Read my HILARIOUS article for Frontiers Magazine! I've written a lot of articles for them, and I just love that they let me be me!
Spring is around the corner, and you are itching to redecorate your place. Problem is, you’ve got a dead-end job, your sugar daddy just cut off your AMEX or you’re just plain cheap! Decorating ain't cheap. No problem. If you’re low on cash but want a home makeover, you do what any resourceful Millennial does—you upcycle!
For those of you living under a rock, upcycling is turning something old into something new. Before you Restoration Hardware snobs start dissing me, I'll have you know that upcycling is the hottest design trend now. Not only does it save you money, but it is great for Mother Nature. We need to be mindful of the stuff we consume. We are such a wasteful society, living in a throwaway culture. How many times have you bought a sequened off-the-shoulder top you just had to have, but only wore the darn thing once—and it was for a 1980sFlashdance Halloween party. I know I have! What a waste of $50! Before you toss it out like yesterday's trash, try to upcycle it! It is uncanny how many old, tattered things you own that can be repurposed for some fantabulous new home décor pieces.
Here is what I did recently to update my living room via upcycling. I was getting sick of my drab sofa. It needed to pop. It would be too expensive to buy a new one. (And have you seen the cost of shipping and handling recently?!) So I decided on a more affordable way to revive my sofa—pillow accents! I went into the closet and reached deep in the back trenches where I store clothes I rarely wear. I shut my eyes, grabbed some random pieces, and out popped a tube top, mu'umu'u and a knit miniskirt. (Guess I never threw away my old drag outfits. I’m such a hoarder!)
Being flat-chested, the tube top was too small. Not enough fabric to make a pillow/cushion cover. The mu'umu'u was too big. (Although I might save it for a mattress cover upcycling project!) That left the mini-skirt. It was perfect! I stole an extra pillow insert I had lying around the guest room closet, found a yard of double-sided sticky-back Velcro in the kitchen junk drawer and twirled into the living room to start my project. It literally took me 10 minutes. I placed the Velcro on the front and back waistline of the skirt, flipped it inside out to hide the Velcro seams, stuffed the pillow insert into the skirt, then sealed up the front and back hem with Velcro. After transforming my mini-skirt into a pillow, I thought, “Damn, Herman, this is too cute for my busted-up sofa. I’m gonna sell it on Etsy! For real!”
The fabulous thing about this skirt-turned-pillow is that it’s Velcro’d. You don’t need to mess up your Lee Press-Ons with any sewing! You can assemble and disassemble easily. This is especially handy when you get a last-minute date and all your clothes are dirty. All you have to do is waltz into your living room, grab the pillow, rip off the Velcro and toss it on. It’s a skirt again! Sigh, the joys of upcycling! Bottom line: Don’t be so quick to trash your junk clothes. You can always make a cute décor piece to brighten up your home.
Drop by my place HabitatForHermanity.com and I'll show you how to upcycle your old jockstraps into a macramé plant holder!
Herman Chan is a real estate and design expert whose blog Habitat for Hermanity offers a glimpse beyond the glitz and glam of real estate and design. (And it ain’t always pretty!) You’ve seen his trademark helpful, hilarious flair on HGTV House Hunters, Logo and Huffington Post. His new webseries, Real Estate Real Simple for theSan Francisco Chronicle, debuted this year. He was also once a Frontiers cover model.
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