Home & Garden

Making the old stuff new again

Antique doorknobs can be repurposed in a bathroom to create useful, vintage towel hooks.
Antique doorknobs can be repurposed in a bathroom to create useful, vintage towel hooks. Photo provided

There are many do-it-yourself projects and repurposing options when it comes to antiques, but right off the bat, I want to warn you: know the value of your keepsakes, heirlooms and treasures before your start repurposing anything. Get a quick and easy online appraisal from me at www.drloriv.com so you know if your piece is too valuable to repurpose.

Once you know the true value of your antique and you are comfortable with your plan to repurpose it, consider these tips to make something old feel and look new again.

▪ Repurpose something that is a multiple for greater impact. If you have many dissimilar items, you can always make them seem like a group by uniting them with a uniform paint or stain color. You can also unite related objects by putting them together in a repurposing project. For instance, if you have a bunch of old doorknobs or door handles, repurpose this group of similar objects. Take the group of mix-matched glass, porcelain or metal doorknobs and install them in your guest bathroom to create useful, vintage towel hooks. Arrange the group of doorknobs on a wall near the tub or shower as handy hooks.

▪ Go all the way. Don’t be afraid to really change an antique. For instance, if you love your grandmother’s high chair but you would really like to put it to good use in your home instead of just having it sit in a corner as a display piece, remove the arms and tray and repurpose the high chair as a child’s chair. It will look cute in a child’s playroom, a grandparent’s den or a dining room. Be sure you know what you are doing when repairing and refinishing wood pieces and search online for helpful hints.

▪ Re-think the scraps. Do you have a cedar chest filled with old textile pieces like parts of crocheted afghans? Needlepoint pictures that will never see the light of day? Quilted squares that were never made into a full quilt? If you know that you will never complete these projects, don’t despair. Frame them up and enjoy a great graphic picture of your crochet, quilt square of needlepoint picture. Remember to use acid free materials whenever you frame textiles or any antique piece. Install the framed textiles on an interior wall away from direct sunlight to prevent the item from fading and sun damage.

Repurposing is a fun way to integrate antique pieces into a contemporary home and to enjoy the process of sprucing up something old.

Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author and award-winning TV personality Lori Verderame presents antique appraisal events nationwide. Dr. Lori is the expert appraiser on the international hit TV shows, “The Curse of Oak Island” on History channel and “Auction Kings” on the Discovery channel. Visit www.DrLoriV.com or call 888-431-1010.