This recycling-meets-DIY concept has a specific name to boot: “upcycling.” In a 2010 New York Times article, Beth Gardner points out that upcycling is different from recycling, in that upcycling turns waste into “products of greater value,” while recycling breaks down products through degradation before they are repurposed.
If the idea of transforming dilapidated suitcases into a nightstand is a bit intimidating to you, then there is good news: upcycling is as complicated as you make it. It’s great for everyone from kids to college students to working professionals, because it requires people to adapt that which they already have.
There are lots of great ideas on the Internet, such as:
An old refrigerator re-imagined as an ice chest:
That mat from sushi-at-home experiment turned into a brush holder:
Bottles from last night’s wine can be inverted to create a hummingbird feeder:
If you’re interested in finding more ideas, try a quick Google or Pinterest search. Other places, such as Apartment Therapy, can be unexpected sources for ideas as well. Be sure to comment if you try something innovative or unexpected!