9 killer design ideas for salvaged windows

By: Matt Grocoff , Contributing Writer
In: Green Renovations, Home Improvement Tips

Tool shed made of salvaged windows

Why recycle when you can UP-cycle? One of my favorite things is taking ugly things and making them beautiful! I like to call it Upscaled Ugly. Old windows are among my design darlings. It's tough to use old windows in a new home and make them energy efficient, so as a result, there are warehouses filled with incredible old windows waiting for your creative kiss to turn them from ugly frogs to noble princes.

Open a window, open your mind, and remember: no pane, no gain.

Here's a few easy DIY old-window design tricks:


Why spend thousands for a greenhouse when you can make one yourself for under $300? With a simple shed frame you can create walls and a roof using reclaimed windows. For a clean and formal look you can find matching windows. For a more rustic look, feel free to mix it up with different windows.


Take any style window with the glass removed and attach a custom cut mirror to the back. Hang it on the wall and you've got a gorgeous accessory. Window mirrors are excellent for small rooms. The reflected light can make a room feel larger. It's like adding a window to a windowless interior wall.

Picture frame

Add a montage of black and white nature photos behind the glass of a multi-paned window. It's a very inexpensive but chic way to decorate your walls.


You can find great bargains on windows that have no glass. Take any style window and cut a thin piece of plywood to fit on the back. Paint the plywood with black chalk paint and attach it behind the window.

Wall paneling

Create an entire wall full of windows. This adds interest while maintaining an open feel to the room. For a more Bohemian touch, paint the wall behind the windows different vibrant colors.

Wall divider

Window-walls are perfect for dividing large spaces while maintaining an open feel. It separates spaces without blocking light or views. Large windows can be hung from the ceiling to provide a subtle room separation. When a bit more privacy is desired, you can build an eclectic framed wall with various sizes and shapes of windows.

Shed for tools

Several large windows attached to form three walls and a roof make a unique tool shed.

Dry erase board

This is crazy easy DIY project. Simply hang an old window on the kitchen wall. Place a dry erase marker nearby. When you need to take a quick note or make a grocery list, just pretend like you're one of those scientists in a pharmaceutical ad and write directly on the glass.

Shower door

Oversized metal warehouse windows can make an expensive looking and oh-so-chic shower door. Paint the frame black and pair it with white subways tiles for a contrast that is sure to wow.

For more ideas on using salvage windows and other materials, check out my Pinterest page: Reclaimed / Salvage Design Ideas

Photo courtesy Bob Bowling Rustics