How To Repurpose Furniture To Decorate Living Rooms

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The living room is called that for a reason. Most families spend more time in the living room than any other area of the house. You ask a lot of your living room; you want it to be an attractive reflection of your decorating tastes, a comfortable spot for relaxing, and a place for spending time as a family.

With the emphasis these days on living green, recycling and reusing, and making do with less, it is natural to look for things you already have, and put them to use in another area of your home. Look around with an open mind, and you will be surprised at what you can take from one room and repurpose in the living room.

Storage Ideas

With so much activity, the living room tends to become a magnet for clutter. You can repurpose items from other areas of your home to contain the clutter, or keep it out of sight altogether.

  • Pull your rarely used armoire out of the guest room, and use it to hide books, toys, games, video games and movies, craft supplies, and whatever else is making your living room look cluttered and unorganized. The best thing about armoires is you can shut the doors, hiding the mess inside!
  • Fix up those old cabinets that have been sitting in your garage since you remodeled the kitchen. Remove the doors, paint them a bright, contrasting color to make a statement, or paint them the same color as your walls for a subtle look. Mount the cabinets to the wall, being sure to screw them into the studs for strength. You now have open shelving perfect for displaying décor, or storing all those items that seem to clutter up the living room.
  • Repurpose wooden crates, cardboard boxes, large bottles, and plastic bins to organize your living room. Liven them up with a quick coat of paint, and use them to store books, magazines, small toys, crafts or anything else needing storage in the living room.
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Repurposing is common for coffee tables or end tables. Most living rooms contain both of these, and there are so many items you can transform into the perfect table for your room.

  • Move an unused hope chest or blanket chest from your bedroom into the living room. Perfect as a coffee table, it can still be used for storage.
  • Transform a large ceramic flowerpot into a small coffee or end table by turning it upside-down, and adding a round sheet of glass on top. This is especially nice if you like a cottage look.
  • Use an old picnic bench as a coffee table, or place it against the wall as an end table. Paint the bench to make it look new, or for an aged country or shabby chic look, paint it with a crackle technique.
  • Paint wooden crates, then stand on their side with a sheet of glass on top to make a rugged coffee table.

The Couch

Couches get a lot of wear-and-tear, especially in a home with kids or pets. Since a couch is an expensive investment, you want to get as many years out of yours as you can. It's easy to liven up the sofa with things you already own.

  • Give your couch a new lease on life by covering it with a quilt you aren't using in the bedroom. King sized sheets work well too. Just spread it over the couch, and tuck in around the base of the arms and under the seat cushions. You can use upholstery pins to hold your sofa cover in place.
  • Cover old bed pillows with shams, and repurpose as throw pillows.
  • Create a couch cover out of old blankets, clothes or fabric scraps. Cut and piece together, then spread over the sofa and pin in place.


As the room most used by family and visitors alike, you want your living room to display your style and decorating sense. Repurposing can work here too, allowing you to create a unique look without spending a fortune.

  • Slip pictures from old books, maps, vintage magazines, and photographs into frames, and hang several to create a focal point above your sofa or a bare expanse of wall.
  • Fill a collection of glass jars in different colors and sizes with marbles, and place near a window to create rainbows and sparkles of light as the sun shines through.
  • Set a small houseplant, cut flowers, or artificial greenery in a china teapot or vintage teacup to make a dainty flowerpot.
  • Use wine glasses as votive candleholders. Pour a thin layer of sand in the bottom of the glass to hold the candle steady, and make it easy to remove dripped wax.
  • Reminisce and create a conversation piece by displaying mugs you have collected on vacations. Create a group of mugs for impact, and fill them with marbles, small houseplants, tiny souvenirs from the trip, or ticket stubs.

Your living room sees a lot of living, but it doesn't have to look worn out. Give it a facelift without much cash just by looking around your home, thinking outside the box, and coming up with creative ways to use what you already own.

Last Updated: September 22, 2011
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About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

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