The Insider: How to upcycle (without much effort)

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The Independent Online

The downsides of a consumerist society have been writ large of late, so the joy of revamping, rather than chucking out, old homewares feels particularly proper right now. Besides, it's gained a hip moniker and everything. But don't let that put you off (plus you can always cheat).

Crate minds

At last! Super-creative style blogger Grace Bonney is publishing a book – Design Sponge at Home (£20, Artisan, out 6 September). Hit the DIY projects section, where tips include lining old wooden wine crates with wallpaper and fixing to the wall as box shelves.

Off the wall

Turn stray old bricks into planters for succulents (above). has this and heaps more unintimidating ideas.

Looking dishy

For "unloved" old china that's been given a new lease of life, re-fired with new and vintage images, check out

Button it

Revamp a lamp, suggests Lucie Rice, deputy editor of chic craft magazine strip off the shade and replace with wire strings, threaded with old buttons. Another tip: "Use patterned paper, patchwork-style (with double-sided adhesive sheets), to brighten a cabinet."

Bespoken for

For a fixed price (starting at £95), spruces up one of your own bits of furniture.

Design for life

Eco and luxe? Oh yes. The man behind Mulberry has launched The Upcycled Furniture Collection at Selfridges, reusing steel, reclaimed wood and sheepskin.

Night flight

For feel-good children's bedding, recycles 600 thread-count first-class airline duvet covers into stunning, 1950s-inspired toddler quilts. A memorable gift.

Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at