4 ways to upcycle materials from a cottage kitchen reno

Published: January 15, 2021

When you own a cottage, there’s always something to fix, upgrade, or improve. And often, there’s a budget to stick to. That’s why repurposing or reimagining furniture, building materials, or other items around the house can be a great strategy. Here are four ways to upcycle pre-loved stuff in your cottage.

1. Give someone’s discarded kitchen cabinets a new home

When a roof leak damaged part of my cousin’s kitchen, the rest of her cabinets were destined for the dumpster. Instead, we rescued the ones that were still in great shape for our 1970s cottage in the Laurentians, which desperately needed a makeover. Even though our space was configured differently, we made the cabinets work by taking a few apart, flipping horizontal ones to vertical and vice versa (the handles aren’t all in the right place yet!). We used extra cabinet material to make new boxes over our stove and to build open shelves to bridge the gap between cabinets. We sliced up some old Lucite wineglass holders that were inside our original cabinets, and trimmed out the window with wood from our old pantry.

Photo by Wendy Helfenbaum

2. Repurpose a cabinet door into a serving tray

We kept all the old pine cabinet doors because they’re solid and can be used for other projects, such as this serving tray. We screwed in a couple of handles from my cousin’s water-damaged pantry cabinet and left the original black hardware in place.

Photo by Wendy Helfenbaum

3. Use drawer knobs to hang curtains instead of a rod

Don’t get rid of those old cabinet and drawer knobs—you can upcycle them as hooks to hang all kinds of things, such as oven mitts, aprons, or curtains. Just pre-drill a hole and screw them in. Old drawers can be mounted to a wall for open shelving cubbies.

kitchen drawer knob being used to hang curtains
Photo by South House Designs

4. Make a rustic backsplash with wood slices

Instead of tossing fallen tree branches back into your forest or onto the compost pile, cut a few up into rounds for a unique (and free!) backsplash. Simply glue the wood slices onto your wall.

closeup shot of wood slices being used as kitchen backsplash
Photo by White Arrows Home

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