What we want

Nowadays, thanks to globalisation, low-wage factories in far-away places can mass produce seemingly limitless numbers of cheap consumer goods, making it more possible than ever to fill our homes with new things at a relatively low cost.

Vintage and collectable kitchenware, retro jugs and plates.
Vintage and collectable kitchenware. Photo Amanda Reelick

So if we can choose to fill our homes with pretty much anything we like – what do we most want?

And if we have more homeware and decorating options available to us than ever before, is it worth asking the question as to why would we choose to fill our houses with the same mass produced, shop-bought items as everyone else.

Perhaps the best forms of interior decorating are more than simply mimicking a style or ripping out what was there before and replacing it with something new.

Upcycling, on the other hand, is the art of giving old products new value. It offers shopping lovers the thrill of the chase – rummaging through markets and hunting online or through second hand stores for that quirky collectable or unexpected discovery.

Upcycling and repurposing offers a way of escaping the cycle of buying cheaply made and mass-produced. It can help us to live by the principle of ‘buy once, buy well’. It can help us find cost-effective ways to furnish our homes, and with the money saved, over time we can add to our upcycled pieces with other quality items.

Wooden chair from Upcycling with Style. Photo Amanda Reelick
Upcycling with Style. Photo Amanda Reelick

Upcycling involves learning to recognise quality materials and the evidence of skilled workmanship. It requires the use of our imagination and can involve learning new skills in the process of fixing things up and personalising objects to our own liking. The upcycling and repurposing approach allows us to give expression to our creativity and delivers more satisfaction than simply buying something can ever generate.

Best of all it’s about creating domestic spaces that feel good to be in, that convey a sense of belonging for the people who live there.

It’s about having the confidence to surround ourselves with things that express our personal style, that have meaning for us or that tell a story. And it is the addition of these subtle and genuine touches that help make a house a home.

Photography Sarah Heeringa

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