If you’re eager for a bit of a household purge, there’s no need to get too bin-bag happy, in fact lots of your ‘junk’ can be given a fresh purpose and a new lease of life. Tara Gardner offers a few quick and easy tips.

Whether you’re trawling the local junk shop, or doing a bit of a clear out, it’s worth having a careful think about the items in front of you, as they always have plenty of hidden potential.

Vintage sugar bowl for your vanity

I was recently given a beautiful Thirties cut-glass sugar bowl by my mother. It was so pretty that rather than hide it away in a kitchen cu

pboard for a special occasion, I thought I’d make the most of it and add it to my vanity table display. I now keep anything in it from make-up pads and hair-pins, to brooches, and buttons.

Printing block drawer ornament rack

Old printing block drawers are fairly easy to find in jumble sales or car boot sales, and make fantastic display racks for your knick-knacks. All you need to do is attach some picture hooks onto the back and run a piece of thin wire or strong twine across them, so it can hang neatly on your wall.

It’s perfect for housing all your little bits and bobs, and a great excuse to collect even more!

Vintage fabric to make new curtains

If your curtains are getting a bit tatty, or they simply aren’t thick enough, you could try repurposing them with some vintage fabric.

I made these curtains out of some Fifties floral fabric and used my dull, modern curtains as a backing. I also found an old sash which I cut in half and used as tie-backs.


Glass Apothecary jar or candy jar display cases

Most vintage glass, unless badly cracked or scratched, will clean up a treat with some warm soapy water and a little elbow grease. Once it’s clean, you can use the jar as a display case.

Try scattering the bottom of the jar with small vintage items such as buttons, poker chips, old jewellery, or marbles. Use these small bits as a base on which you can then add either an old playing card, cigarette card, or even an old photograph. The smaller bits will keep the card or photograph in place.

Old door knobs for draw handles

To give a bit more character to a plain old chest of drawers, bedside table, or desk, try replacing the drawer handles with vintage door knobs.

You could even use a selection of mismatched knobs for a really unique look.

Another nice way you could jazz up your furniture, is using old vintage finger plates as decoration. Find a flat space on the furniture and attach the plate using small screws.

Old finger plates make great centrepieces for wooden headboards, old wooden-backed chairs, and even wardrobes.

Three ideas for a vintage birdcage

More often than not, vintage birdcages need very little doing to them and look fantastic as they are. But if you own a rather tatty or rusty birdcage, you might like to add a little something to it to give it some glamour.

Whether for indoor or outdoor display, adding a beautiful flowering plant or a vase of flowers to your birdcage can look absolutely stunning. You could even use the birdcage as a hanging basket.

Coming in all shapes and sizes, and in a huge variety of different designs, vintage birdcages also make really adorable lamps and lanterns for the home or garden. Try adding candles or placing a lamp inside your birdcage to create a really unusual and wonderfully eye-catching light effect.

An alternative to plants and lamps, is to use your birdcage as a general display case for anything from ornaments to photographs, from jewellery to hats.

Vintage tiles as coasters and table tops

Vintage tiles are so versatile there are loads of ways you can use them in your home or garden.

Without doing much to a vintage tile, you can use them as coasters, provided of course they don’t have raised ceramic embellishments and are flat enough. If a tile is a bit rough or uneven underneath it’s a good idea to back it with some felt, cork, or even stiff card.

Another great way you could use your vintage tiles is by making them into a top for a table. Even if they are mismatched, chipped, or broken into pieces, you can create your own tiled, mosaic table top by using a special tile adhesive and some grout sealer.

Vintage tiles are also great just as decoration for a mantlepiece, wall, or shelf.

Vintage basket storage

Vintage baskets are really handy for just about any kind of household storage. Use them to hold your vintage books, newspapers, craft materials, clothes – anything!

If the basket is a bit worn out, you could try giving it a lick of paint, and putting in a lining using pretty fabric.

One Response

  1. anna miners

    Some fab ideas here – I especially love the one about using old jars as display items and as an inveterate hoarder of buttons I can get to combine these into it too.