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A Guide to Reclamation and Upcycling for Sustainable Interior Design

If you are looking to redecorate and redesign your home, but want a sustainable option rather than buying new furniture, reclamation and upcycling may be the solution for you.


Reclamation is the process of recycling through reclaiming and reusing unwanted building materials and furniture. There are many reasons why reclamation is so popular. As well as being a sustainable option, it provides people with unique features and furniture for their home. The most common places to find items to reclaim are from salvage yards. If you are a fan of converted homes and vintage or antique furniture, reclamation can give your home character.  


Examples of Reclamation

Reclamation and salvage yards are home to an array of unwanted building materials and contents from old houses and other buildings. Here you can find items such as church pews that can be used as a feature or functional furniture, wooden planks for flooring, bricks that can be used outdoors for porches and patios, or indoors for a fireplace, and stained glass that can be used in place of a window, or as a hanging decoration.



Upcycling ties into current DIY and craft culture. The process involves converting unwanted materials and products into something new and functional. The art of upcycling differs from reclamation as it can be used for any item, not just building materials and furniture. Upcycling is popular among people who want to make their home original and eco-friendly. Upcycling is thought to be better than recycling as there is no waste as items are given a new purpose.


Examples of Upcycling 

There is no end to the possibilities when it comes to upcycling. Examples can be seen material for cushions being make out of old carrier bags, shelves made from wooden ladders and books, fold out chairs mounted to the walls to make an open air wardrobe, hats used as lampshades, old pianos mounted to a wall to become a shelve or cupboard, and baths being made into sofas.


Both of these techniques result in eco-friendly and interesting additions for any home. If you are a fan of classic, antique and original pieces, reclamation is an ideal solution to interior design. However, if you are a crafty hoarder, it may be that you can reinvent your living space by reinventing the purpose of the items within it. We hope that this has inspired you to rethink your interior design ideas.

Alex Harrard is an enthusiastic home interior design writer with an obsession for silver cushions