Upcycling Building Materials for Unique Interior Design

The move towards sustainable living has opened up a realm of opportunities in interior design. While ‘upcycling’ has become a buzzword in the past few years, its potential in the domain of interior decoration is only just starting to be realized.

By repurposing used or discarded building materials, designers and homeowners are crafting unique, story-rich environments that radiate character. This article delves into the fascinating world of upcycling building materials for innovative interior design.

The Appeal of Upcycling

Before exploring the various ways building materials can be upcycled, let’s understand the allure behind this trend:

  • Environmental Impact: Reducing waste by repurposing materials diminishes landfill contribution and curtails the energy consumption and emissions associated with producing new products.
  • Cost-Efficient: Upcycling often comes at a fraction of the price of buying new materials or furniture pieces.
  • Unique Aesthetic: Materials with history add depth and character to a space, something that’s hard to achieve with brand-new items.

Turning Bricks Into Focal Points

Turning Bricks Into Focal Points
Source: thespruce.com

Old bricks, especially those with a worn appearance, can introduce a rustic charm into interiors. Here are a few ways to integrate them:

  • Fireplace Makeover: Use reclaimed bricks to revamp a fireplace surround, giving it an antiqued look.
  • Feature Walls: A brick accent wall in a living room or bedroom can become the room’s focal point, evoking a loft-like atmosphere.
  • Decorative Vases: Glueing together broken brick pieces in a creative manner can yield rustic vases, perfect for dried flowers or branches.

Scaffold Shelves: A Statement in Sustainability

Scaffolding, typically seen as a temporary structure in construction sites, can be reincarnated as stylish, functional shelving in interiors.

  • Industrial Chic: The rugged appeal of scaffold boards works brilliantly in industrial-themed rooms. Clean them, give them a slight polish, and use them as shelves mounted against a wall or as free-standing units.
  • Kitchen Islands: Combining scaffold boards with other upcycled materials, like old pipes or metal frames, can produce unique kitchen islands with ample storage and work surface.
  • Desk SetupScaffold shelves can be integrated into a home office setup. Use them as floating desk surfaces or as overhead storage.

Wooden Pallet Possibilities

Wooden Pallet Possibilities
Source: kitepackaging.co.uk

Wooden pallets are a darling in the DIY upcycling community. Their modularity and sturdy build make them suitable for a multitude of applications.

  • Coffee Tables: Pallets, when stacked and equipped with casters, can transform into mobile coffee tables with a raw edge.
  • Bed Frames: Lay a few pallets on the floor, throw a mattress on top, and voilà! A boho-chic bed frame is ready.
  • Vertical Gardens: Mount pallets onto walls and fill the gaps with soil and plants for an urban green oasis.

Glass and Window Wonders

Old windows and glass panels can create stunning decor pieces:

  • Photo Frames: An old window can be a frame for multiple photos, creating a vintage collage on the wall.
  • Room Dividers: Attach several windows or glass panels together to make a transparent room divider that segregates without feeling closed off.
  • Tabletops: Placing a glass panel over a table base, perhaps made of upcycled wood or metal, can result in a chic table design.

Pipes and Metals: From Functional to Fashionable

Source: pinterest.com

Metallic elements, especially when weathered, can inject an edgy feel into spaces:

  • Light Fixtures: Bend and twist old pipes, attach light bulbs, and you have an industrial chandelier or wall sconce.
  • Bookends: Heavy metal pieces can be repurposed as bookends, grounding a bookshelf with a touch of vintage appeal.
  • Coat Racks: Mount pipes or metal rods onto walls to hang coats, scarves, and bags in a hallway or bedroom.

Tiles and Ceramics: Mosaic Magic

Broken tiles or discarded ceramics needn’t be thrown away:

  • Backsplashes: Creating a mosaic from broken tiles can result in a colorful, one-of-a-kind kitchen backsplash.
  • Tabletops: Cover a table surface with fragmented ceramics to craft an artful dining or coffee table.
  • Garden Pathways: Embed broken tiles into garden paths for a whimsical, fairytale-like stroll.


The possibilities with upcycling building materials are endless, limited only by imagination. By introducing elements like scaffold shelves or brick feature walls, you not only make a sustainable choice but also enrich your living space with stories and depth. Next time you’re thinking of revamping your interior, consider diving into the world of upcycling.