top of page

Recycling, Upcycling, Repurposing: Where do I start?

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

Giving Old Objects New Life

When it comes to sustainable interior design, Recycling, Upcycling, and Repurposing are terms you might hear a lot. While they all have something to do with giving new life to old objects, they are not quite interchangeable terms. In this post, we will break down the difference between these three concepts and provide examples of how you can incorporate them into your interior design.

plant pot
Image Credit:


Recycling refers to the process of converting waste materials into new products. In the context of interior design, this can mean using recycled materials such as glass, plastic or paper to create new furniture, textiles, or accessories. For example, you can find chairs made from recycled plastic or rugs made from recycled fabrics. By choosing recycled materials, you can reduce waste and lower your environmental impact.

wood fiurniture


Upcycling, on the other hand, involves transforming old or unwanted items into something new and better. Instead of simply throwing away an item, upcycling gives it a new purpose and extends its lifespan. A great example of upcycling in interior design is turning an old ladder into a bookshelf or a dresser into a bathroom vanity. By upcycling, you can save money and add unique, one-of-a-kind pieces to your home.



Repurposing is similar to upcycling in that it involves finding new uses for old items. However, repurposing typically involves using an object in a completely different way than it was originally intended. For example, repurposing a vintage suitcase as a side table or turning an old bike wheel into a chandelier. Repurposing is a great way to add character and personality to your space while also reducing waste.

Image Credit:


Whether you choose to recycle, upcycle, or repurpose, giving new life to old objects is a great way to reduce waste and lessen your environmental impact. By diverting items from landfill and extending their lifespan, you are helping to conserve natural resources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and prevent pollution. Additionally, incorporating sustainable practices into your interior design can inspire others to do the same and contribute to a more environmentally conscious society. So not only is it good for the planet, but it can also make a positive impact on the world around us.

vintage furniture


If you don't want to recycle or upcycle your unwanted or old furniture and furnishings, there are still several options available for disposing of them responsibly in the UK. Here are some suggestions:

1. Hire a Furniture Removal Service - There are several companies in the UK that specialise in the removal and disposal of unwanted furniture or furnishings. These companies will come to your home and collect your items, ensuring that they are disposed of responsibly and recycled or reused where possible.

2. Sell Your Items - If your furniture or furnishings are still in good condition, consider selling them through online marketplaces such as eBay, Gumtree, or Facebook Marketplace. This will give your items a second life and help to reduce waste.

3. Give Away for Free - If you know someone who could use your old furniture or furnishings, consider giving them away for free. Or use websites, such as Freecycle, that connect people who have unwanted items with people who are looking for them.

4. Furniture Reuse Network - The Furniture Reuse Network is a charity that works to prevent furniture waste by promoting the reuse of furniture and furnishings. They have a directory of reuse projects and social enterprises across the UK that accept donations of unwanted furniture.

5. Take to a Household Waste Recycling Centre - Many local councils in the UK have Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) where you can take your unwanted furniture or furnishings for recycling or disposal. Check with your local council to see if this service is available in your area.

By using these options, you can ensure that your old furniture and furnishings are disposed of responsibly and don't end up in a landfill.

plant pots


Incorporating recycling, upcycling, and repurposing into your interior design can be fun and rewarding. Not only will you be reducing your environmental impact, but you’ll also be adding unique, one-of-a-kind pieces to your home. So, why not give it a try? Start by taking a look around your home and see if there are any items that could be transformed through recycling, upcycling, or repurposing. Who knows, you may just discover a new hobby or passion in the process.

Thank you for reading this post! Subscribe below or follow us on Instagram to read more!



Mika Design Studio is an interior design studio on a mission to make a positive and meaningful impact on our clients’ lives; inspire them on the use of creativity and sustainable materials to create authentic interiors that organically evolve with them.

We are based in Royal Leamington Spa (Warwickshire, UK) but also operate online nationwide. We provide Consultation and Home Staging services for properties to sell, Re-design & Styling services for serviced accommodation/buy-to-let properties, and Online Interior Design for single bespoke rooms.

Visit our website to find out more about us.

Mika Design Studio


bottom of page