How To

Reduce, Reuse, Redecorate!

Redecorating brings a new, fresh, and exciting look to your home. Choosing colors and picking out furniture and flooring is so appealing! With so many choices of design, color, and feel, how do you go about choosing the decor which creates the presence that is right for your home?


Micah Salmon, Manager of Material Resources. Photos by Bryan Butterfield,


Creative Sustainability

Redecorating brings a new, fresh, and exciting look to your home. Choosing colors and picking out furniture and flooring is so appealing! With so many choices of design, color, and feel, how do you go about choosing the decor which creates the presence that is right for your home?

One way to install a unique and characteristic feel to your renovations is by reusing or repurposing used materials. Reusing weathered, rusted, or refurbished wood, metal, or brick can create a fabulous and environmentally friendly finish to your new home or remodel.

Sustainability can come in more than one form and process. Walking down the street, you may have already passed more than a half dozen sustainable building products and materials.

But where can one find sustainable building materials in Utah? Use the following three ecological tips to substantially color your next project green!

Tip #1 Look for old buildings not in use and ask the owner for materials

When older buildings and structures are no longer in use, they become a perfect reclaimed source. An old water tower, unused barn, or old railroad ties can be the optimal starting point for an eco-friendly home.

“I’m using an old water tower made of redwood for a home I’m building right now,” says Paul Gallien of Gallien Engineering. “The city isn’t using the water tower, and I was able to get the seasoned redwood for my client’s new home.”

Reclaimed lumber must be cleaned, tested, and certified before use to ensure its viability. Lumber, which has been previously used, brings immense character to a home. I have seen old railroad lumber used on a porch, which brought a richness and personality that could not have been achieved by new wood.

Tip #2 Find companies who supply reusable building materials or architectural salvage supply companies

Architectural salvage stores and material suppliers collect and resell many different types of materials to repurpose for your next remodel. A few items they typically sell are oak barrels, re-purposed billboard signs, and reclaimed brick pavers. Use oak and whiskey barrels to give personality to your backyard patio area or garden. These types of barrels can also be re-purposed into rustic wall art. Billboards can be re-purposed into giant water slides! The goal of Materials Resources in Salt Lake City is to keep building materials out of the landfill and in good use!

Some re-purpose stores specialize in antique salvage. Antique architectural warehouses have all sorts of items, such as antique doorknobs, fireplace mantles, and old stained glass. There is no limit to the amount of re-purposing you can use with architectural salvage.

Another store downtown that sells reusable wood is All About Pallets. Their sign in the window reads, “Custom rustic furniture and decor.” Their mission is to take pallets, which are used only a few times for moving products, and re-purpose them into beautiful artwork for your home. You can find All About Pallets at many local arts festivals, showing off their re-purposed artwork and home decor at one of their many booths.

Tip #3 Reuse furniture or materials from a thrift or consignment store

Another high re-purpose building supply source is thrift and consignment stores. Park City Recycling has high-quality doors, sinks, and cabinetry available at amazing prices. Builders who have overstocks or the wrong product for the custom build home they are working on will commonly leave unused materials at the recycling center. These types of donations are a double win for the environment—the contents are not thrown in a landfill, and the recycling center received a donation for the materials to support recycling!

Habitat for Humanity has excellent values as well. From artwork to furniture to recycled materials (including paint, paint supplies, and wood), you can roam the store to find almost any material you are looking for!

Go Green When Redecorating!

Re-purposed items and second-hand discoveries employ a minimal amount of energy in comparison to a new counterpart. Besides, using refurbished gives a unique and notable personality to a home. Some of these finds come with a fantastic background that makes for great conversation at a dinner party.

While you may not be able to achieve an ultimately “green” home, by using these three steps, you can leave a smaller imprint on the world.


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