Repurposing Old Windows

By: Elaine Vitone , Contributing Writer
In: Uncategorized, Green Renovations

Next in our series on creative new uses for old-house items and materials, I’m tackling my personal favorite among the piles of discards in the architectural salvage yard: windows.

Wallpaper frame

When I saw this in Apartment Therapy I just couldn’t wait to tell y’all about it. Monica Ewing at Craftynest–a crafter, Web designer, and former designer for O and Real Simple–turned an old window into a great little piece of wall art. She attached some wallpaper samples from FabMo, a San Francisco organization that collects discontinued designer materials and puts them in the hands of creative craftfolk. Kudos, Monica. What a smart way to add interest to a room.

Multi-panel Mirror

I had an idea when I was window shopping (har har) online the other day. Multi-paneled mirrors like this piece from Pottery Barn sure look an awful lot like windows anyway, right? For a poor man’s version, why not use the real deal? Take an old window frame that’s crying out for a little face time, and attach small pieces of mirror (or mirrored acrylic) inside the panes. Hang it on your wall, and voilà. You’ve saved little piece of old-house history, and added openness and light to your contemporary digs. You dig?

Stained glass window

Etsy vendor SemperNova, who rescues and reinvents furniture and home decor items destined for the landfill, had a beauty of an idea: Turn a humble old window frame into a stained-glass showcase. Stellar stuff, SemperNova.

Jewelry holder

Michigan crafter Catherine Spencer found a window on the side of the road and turned it into a jewelry holder. She screwed a piece of scrap wood across the bottom to create a little shelf for rings, pins, and odd pieces that can’t be hung up. She used cup hooks to store necklaces and bracelets tangle-free and in plain sight. A piece of plastic mesh stapled inside of one window pane holds her dangly earrings. Nicely done, Catherine.

Display case

Yet another fine offering from Gail at My Repurposed Life: a display case. The woman is a storehouse of  upcycling ideers.

Drying rack

Here’s another brainstorm I had. What’s the difference between this old window….

… and this drying rack (as seen in Country Living)?

I’ll tell you what’s the difference: You. With a little bit of your love and attention, an old window (and a piece of beadboard) can have a whole new lease on life in your laundry room.

What would you add to this list, dear readers?

If you’ve got a repurposing project that has you twitterpated, get to tweeting, and use the #ReuseIt tag, which was recently introduced by OHW’s Lucy O’Neill. Let’s keep the conversation going!


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  1. 7 Responses  to “Repurposing Old Windows”

  2. Aug 29, 2011
    I've been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.
  3. Aug 29, 2011
    Thanks for featuring my Window Cabinet! gail
  4. Aug 29, 2011
    Thanks, Jeremy! Let us know what you come up with.
  5. Jeremy
    Aug 29, 2011
    These are really cool projects - I wish I had the creativity or the artistry to be able to make something out of nothing like this. That display case is pretty clever...I will have to take a closer look at my windows and see what I can do with them.
  6. Aug 29, 2011
    Marcia: Awe, thanks! I'm so glad you like the article. Izzy: I heart your ideas. Projects for green-thumb types, just in time for summer!
  7. Izzy
    Aug 29, 2011
    I collect old window frames and use them to make green houses. although these old windows are not insulated they still work real good for window boxes and seedling boxes at the start of the gardening season.
  8. marcia
    Aug 29, 2011
    I love all these projects. I have a ton of these true divided light windows and have made a few of the mirror projects, but never thought of the other stuff. Great article!