With a history dating back over 400 years, New England has no shortage of old things, including many old buildings full of beautiful, high quality architectural items such as wide-plank flooring, wonderfully distressed barn siding, massive beams and other elements that can be put to good use in new, renovated, and restored homes.
One element in particular often gets overlooked when people salvage materials from old buildings – windows. This is a shame because windows are highly useful, versatile features that can be repurposed for almost unlimited new uses.
Here are just a few basic window-repurposing ideas that can be simple and easy DIY projects for homeowners of all skill level:
Furniture and cabinetry Old windows can be turned into conversation-piece coffee tables, glass-front hutches and cabinets, even antique bedroom headboards. In the bathroom, replace that run-of-the-mill medicine cabinet door with a unique antique window in which you can swap out the standard panes for mirrored glass. Incorporate old windows into a kitchen island to create a glass-front storage area
Architectural accents In an open floor plan home, use multiple old windows fastened together to create flexible see-thru room dividers that can be moved around to change room dimensions as needed. Use old windows to create openings in interior walls that let light into rooms and gives them a more open, airier feel.
Room décor Old windows make great backdrops and accent frames for artwork and other displays. Add a narrow shelf to the bottom of the window to hold small vases, candlesticks, and other accent items. Mask off the window frame to spray chalkboard paint on the glass and create a functional chalkboard for family messages. Or replace the glass altogether with a corkboard for a fun and attractive bulletin board, or with stained glass to make a colorful artistic statement.
Outdoor features Old windows make great greenhouses of all sizes – screw single windows together to create a mini greenhouse for a patio, deck, or to attach to an exterior wall. Fasten multiple windows together to make a stand-alone walk-in greenhouse. Antique windows can be wonderful accent elements in wooden fencing and garden walls and as porch and deck dividers.
As you can see, old and antique windows are well-suited for repurposing as creative elements for a wide range of DIY projects around the home. So if you have some gathering dust in your garage or basement – or spot some at a tag sale or antiques market – grab them and put them to good use. The only limit is your imagination.