. Do smell them first, however. It’s hard to get rid of that musty smell in old suitcases.
Many people throw out old architectural salvage when they’re renovating. And some junkers may be lucky enough to find interesting old windows or multi-paneled doors. If the windows have an interesting shape, give them a coat of paint and hang them as you would an art piece.
Old pine paneled doors can be stripped and turned into giant armoirs or media cabinets. It really just takes three or four doors of equal size and shape – two for the sides and one or two for the doors, depending on the widthe needed. The back will need some tongue-in-groove paneling or one large piece of panel. Shelves can be added easily. This is a project for someone with carpentry skills, but the finished look of stripped pine panels in a media cabinet is stunning and worth the effort.
Old screen doors with a bit of gingerbread trim, make interesting doors for a free-standing pantry cupboard in the kitchen. Old windows offer the same charm as cupboard doors.
Reinvent Old Furniture Uses
An experienced junker will reinvent old furniture uses. Pine tables and antique dressers become charming in bathrooms when the sink dropped into them.
Sometimes the junker will find dressers without hardware or perhaps the pieces were painted and the paint has crackled and chipped. These rough painted pieces are highly sought after. The design world calls them “chippy.” Depending on tastes, the decorator could leave them chippy, or strip them. Some may be very valuable in this condition, so a little research will help her decide which way to go. Old replacement hardware is easy to find via internet searches.
Vintage Brass Lamps
Vintage brass lamps covered with cherubs, can be found cheaply. Remove the wiring, paint them antique white and turn them into romantic candelabras.
Ornate Floor Grates
Ornate iron floor grates from Victorian houses and earlier are very collectible and can still found at country auctions and yard sales. Hang them as art pieces inside or out. You could even lay them into a garden walk.
Antique Gilt Gesso Frames
For those who love baroque style, a collection of ornate, gilded, antique gesso frames in various sizes can be grouped together as an art piece on a wall . Put the smaller ones inside the larger ones, thus layering them. Or have mirror cut for each and fill a wall with them. Either way will add old-world richness to any room.
Eclectic Junk Style
Think eclectic when decorating with other peoples junk. It’s hard to avoid. Look at the item and decide how to use it. Not everything has to be used in the way it was originally intended. An old iron bathtub, for instance, could make a huge kitchy planter in the garden. An old bed could be easily turned into a bench with some carpentry skills and a little ingenuity. This is eclectic junk style.
“Junk style,” is a newish phrase. The fact that it’s a phrase at all is largely due to the huge numbers of people who buy junk and use junk to decorate their homes. People are learning they don’t have to spend huge sums of money to decorate tastefully. They can do it slowly, creatively and on the cheap.