Recycled Kitchens on the cheap

Click the download button to download the complete lesson for this blog.

Cheap Recycled Kitchen Idea's So cheap it hurts!

Decorating the Rental House! • Have you dreamt of owning your own house, but just haven't quite made yet? Many of us have and continue to be caught up the rental struggle of not being able to decorate how we want. But with a few clever and super cheap decorating tricks, you can decorate even the oldest house like my 100 year old rented Queenslander style home, for less than $300 including new timber bench tops!

• Now when l refer to Bunnings for our international recyclers, it a major hardware store in Australia, l'm sure any hardware store in your country can help you out just as efficiently. But that said the only thing l needed from Bunning were my new timber bench tops. Now don't get all fancy, after all your trying to save pennies so don't even visit the pre –made kitchen isle. Instead head to the timber department, Bunning sells a range of timber bench tops in a standard size (BIG), all you need to do is pull out your trusty tape measure or failing you don't have one, just measure using a length of string width and length ways your existing kitchen bench tops, and take your measurements to the hardware shop. Now you could cut the timber to the correct length yourself at home, but my advise, pay the tiny tiny cutting fee, in fact l wasn't even charged, than you know its done accurately, and you won't even need to sand the edges.

Now before you go getting too excited, remember unless it's your house, you can't change the structure of your kitchen, but there's nothing to say that you can't simply place the timber bench tops straight onto of the old ones, you don't have to glue them on, they are heavy and are not going to jump off the bench unless you have small children who like to sit on the benches. In that case you have a decision to make!

All l did to protect the underlying bench from any water damage around the sink area, was to add some silicone sealer, just to stop water from gathering in-between the two bench tops. Silicone sealer can easily be removed when you lift up the bench tops automatically breaking the seal, than just scrape away any residue with a blunt knife. To Easy. Total cost for me was $198 as l required two timber slabs. It changed the look of my old tired white stained melamine kitchen benches like you would not believe. Talk about a rental face lift! From $99 for a big long slab of timber.

Recycling pieces can add a dynamic interest factor to your kitchen

Pick your Theme

For my theme l decided to bring the outdoors inside, it's much easier to decorate when you have a theme in mind, so hit websites like pinterest, it has a wealth of decorator ideas, try putting in recycled kitchen and see what you can find into google. I find bring together a eclectic mix of old and new helps to stabilize your finished look to look chic and not cheap. They don't have to be expensive items, for e.g. I added white metal pots from Ikea, for $2.99 and added fake plants $5.99, that look so real, l even had to ask just to be sure, you can add real ones if you love gardening, but just be careful on your new timber bench tops that no water leaks. The green of the plants against the timber just goes so well (naturally) and the natural looking environment just makes one feel much happier and healthier.

Get the look

Adding your own creations adds a personal touch, especially when people ask where you brought it from and you get the pleasure of stating you made it yourself, and it's a one of a kind! I created two of these coca cola shelves, and so simple to do.

Collect some old fencing pales from a tip shop, or an old pallet, cut 3 pieces to length, depending on how big you want your shelf to be. Add two cross panels top and bottom, see top pic, and glue with no nails glue or wood glue, when dried than add a few nails to secure. Purchase a small hinge and attach a timber piece from the top backing timber so your shelf will sit correctly enough to support your shelf at the correct angle. Then cut another timber piece the cross length width ways of the backing shelf and tapper the ends like mine if you wish, if easier you can also keep straight edges. Attach your shelf anyway you can, l picked up some rusted old metal L shaped brackets from the tip shop, as l wanted them cheap as chips and l love the aged look when creating recycled furniture and home ware pieces, it just looks so much more authentic.

I then painted my wood red and gave a heavy hand sanding with a coarse sand paper to strip back the paint, again achieving that aged look. I purchased a coca cola stencil from ebay and using an old kitchen sponge dabbed on some white paint, don't worry about being perfect, your going to sand it back anyhow, and those minute leaks under the plastic stencil l promise will look the part.

You can now dress up your shelf how you wish, l added some rusted metal plates again from the tip shop, the trick is to buy when you see them and when you want them you shop from home. The small dots on the shelf are metal upholstery tacks, available from most hardware stores, it just added a jazzed up look and l added a bow using twine.

A trick of adding something old, such as old tin accessories can add a touch of nostalgia, adding authenticity to the shelf, and it looks so cool.

Don't be safe take a risk!

Does a kitchen window really have to have a boring blind or curtain?

Why not try jazzing up your window by taking down the curtain and curtain rod and adding a long metal bar, or pipe, keep a look out over several tip shop visits, you will come across something of interest. It doesn't have to be the correct length, just extend your attachments right across it and it will extend your window into your wall adding a real feature to a dull corner or window, and adding a point of difference to your room.

I went with a some super cheap little hanging pots and some old tea light candle holders l found on a throw out table at bunnings years ago, at least they now have a purpose. I used rustic twine to match my aged look and the look of the hanging pots. Different is innovative when it comes to decorating.

What's old is new again.

Bringing terracotta pots inside is a great idea if your after the natural nature look of bringing the outdoors inside. These were old pipes that l picked up for a few dollars at the tip shop, l used them outdoors for a awhile but now they have found their place indoors, there rustic, and little battered but again that is creating your story, it's raw and unique.

Personal touches rock!

This is shelf l made using old fence pales, it's easy enough to put together, and l am no builder, just a tinker, just look at something and break it down to simpler bits in your drawing. Having a crack at something, its about learning, sure mistakes will be made, but this is a recycled kitchen, unless you tell someone your mistakes they will simply never know, they will just think it was meant to be like that!

Add funky furniture pieces to fill in any gaps

What better way to make something feel right at home, then to give it a purpose!

If you have a gap, create something totally different, go super colourful, weird and wacky, it will add a bright spark to a neutrally coloured room, it will look out of place though, so the trick is to give it a purpose.... Mine is the coffee, milo, etc spot, everything l need to create a hot or cold milk drink is visible from this one tiny spot, and instantly a stranger could walk into your kitchen and know exactly without asking you, where to make a coffee.

It works because it has purpose and meaning. I painted it different colours, sanded it back to achieve an aged look, then covered certain timber with a coffee collage fabric.

Create smaller functional pieces

Anyone can get 4 pieces of timber the same length and build a rectangle, that is far from rocket science! Place a bottom on and you have a utensil holder for cutlery through to your cooking utensils, add a bit of paint and glue gun on some twine, add a few upholstery tacks for decoration and again it brings so much quirkiness to your kitchen as well as functionality

Mix old with new.

By mixing old and new selectively you can bring an eclectic and chic look, trying to go completely recycled can leave kitchen's especially, looking dated and old fashioned. The look for modern day recycled kitchens, is a touch of the old crossing over into modern eclectic day. There is a fine line, my trick is to have larger furniture pieces as recycled and finer decorative pieces as new, now that doesn't mean expensive, bargain hunt people. End of season sales, throw out tables, markets, cheap shops.

I used new fake plants, crisp white pots, a bunny covered in fake grass, and Balinese candle holders, but it is the bunny that is the centre piece of my feature wall, it stands out because as you know bunnies are not green, so having a juxtaposition in your setting, throws people off (juxtaposition = something that should look the same but looks totally opposite then it should look, i.e. green bunny instead of a white or grey bunny)

Discover some old collectibles

Using old metal tins, from biscuit tins to lolly and cereal tins and as pictured old flour tins, can put the collectable into your kitchen. Adding little signs or tin signs can add in your personality.

Get creative with bits and piece and make the perfect table!

If you plan to add a table to your kitchen, keep it in theme with your kitchen! There is nothing worse than seeing a great recycled kitchen let down by a shinny new table. Old electrical cable wheels make awesome table tops, put it on an old metal outdoor table legs (remove the top) the rustier the better.

l have wrapped some rust-able un-galvanized wire around my legs and left it outside for a few weeks, wetting it several times a day, it quickly rusts, then you varnish the whole lot, the table top through to your wire and legs, looks totally awesome when you varnish rusted metal with gloss varnish.

I picked up these metal chairs from the tip shop for $5 each, all they needed was a clean up and a gloss varnish and they were brought back to life and look super cool with my table. GLOSS Varnish l can't tell you how good it comes up on metal, seriously it brings faded, rusted and weathered metal back to looking so funky and cool as though that was always how it looked.

Go Weird...

Every time l visit the tip shops or opp shops, l see fake lawn off cuts, this time l discovered a couple of large pieces, immediately l thought, l'll have that, it was at the end of the roll which meant it had the white lines, but that worked to my favor, because it make it look more like a rug, and that's when a rug become my kitchen floor.

I have to say l have been really impressed, can't see dirt, vacuums well, if l ever spill anything l can take it outside and wash it down with the hose. And the best part is it feel awesome in bare feet, like a massage! It also helped with the freshness of the room and adding to my indoor/outdoor theme.

Your shelves should make a statement

Like my fake grass floor rug, l added my second piece of fake grass and lined my shelves which gave the perfect cohesion from top to bottom and really gave a richness to my dirty old white painted shelves. The fake turf only cost me $20, so that was one cheap decoration.

Add in some artwork

As an artist, l have plenty of art around my house, so l had quite a selection to choose from, but this 3D painting worked really well, it didn't take away from the kitchen being all black, but it added dimension fantastically to compliment my corner and balancing out my display. Always think about balance and symmetry when designing.

Add a bar- Why not...

If you have the room, why not add a mini bar, l made one from an old tray (the cream painted area), l added chunky wooden legs on wheels, threw in an old wine rack l found at the tip shop, added a few garden hooks to the top to hang glasses from and done an awesome bar was produced. I made some funky bottle lights to (see next page) for how to make your own.

Lights anyone?

Bottle lights are so fun and cheap as chips, all you need is as many bottles as you want, some old fencing timber or pallet timber, a drill with hole drill bit bigger than the neck of your bottle, drill some holes in one piece of cut to size timber, making sure you have made sure all the bottles fits perfectly side by side, then create your timber rectangle, starting with the bottom and sides, do not add the top until you have added the bottles through the holes or you will never get them in later, paint it either before or after, but its much easier to paint it before you add the bottles, sand it back and then comes the fun bit – add your Christmas lights.

I have also done these light by creating a hole in the sides of each bottle and threaded it through that way, but unless your a master of drilling holes in bottles, the bottles holes can look pretty messy. I like the lights that are multi coloured and blink differing ways, through the red wine bottle the lights look awesome. And being red wine bottles and not so see through, it hides a lot of the cord, so the lights really become the stars of the show.

Moving to the dining room

Ok moving on to the next room adjoining my kitchen, my dining room, now l just recently moved my old painting table back into this room, the problem was it had paint all over it, and l simply wasn't in the mood to sand it back.

Last year my very talented mother crocheted me a rug, l loved it so much l actually had attached it to a canvas, but found it was a bit to strong on a wall, so... well you can see where it ended up, on my table.

I love the look, it just required a little stretching to be stapled gunned to the under side of the table, and then of course to protect it l added a thick plastic cover cut to size from Bunnings.

My accessories are two old biscuit tins simply glued onto to old candle sticks, l have drilled holes in the bottom of the tins and a battery operated push on/off light for $2 sits in each tin, it looks great because the light filters out the bottom of the tins shining down onto the table setting a nice dinner ambiance.

Upgrade old furniture pieces to wow pieces

Another piece of furniture l have in this room is an old brown buffet, that l really was ready to throw out, then one day l got motivated and decided to paint and decorate it instead. The top l went with a collage of superhero images and created an array of word stencilled writing and paint, l then sanded the whole thing back to distress it, which look great, l then gloss varnished it. The sides and front, l went with splashes of colour.

Create a feature in your room

This believe it not used to be a fish tank stand, looking a little different today by adding in some recyled timber fencing and being a little creative with fabric placement, l really didn't have to do a lot, l took the top opening lid and the stand base, and added a middle section of a rectangle box, add the three together and a very cute storage box. Visit my blog on how to add fabric to timber, its great knowledge to know and easier than you think to do, and the results are fabulous.
Well l hope l have provided you with a little inspiration for how to do your place on a budget, check out www.elzingacollective.com.au for many more useful creating tips and tricks to do recycling furniture. Thanks for taking a look....Karen Elzinga

Turn old wooden beds into chairs

The long chair at my table, l made from an old double bed head and the bed slats, by directing simple beds you can really make some funky chairs, splash of paint and varnish and sensational bench chair for approximately $30. All l did was cut the foot bed head in half and attached them to the ends of the head bed head. Then created two platforms to fit the between measurements and screwed them into place. I added another mother knitted rug and some old cushions and a fun dining area.


This product has been added to your cart