I recently moved away from the progressive playground of Portland, Oregon, which among other things, is a city at the center of the “creative repurposing” trend. Strolling through any of the many quaint neighborhoods, you’re certain to discover some sort of clever, maybe-crazy application of “old junk” into “new awesomeness”. A bicycle to trellis flowering vines? Old tires to serve as vegetable planters? An entire fence made from salvaged doors (what's up, Portland garage door contractors...save me some scraps, eh?), or a greenhouse constructed patchwork-style out of antique windows? Yes, yes, and oh, yes. It’s all pretty amazing, not to mention beautiful. But most importantly: it’s very eco-friendly.
If you’re into creative repurposing, and you enjoy the nature-inspired décor that seems to be all the rage these days, check the following list for a few ideas on how you might re-use discarded tree branches, twigs, and sticks. They’re pretty, they’re practical, and of course, they’re oh-so-Portland.
1. Use branches to create garden edging. You can simply lay them down single file along borders, to create a representative break. Or, if you have a lot of them, you can actually stack them to create a functional barrier. Either way, it will lend your yard a charming, rustic vibe.
2. For another take on a rustic-inspired yard, you can use branches to build a short fence. There are many ways you can go about doing this – using nails or screws to attach them to a frame, using twine to tie the branches together, or by sinking them into the ground. Whichever way you choose, this result will be a fantastic decorative fence, just perfect for a quaint, welcoming front yard.
3. Branches make perfect hooks for hanging things, if you use a section that forks. Try two of these side by side, attached to your house or fence, for curling up your garden hose in an aesthetically pleasing way.
4. You can move inside with the hook idea as well. Natural wood is showing up everywhere in the design world, from tree stump stools to cross section coasters. So try a few branch hooks (again, using a length of branch that has a natural fork) in the kitchen (think oven mitts or large utensils), bathroom (think towels or even toilet paper!), or elsewhere (like hanging jewelry in the bedroom, or coat hooks in the entryway).
5. You can use larger branches to build a beautiful, nature-inspired decorative head board for your bed. Just use a piece of plywood as a the backing, then screw or glue the branches either vertically, horizontally, or if you feel up to it, in a random patchwork pattern for a more artistic take.
6. So obvious I almost consider it cheating to include this, but here goes: use a relatively straight tree branch as a stand-in for a curtain rod.
7. You can make a lovely display by gluing smaller branches or twigs around the outside of a vessel. Use a coffee can or soup can and you’ve got a pretty vase to use as a holiday centerpiece. Use a glass mason jar and you’ve got yourself a lovely candle holder, perfect for little tea lights. These would look great along a mantle or appetizer table.
8. And speaking of the holidays, why not take a few long, thin branches and arrange them artfully in a large vase. Then, you can hang a select few carefully placed ornaments, for an all natural, minimalist-modern holiday feel.
What’s your favorite way to bring a bit of nature into your home? Please share in the comments below!