Salvage, revive and reuse common household items
The complete guide to designing a new space using quality antiques and salvage finds.
Often the hardest part about designing is the finding. Scouting out the perfect piece of wood for your kitchen table or art for your wall may seem nearly impossible. In Styling with Salvage: Designing and Decorating with Reclaimed Materials, Joanne Palmisano provides tips to make the scouting process quick and enjoyable. Finding the items you need to bring your home together has never been easier. “To change the look of your own spaces, the first step is to see what you have that you can style differently,” writes Palmisano.
HUNTING DOWN SALVAGE STYLE
One of the best ways to try salvaging for the first time is to use what you already have. Take vintage clothing from your closet or trinkets from your dusty basement and incorporate them into your home. Palmisano says, “Lace can be transformed into shower curtains, sweaters can be turned into pillows, old wood paneling can become a vintage-inspired sign, or an old desk can evolve into a bathroom vanity.” If you’re looking for materials outside your own home, check out local rummage sales, metal scrapyards and even online. Palmisano writes, “When hunting for pieces and materials, the most obvious stops are antique shops, salvage yards, rebuild centers, recycle centers, nonprofit secondhand shops, garage sales, and antique and vintage fairs.” Go on a weekend adventure and visit a variety of places, because you never know where you might find a hidden gem.
TIPS & TRICKS
When it comes time to head out on your salvage search, make sure to keep an open mind. “Check out items that you don’t have a specific purpose for, and then ask yourself a simple question: ‘What are three things I could do with that?’” Palmisano writes. Defining multiple uses for an item allows you to create clear visions for your space. Another great tip for staying on track while shopping is to make a list. “Having a list helps, especially with the measurements,” Palmisano writes. “What do you want in your living room, bathroom or bedroom?” While a list and vision help the process move quickly, be prepared to adapt along the way. “Designing is a fluid process, especially when it comes to using reclaimed pieces,” Palmisano says. Nothing will ever be perfect, so try to approach this process with arms wide open.
With these tips and tricks on hand, you’ll feel like a pro on your next salvage hunt.
SIMPLICITY IS KEY
Giving your space a makeover doesn’t necessarily mean a complete renovation. Just keep things simple, and work with your space instead of against it. “Sometimes you just want to change things up, but you don’t want to make the changes permanent or spend a fortune,” Palmisano says. You can design a new space without completely gutting a room.
Another way to go about changing a space is to add one large statement piece or multiple small pieces. Whether it’s big or small, an antique or refurbished element elevates an area into the unique
space you were looking for. “When designing and decorating a room, I make sure I know in advance if I want to create a space around a large focal point piece,” Palmisano writes. While you typically work around big pieces, small pieces bring the room together to create a meaningful impression. “When you’re looking around and you see a bunch of small stuff, think about what big impact they might make if you put them all together,” Palmisano says. Whether your space needs a show-stopping centerpiece or something more subtle, there’s always a way to make a salvaged piece shine.
Fine Architecture.[OPPOSITE] A Midcentury Modern home with a clean-cut kitchen shows off an antique see-through corner cabinet. This kitchen kept its architectural structure and design by displaying a classic black-and-white color scheme. The white subway tiles and repurposed workshop table provide a distinctcontrast in the kitchen.Novel Nook.[RIGHT]Vintage collectibles complete this antiques-filled kitchen. An old store sign and porch brackets offer rustic bowling pins thespotlight. These antiques, however, do not take away from the simplicity and brightnessof this kitchen nook.
Styling with Salvage: Designing and Decorating with Reclaimed Materials byJoanne Palmisano, photography by Susan Teare, published by The Countryman Press, © 2018; countrymanpress.com.