Refurbishing? Or call it Repurposing? Just call it Fun!

“Do you like to make new things out of old items?” was a question asked to a group of friends recently. And ‘Wow’ did the answers fly! “Yes, I love to re-purpose furniture,” was one response. Another was,”It’s my form of recycling – goin’ green you know.” Yet another was, “I live to junk!” No matter what one calls it – reuse, re-purpose, redo, remodel, recycle, reinvent – refurbishing is hot right now. Even using the term refurbishing doesn’t fit what is going on in homes and gardens across the country. Some call it a ‘new trend’, others call it ‘plain old common sense’ and many others say it is ‘environmentally correct’. However you wish to state it, it is still putting old items to new uses. In my opinion it doesn’t matter what you call it or why you do it, it is fun. During our conversation, my friends eyes lit up and stories began on where they found ‘the find’, how they created something new then the pictures pop up on cell phones and from purses to see what it looks like now.

When you stop and look around re-purposing/remodeling is all over the airways – HGTV and DIY stations plus a host of other TV shows demonstrate how to remodel and redo our homes and gardens. Blogs and websites are springing up with ideas and how-to re-purpose and refurbish garage sale and thrift store finds. (If you have some time Google vintage + home decor + re-purpose then follow the BlogSpot or WordPress sites that pop-up. Magazines such as Martha Stewart Living, Fresh Style, plus many others show more ideas and detailed how-to projects. These are all great but how do we take the beautiful picture and make it ours?

We start with a need in our home or garden. Do we need storage? Is another place to sit in the living room needed? Or is there a blank hallway wall needing a beautiful collage of pictures and found objects for interest? After we can name our need we can get started on the fun of the hunt.

During the hunt be sure to take along the measurements for your space (a pocket tape measure is helpful to check out items before you purchase), color chips, fabric pieces and your budget numbers (this should include the cost of your item plus supplies to refurbish). I asked Larry Pettit of Back Street Alley Antiques in Greenville for a few pointers when purchasing items for re-purposing. He said, “Look at the condition of the furniture. Is it sturdy? Are the legs or back loose? Does it have veneer? Veneer is harder to refinish yet is easier to paint.” He then went on to say “Whatever you buy needs to be functional in your home. Re-glue, repair, and repaint so it works in your space. Items don’t need to match; the eclectic style is popular now.” If you have questions on how to prepare your items talk to Jerry’s Paint Store for painting advise. Or go to True Value or Ace Hardware Stores for repair tips. These are great local sources to help with any idea you have.

The hunt can take us to Garage Sales, Outdoor Flea Markets, Peddler’s Markets, Antique Stores or Grandma’s Attic. Many of these types of places are here in Greenville and Montcalm County. One place to look is in Greenville September 10th.  Meet Downtown is hosting an Antique Event that day showcasing local businesses plus welcoming open-air vendors to locations throughout downtown heading north to the Peddler’s Market. Check out or Meet Downtown on Facebook for more information.

Once you are done with your project, be sure to take a moment and snap a picture. So that the next time someone brings up their newest redo; you can show off your work as well. Happy refurbishing!