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The Art of Recycling Old to Give New Lease of Life Film reels and the negatives of cameras work amazingly to give a bygone era-like feel to the décor

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Desi Lantern

A very common trend in the décor industry is the creative reuse and recycling of ordinary, old, broken or useless objects into useful, functional and stylish products that give a very quirky or vintage feel to the décor. Décor enthusiasts come up with intriguing ways to recycle and up-cycle old and used products into items that can stand out at any event, even after being restrained to a budget.

"Old is timeless", and almost any product can be recycled or reused with a modern twist. Any item or product can be recycled by washing it, adding a fresh coat of paint, polishing it or by using any other means to spruce up the product to give it a new look. Since weddings in India are very grand in nature and every year they seem demand exclusivity and newness in the whole décor. To achieve the same, the décor aficionados have to come up with quirky and out of the box ideas of recycling and upcycling of the products/items which would provide the uniqueness in their décor that would definitely be a conversation starter at such events.

Procuring Products To Recycle

Décor enthusiasts should always be on a lookout for a yard sale or garage sale. Moreover, if you look for products at home which might not be in use for a fairly long time can also be recycled. The kind of products one can purchase includes old doors or windows, side tables, lounges, sofas, chairs, garden benches, old television sets, radios, transistors, telescopes, old phones, typewriters, tyres, etc. One can even reuse products which can be found in our homes such as old curtains or drapes or rugs or glass bottles or teacups or old lace/doilies. Old light fittings and chandeliers also act as statement pieces today.

Re-using Film Reels and Furniture

Film reels and the negatives of cameras work amazingly to give a bygone era-like feel to the décor. One can also use old electronic products such as gramophones, radios, television sets, typewriters, etc unconventionally as décor items. Such pieces add an antique look to the whole décor, transporting one back to the olden days, yet is in times with current trends.

Garden benches can be sourced and placed as it is or can be given a totally different appearance with a fresh coat of paint or beautified with several adornments. This can be used as a nice seating for the couple getting married. Old marble statues and pillars work wonderfully, to provide a stately look amidst contemporary décor. They add grandeur to the design and are used to bring about an eclectic mix of the modern and traditional aspect. Marble topped console tables can be used on one wall as a statement piece with floral arrangements to add a touch of magnificence to the entire set up.

When one has old doors or windows, they can peel of the paint or add a fresh coat of paint and use it to give a vintage look. One can use old sofas, lounges and chairs as it is, or just change the upholstery to give it a new avatar. One can also experiment with old side tables of different shapes and sizes by cutting a portion of it and creating an installation to give a classical look.

Recycling Household Items

Curtains and drapes can be washed and re-used in different ways. Old curtains can be used as it is or alternatively can also be used to make bolsters and cushion covers. These can be added to the décor to give a different look. One can always re-use old carpets and rugs, if maintained well.

Broken pots can be used as centerpieces by adding flowers, lights and other embellishments. Pearl-pet bottles, tea cups, teapots and mason jars can be used as a base for a beautiful flower arrangements or as planters. One can even re-use the tin cans and bottles, what we use in our kitchens regularly by just adding some colour, or using it for a particular theme such as Masterchef.

Recreate Decorative Products

Old books bring back old memories. These can be procured from second-hand book stores. Each book tells its own story and can be used to give a rich feel to the décor.

Old newspapers and magazines can be used in origami to create various elements for a décor. The addition of old CDs and DVDs also add to the whole look. One can also create screens, make table runners, tea light holders with used lace to add a touch of vintage look to the surrounding.

Sprucing Up the Product

Ancient light-fixtures and chandeliers look stunning with any kind of décor, bringing about a sense of grandeur and nostalgia. The quirkiness of what can be done is all left to the imagination. Tyres can be painted and used as seats with cushions to support. Old and broken cups and kettles can also be used as centre-pieces or in conjunction with flowers and fruits to create spectacular displays.

Eco-conscious Recycling

These days, weddings are going the eco-friendly way. From using recycled paper for the invitation cards to using recycled items for the décor, couples are bringing back their green, eco-conscious and "less is more' philosophies to their celebrations. The focus is shifting to DO IT YOURSELF weddings this year. The couples are not opting for over-the-top, dramatic décor and going for quirky, chic and minimalistic elements. A lot of attention is given to detailing, personalization and customization of the smallest décor elements and components. Hence, a lot of décor is being done by using everyday products/items and recycling them into unique décor essentials which fascinate your guests at the event.

Priti Agarwalla and Sunaina Agarwal

Founders, Desi Lantern

Priti Agarwalla and Sunaina Agarwal are one such duo who chose a completely unconventional and a creative career path. Being a Commerce graduate from Sri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi, Priti was always attracted to design and décor while Sunaina is a graduate in B Com (Hons) from Jadavpur University, loves to travel and explore different designs and concepts.
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