Moving into a new build comes with many exciting decisions, from figuring out what to do with your new space to designing it in a way that resonates with your lifestyle. For those of us with a mind for sustainability, upcycling has become a popular approach to interior design that gets the most out of old materials and products in an eco-friendly way. By repurposing old furnishings, upcycling gives you a chance to create a truly unique space in a way that reduces waste and is kinder to the environment. So in this article, we’re going to learn a few upcycling tips and tricks for your new build property.

Planning Your Space

Begin your upcycling journey by creating a clear vision of your home’s aesthetic, keeping flexibility in mind. Upcycled pieces often come with their character and may dictate the style of a room. For example, an antique, repurposed door could inspire a rustic or vintage theme for the hallway. Consider how each upcycled piece might fit into various spaces within your home, allowing the pieces themselves to guide your design choices.

Functionality Meets Creativity

When selecting items to upcycle, consider both their aesthetic appeal and practical utility. An old wooden crate, for instance, can be transformed into a stylish storage unit, bookshelf, or coffee table. Think creatively about how each item can serve a function in your new home, ensuring that your upcycled pieces are both beautiful and useful.

Sourcing Upcycled Materials

Charity shops, architectural salvage yards and antique shops are treasure troves for upcyclers, so keep an eye out for prime picks here. Look for items that can be easily refurbished or repurposed to make your job a little easier. Old dressers can be painted and updated with new hardware, while vintage lamps can be given new life with contemporary shades or LED bulbs.

Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces and social media selling platforms are also excellent resources for finding upcycled goods or materials. These platforms often feature items being sold or given away for free, which can be transformed into stunning pieces for your home. So if you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to decorate your new build, upcycling can be really useful.

Upcycling Projects for Every Room

It often helps to break down your upcycling project so that you’re focusing on each individual room. Try to keep some connection between the rooms to create unity in your design, but don’t be afraid to make each room stand out on its own. Below are a few upcycling tips for each room in your new build:

Kitchen and Dining

Create a unique kitchen island from an old dresser or buffet table, adding a butcher block or stone top for a durable work surface. Convert mismatched chairs into a cohesive dining set by painting them the same colour or reupholstering them with matching fabric.

Living Room

Transform wooden pallets into a chic coffee table or shelving unit. Repurpose old watering cans as plant pots for your favourite indoor houseplants. An outdated entertainment centre can be modified into a functional and stylish bar cabinet.


Headboards can be made from virtually anything - old doors, window frames, or even painted murals on reclaimed wood. You could even consider using vintage suitcases stacked to create a nightstand with storage.


Refurbish a vintage cabinet or dresser into a vanity with a vessel sink for a unique bathroom centrepiece. Old plumbing pipes can be upcycled into industrial-style towel racks or toilet paper holders for a classy, vintage look.

Design Unique Spaces in Your New Build by Upcycling

Upcycling in interior design is not just about saving money or being environmentally conscious; it's about injecting personality and history into your new build. Each upcycled piece tells a story, adding depth and texture to your home’s interior. By thoughtfully integrating upcycled elements, your new home will reflect a commitment to sustainability while showcasing your unique style and creativity.

If you’re looking for your first or next home to design in a way that suits your lifestyle, then take a look at the latest developments from Sanctuary today. Or, if you have any questions, please contact us for more information.