How to reuse leftover renovation or building materials

Rather than fill a dumpster with the extra tiles, flooring, off-cuts of wood, wallpaper and other items from your leftover home improvement materials or demolition pile, why not make something fabulous for your home?

Not only can you repurpose many of the things you’ve pulled apart — such as old kitchen cabinets or hardware — but you can also put extra bricks or drywall to great use. Here are some creative ways to give those odds and ends new life.


Reimagine extra ceramic wall tiles

 Craft a half-dozen fun drink coasters by gluing felt or cork onto any four-by-four-inch square or hexagon-shaped tiles — even if they don’t match. You can use whole or broken tiles in a mosaic tabletop project, or glue a magnet to a glossy white subway tile for an instant mini dry-erase board for your fridge. You can also frame a boring mirror with small glass tiles, or stack a few horizontal tiles to make a unique street number mounted beside your front door. And just one oversized slate tile makes the perfect party-ready cheese board.


Transform old kitchen cabinetry

If you’re gutting your kitchen, be sure to put that sledgehammer down and remove a couple of those cabinet doors carefully, because they can be upcycled in many different ways. You can make a handy serving tray by screwing in a handle on each end. Old cabinet knobs can be installed in a row on a long piece of barn wood to create more hanging space in a mudroom or entry hall. You can also
easily transform old kitchen drawers into wall-mounted open shelves.


Put extra vinyl plank flooring boards to use

 Reinvent a boring coffee table by topping it with vinyl floorboards, or use the boards to frame a large builder-grade mirror. You can also create a gorgeous backsplash with floorboards of different lengths — install them as is, or cut them up into subway-style ‘tiles’.


Upcycle doors into something special

 Look at your old door in a new way — sideways, for example! You can create a rustic headboard from a vintage door flipped on its side. Repaint or stain it, or give it a weathered look. You can also turn an old French door into a sweet photo gallery.


More ideas for odds and ends

If your contractor left a pile of extra bricks behind, repurpose them to build raised garden planters — bricks work great as planters because they drain well. You can also make a firepit or lay down a brick pathway in your garden. If your plumber had too much copper piping, keep it to make a modern side table.

Have some lumber lying around? Handy DIYers can build a treehouse for the kids. Or, use the wood to create a pair of cozy backyard chairs that slide together with no glue or nails. Mismatched wood will work to build a farmhouse-style shelf. Narrow pieces of wood can become garden trellis for climbing plants or vegetables. And you’ll also want to keep some of those scrap wood blocks so you can make different sized candle holders. Pro tip: Any untreated wood building materials can be used as firewood, too.

And don’t toss that half-bag of grout leftover from your bathroom remodel. Instead, use that unsanded grout to make your own chalk paint, which you can use in all kinds of DIY projects. Speaking of paint, if you have a bunch of cans with leftover paint, use it to freshen up flower pots or window boxes.

Want a pro pro tip? Keep all the offcuts of wood and plumbing materials you can, within reason. Then next time you need a small scrap for another project, or repair, you won’t kick yourself wondering why you didn’t save those random bits.