For most of us, contemplating home decor results in a mild panic attack. Where do we start? What look do we want? How do we put our own personality into it? And do we need to sell a kidney just to pay for it?

Well rest assured, because unique home decor is not only easy to come by, but it can also be quite cost effective. All you need to do is think outside the box and put a little elbow grease into it. Spend a day hitting up thrift stores, flea markets, antique shops, or even grandma’s attic, and you’re sure to find items that can easily be repurposed into funky, useful household decor on the cheap.


Wooden ladders are incredibly versatile in terms of being repurposed. Small stepladders can be painted a bright color and hung on the wall as a unique display shelf, or even left empty as the focal point itself. If you have the space, big ladders can be painted and hung horizontally for the same purpose, or can be combined with other repurposed materials (see below) to make new pieces of furniture.

Wood pallets

These are also incredibly versatile; either left intact or taken apart, painted, stained, or left raw. They can be used as rustic wall art; remade into display shelves; attached to furniture wheels and turned into coffee tables, daybeds, or patio furniture. You can also use two wooden sawhorses, one of the ladders mentioned above, and dismantled pallets (as the legs, support, and top, respectively), and make yourself a rustic, one-of-a-kind desk!


Old wooden front doors can be used to make interesting coffee table tops. They can be painted and used as wall decor (if they once had windows, those can be turned into display shelves). You can replace newer interior doors with old, rustic ones for a cool vintage look, especially for office, pantry, or walk-in closet doors. You can even use old barn doors as unique pantry or office doors or mount them on a track as a funky, sliding cover for your entertainment nook.

Dressers, cabinets, and buffets

Every attic seems to have an old, ugly dresser. Repurpose it with some cool paint (try chalkboard paint for kids’ rooms) and new hardware. The same goes for old sideboards and buffets. Turn them into bookshelves, nightstands, even a desk! Remember the old card catalog cabinets from your school library? If you happen to stumble across one, refinish the outside, attach some retro legs, place an old mirror on top, and you’ve got yourself a distinctive wet bar.

Mattress springs

Old mattress springs can be spray painted and mounted on the wall as an oversized message board. Clothes pins can be used to attach notes, cards, or papers to the springs; other items can be hung on wooden clothes hangers.

Steamer trunks

Probably my favorite item on this list. Use a big steamer trunk as a coffee table; little ones can be used as nightstands or side tables. They provide additional storage; have a warm, worldy vibe; and just plain look cool! If you find trunks with old travel stickers on them? Even better!

Old tables

Old tables are easy to come by, and can be repurposed in countless ways. Metal typewriter or sewing tables can be turned into night stands. Old kitchen or coffee tables can be painted, stenciled (or reverse-stenciled), decoupaged (think old newspapers, classic magazines, or music sheets), or covered in wallpaper squares for versatile, artistic, and useful pieces.


Repurpose old headboards by painting them, attaching hooks, and turning them into towel or coat racks. You can also attach pallet boards and make a cool display shelf. When it comes to home decor, there are no rules. Personalize any space in your home with pops of color and creativity. You know your style and functionality needs, so follow your instincts. Most importantly, have fun!