Messina W. from Altoona, Iowa has always been thrifty. She’s helped friends and family make the most of old, funky, mis-matched furniture for as long as she can remember, and loves to collect oddball trinkets like vintage artwork, figurines and textiles for recovering old chairs and ottomans. She’s even gone as far as updating, or ‘up-cycling’ items she’s yanked directly out of the street trash.
“I get things from the curb during neighborhood curb days or once in a while I find something random that’s been tossed out. I also get a lot of things from flea markets, garage sales and thrift stores. And I’ll get old barn-board wood scraps from a friend’s farmhouse,” she says.
Messina takes these finds and, with the help of a carpenter friend, turns them into viable pieces of furniture like headboards, coffee tables, carts, lamps, and book shelves.
“I do it because it’s almost like a habit. I just like to be creative and [turn] something discarded into something awesome.”
What started as an eye for style and an affinity for vintage, soon became Messina’s full-time business. Spaces to Love is an interior design firm that specializes re-used, recycled, and up-cycled materials. Messina says that while she does think about the environment, it’s not her primary motivation. Instead, it’s about saving her business and her customers money.
“My last project, I saved [my client] around $700. Overall my business saved thousands last year.” Messina says that while this aesthetic doesn’t work for every project, it does allow her to be more creative and competitive with budgets. She tries to work at least one up-cycled or recreated piece into each room. “Something you can’t just go out and buy,” she says.
If you’re not afraid to think outside the trash box, here are a few of Messina’s tips for working treasure into any room:
Baubles That Don’t Cost Bank
Mixing old with new is big right now, so look for inexpensive pieces that add charm:
– Vintage trays, painted baskets and glass vases can add instant color
– Mason jars or discarded containers like a honey bear can be gilded in gold (find kits at your local craft store) for a unique look
– Old tins, barrels, bathtubs and ceramics make great planters
Natural Costs Nothing
Salvaged responsibly, drift wood, rocks, and shells become rustic decor:
– Tree stumps make gorgeous seating indoors and out
– Use paint to perk up pinecones or other natural elements
– Dry your own florals and mosses (spray paint adds brightness that lasts forever!)
New Uses for Old Things
No need to run out and buy something new. You might just have creative furniture solutions in your own basement or attic:
– An old sewing machine table turns into a classy bar cart with just silver paint
– Two step ladders with a few pieces of plywood become a shelf
– Desk drawers, hung flush against a wall become a shallow shelf for bathrooms and pantries
– Dresser drawers, placed on the ground top-side up, can be used as a bed side or end table
Photo Courtesy of: SpacesToLove