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One of the beautiful aspects of buying quality furnishings is that they tend to last longer. While a new wooden chair might cost more than the plastic version, for those with financial restraints, it’s worth investigating superior but less expensive secondhand options.

Another great characteristic of wooden furniture is that the pieces, in creative hands, can become somewhat interchangeable. Widowed table legs might become new chair legs, wayward drawers could become shelving units, and a survived wardrobe door might transform into a coffee table.

Not only are projects to repurpose broken furniture a win for the planet and its dwindling resources, but they can also be extremely fun and rewarding. The twist of using unlikely components to perform mismatched functions never ceases to delight builders and buyers.

Foot resting on old table leg
Malias/Creative Commons

Source: Malias/Creative Commons

1. Liberated Legs

A leg is likely one of the first things to go on a piece of furniture. After all, they take the brunt of the abuse, being weighed down and pushed and pulled around. The thing is that typically it’s one leg that breaks, leaving behind three survivors. These are worth saving!

First of all, they can be used to repair sister chairs should they suffer a leg injury. Otherwise, a collection of old furniture legs can easily become the new legs for something else. Coffee tables, tables, nightstands, chairs, and so on all need legs.

2. Adrift Drawers

In other pieces of furniture, it’s more likely that a drawer will suffer some ill-timed and unfortunate fate. The handle might break, or the bottom might fall out. In a chest of drawers, this might leave several survivors. Drawers are great for repurposing projects.

Drawers turned vertically and stacked into unassuming arrangements make awesome shelving units. A big drawer can have shelves added inside it to become a medicine cabinet or spice holder. Wheels can be added to old drawers so they work as under-bed storage. And, of course, old drawers can become new drawers in homemade furniture.

3. Salvaged Shelving

Often with shelving units, bits of hardware will fail. The shelves will start slipping out of place. Or, maybe the backing—often a lesser quality piece of plywood—breaks loose. There is a strong likelihood that, with minimal initiative, a shelving unit in this state can be repaired.

That said, shelving units are typically made up of some significant cuts of lumber, boards that are twelve inches wide and three feet long, even wider and longer. These can easily be reassembled to make nice tables, chests, new shelving, and so on.

Old wooden doors
erickgonzalez50/Creative Commons

Source: erickgonzalez50/Creative Commons

4. Diverse Doors

While repurposers generally turn to house doors for their projects, lots of furniture has doors, too. Wardrobe doors offer massive slabs of wood, perfect for certain projects, whereas a china cabinet might have smaller glass doors that can function for something else completely.

Doors are commonly converted into tabletops, be they large dining room tables (a wardrobe door) or small end tables (a cabinet door). They can also become the backing and frame for DIY mirrors, the seat and back for benches, or the sides of chests. Sometimes an old door leaning against a wall is remarkable enough. They are funny that way.

5. Upcycled Upholstery

And, let us not forget the likes of comfy chairs and couches, which have plenty of worthwhile wood in the framing but also are abundant sources of cloth and stuffing. Couch cushions can easily become floor pillows or pet beds, or the whole sofa can be disassembled to provide the parts for new items.

Upholstery is tough stuff, selected for its ability to persist through afternoon naps, flopping down, kids jumping, and spilled wine. The material can be reimagined as a backpack, purse, pillowcase, patchwork, and so on. Crafters who deal in sewing needles have a lot to work with from a couch.

When we buy quality stuff, we are afforded these opportunities for repurposing. A cheap sofa or plastic patio table may not be much use when it begins to unravel or go limp, but a strong wooden table or chair is always in vogue and of some value.

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