Green design: Another way to recycle

Green design came to prominence in 1987 with the creation of the O2 group, an international association that started to address the problem of pollution caused by design. From this moment, other streams of thought began to emerge such as ecological urbanism, green fashion and environmental construction. Currently, such trends are also reflected in individual projects that are simple and cheap but extremely creative.


When it comes to the decoration of bedrooms, the central feature is always the bed. Cutting edge designers have come up with new twists to bring fun and environmental design to headboards. Such unusual creations involve old doors, window frames, shutters and rubber. These objects and materials are decorated and painted in clear colours to help give the room a relaxed vibe. Those with carpentry skills can also transform the headboards into additional storage spaces.

Related: 10 Incredible examples of green architecture


Tables can give a room a lot of identity depending on the materials and colours used. A wooden fruit box, an old office filing cabinet or an antique suitcase are some of the more daring objects that can be put to use as tables. There is also the option of building a small table using wood or plastic pallets used in factories.

Related: Reduce, reuse, redesign: Home decor gone green


It is not necessary to spend money on storage equipment when you can get all creative and use things that normally end up in the bin. For example, wine bottles, jam jars and tin cans can all be used to store small items such as pens or cotton buds. They can be stuck to the wall in your kitchen, bathroom, garage or utility room. Other objects that can be given a new lease of life include corks, broken cups and food graters. All you have to do is clean them and then cover them with some acrylic paint.

Related: 12 Green businesses you have to invest in

Desks and drawers

The more adventurous of you will be able to create desks and drawers out of objects such as coloured plastic crates. You could also reuse parts of other tables to build shelves. Some of the strangest objects to be used by designers to build desks and drawers include recycled books, bags and even the wing of an aeroplane.

Related: 10 Brilliant green inventions


Pallets again show their versatility when they are used as wall-mounted shelves. The strength of the wood can mean heavy objects such as bikes can even be hung from them. They can also be used as book shelves, storage units in the kitchen and areas to places photographs or artwork. By recycling wooden pallets you will also be giving the room a rustic quality.

Related: 10 Ways to go green and save your business


Chairs are one of the favoured pieces of furniture by designers looking to use recycled materials. Spanish designer Montaya Hoyos used recycled aluminium to make a lounge chair, while British designer Richard Liddle used unrecyclable plastics to form his striking “RD4” chair. The Uhuru Company designed a bench using leftover pieces of wood held together by a bicycle tyre. One of the most innovative designs is the "Inuku" armchair, made from plastic bags which take about 150 years to biodegrade. For American designer Emily Pilloton nature proved to be a great inspiration as she created a chair based on a bird’s nest. She used discarded fabric and bamboo frame to make the construction.

Related: 10 Guilt-free, easy tips for the lazy environmentalist

Vases and plant pots

A lot of the time, our gardens become dumping grounds for things such as spare tyres, bricks and pieces of wood. Instead of throwing these objects away they can be converted into plant pots. In the same way, glass and plastic bottles can be transformed into vases.

Related: Simple ways to reduce your environmental footprint


Books, coffee filters, plastic cups and globes are just some of the objects that can be transformed into beautiful lamps. Paris based designer Gilles Eichenbaum transforms electrical appliances and kitchen accessories into hand-made lamps. While artists Skript and Zek have come up with a great use for the millions of aerosol cans that are discarded every year, namely transforming them into lamps by cutting off the bottom and placing the electrical wiring inside.

Related: The right lightbulb for you and your conscience

Uses for clothes pegs

Clothes pegs already have a simple and straight-forward use, namely to hang clothes to washing lines. However, this little object can also be used to make plant pots, lamp shades and coat racks. You can also create beautiful displays for your photographs or your children’s drawings by using pegs with a piece of string. Dutch art collective “We Make Carpets” have even created enormous conceptual works of art with pegs.

Related: 10 Things you didn't know you could recycle

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author