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Decorating Diva: Easy ways to upcycle your stuff

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Refresh, revive and reuse

Welcome to Decorating Diva, where every week we share fresh, fun ways to update your home and spice up your living space! Save money and get creative at home with our tips for how to repurpose what you have in cool new ways.

Decorating Diva

Refresh, revive
and reuse

Welcome to Decorating Diva, where every week we share fresh, fun ways to update your home and spice up your living space! Save money and get creative at home with our tips for how to repurpose what you have in cool new ways.

To get some creative upcycle tips, we turned to Debi Lilly, nationally renowned event planning expert based in Chicago and founder and president of A Perfect Event, Chicago's most successful special event company. She let us in on some of her favorite ways to turn what you already have into cool, new décor items and shares photos of the finished product.

Glass vases with paper doily

Glass vases with paper doily

Do you have a pantry full of leftover, simple glass vases? Many of us do, but they don't have to end up at your next garage sale. "My favorite upcycle trend: dressing up a plain glass vase, and turning it into a flickering, romantic lacy lantern with paper doilies," says Lilly. "This is a great project to do with the kids, and is so simple — just a collection of vases, doilies, tape, and if you like, simple ribbon wraps to finish off the look with an elegant detail."

Simply tape paper doilies to the outside of the vase, either as whole pieces (round) or as half pieces (cut doily in half with scissors). Then, fill your lantern with white pillar candles. Pour bath salts around the candle if you want a scented base, and light, for a beautiful instant centerpiece, instructs Lilly.

Vase display

Vase display

One of the simplest ways to breathe new life into old items is to simply display them in a whole new way. "Open up that storage pantry full of mismatched silver vases, lanterns, glasses and more, and create an instant designer collection within minutes," suggests Lilly. "Place them onto mantles, book cases, or dining tables, alternating sizes from large, to small, to medium, in groupings and pairings." The result: an artistic twist on what you thought you no longer wanted.

Sweet treats centerpiece

Sweet treats centerpiece

If you don't want to display mismatched glass vases, glass bowls, etc. on their own, use them as vessels for sweet treats, no matter what the occasion. "For a fun, year round centerpiece on your tables, fill a collection of jars and bowls with candies, or dried fruits and nuts, trail mixes, granola bites and more for an interactive, edible centerpiece," advises Lilly. It looks colorful, and it's sure to put a smile on any guest's face.

Candle stands

Candle stands

Candle stands, Lilly notes, are the new dessert display. If you have one you're no longer using, get it out of hiding and use it to show off cupcakes or cookies. "I love to repurpose candle stands in new ways, placing sweet treats onto each candle holder instead of traditional candles," says Lilly. "It adds instant height to your dessert bar, and brings a high style, catered sweet-scape to your dinner party within minutes."

Instant cake stand

Dessert jars

Your breakfast can offer more than a healthy start to the day. Lilly suggests saving any glass yogurt jars you come across and using them for something a little more elegant. "Within a few days you have the perfect new mini dessert jars," she says. "Fill them with parfaits, mousse, layered mini cupcakes with jam and cream turned cake jars, and more." Not only will guests be impressed, but individual servings make for a more stylish presentation. Plus, there's no need to stand around cutting cake or pie — just let people grab and go!

Photo frame trays

Photo frame trays

Old frames sitting in boxes or at the bottom of the closet? They can become brand new colorful trays for your kitchen, living room, dressing table — even food trays for your next party, says Lilly. "Simply cut colorful wrapping paper to fit inside the frame, coordinating with the frame color, and set on tables for a quick and easy pop of color, pattern and style."

Instant cake stand

Instant cake stand

If you have glass plates lying around, along with candlesticks you no longer use, you can create a cute cake stand. Place a glass plate on top of a glass candlestick, adhere with some hot glue or museum putty and you're done. "You have an Instant cake stand, right from two items just sitting in your pantry," says Lilly.

Tell us

How do you repurpose and upcycle your stuff? Share in the comments below!

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