9 Brilliant Ways to Upcycle Material Samples From Your Renovation Projects

You’ve finally decided which materials you want for your renovation project, but you’re left with a pile of samples. Don’t throw them out! Upcycle these materials instead.

By Kat Hodgins | Published Jul 28, 2022 7:10 PM

upcycling material samples

Photo: istockphoto.com

Whether you’re redoing your floors, installing new counters, or reupholstering the couch, it’s likely you’ve amassed a selection of different samples as you decide which material to choose for your project. For renovation overhauls, you may be left with a mix of different materials including tiles, countertop squares, carpets, floorboards, decking, and more.

So what do you do with your hodgepodge collection of samples that are different sizes, colors, and textures? A seasoned DIYer always finds a way to use scrap materials creatively. Here are nine ways to upcycle these samples into something you can use around your home.

RELATED: 16 Insanely Clever Ways to Reuse Household Junk

1. Floating Shelf

upcycling ideas

Photo: trex.com

Samples for decks or cabinet finishes can be turned into short floating shelves sized perfectly for bathrooms, entryways, and other areas of the home. The best part is, these planks are already finished, and merely need to be attached to the wall to create a shelf for photos, plants, and more.

There are a few different ways to attach a floating shelf to a wall, from invisible brackets to leather wall hanging straps. Use an attachment method that works with your aesthetic, and make sure the shelf is secure before putting items on top of it.

2. Coasters

upcycling ideas

Photo: etsy.com

The tiles you didn’t select for your floors or backsplash can still come in handy. It’s simple enough to transform these tiles into neat little coasters for your indoor and outdoor tables.

Depending on the size of the tiles, they may not need to be cut at all. Hexagon-shaped tiles are quite trendy right now, and some are sized perfectly for coasters. Otherwise, if you’re handy with a tile cutter, you can turn square tiles into the right shape and size for your needs—but remember to smooth the tile edges with a rubbing stone. Next, attach a thin layer of cork with some glue, and your coasters are ready to use.

3. Decorative Wreath

upcycling ideas

Photo: istockphoto.com

You’ve amassed a collection of paint chips, likely similar or complementary colors. Sure, you could recycle them—or you could get a little crafty by making a wreath, just like this one by SimpleJoys.

Fold the paint chips down the middle lengthwise, and cut out large leaf shapes. Arrange the paint chip leaves in a circle to get an idea of how you want them to look, whether in an ombré design or a mix-and-match palette. When you’re ready, attach the leaves to a wreath form with some glue, and you’ll have a fun, inexpensive door wreath.

4. Mounted Bottle Opener

upcycling ideas

Photo: trex.com

It’s time to stop misplacing your bottle opener. If you like a cold drink at the end of a long day, why not turn a flooring or decking sample into a decorative bottle opener? Wood flooring samples are usually just the right size for this simple project. Attach a bottle opener, like this one available at Amazon to the short wood plank, and mount it in your game room, kitchen, workshop, or elsewhere.

RELATED: 10 Smart Ways to Upcycle Old Tablecloths

5. Hopscotch Mat

upcycling ideas

Photo: istockphoto.com

Aside from turning carpet samples into a doormat, what else can you do with them? One idea is to turn them into an indoor play surface for kids. Cut your samples into nine or more squares, and sew or superglue them together in a hopscotch formation. Gluing may have longer-lasing results if you attach the pieces to a large sheet of canvas – like an old painting drop cloth.

These play mats turn out especially well if the carpet samples are different colors, adding to the playfulness of the game. You can also use carpet dye or fabric paint to add numbers and designs to the hopscotch mat.

6. House Address Plaque

upcycling ideas

Photo: trex.com

Whether you have some gorgeous floorboards, or outdoor tiles, you can turn them into fresh and trendy address signs. This adds a bit more flourish to your address numbers, rather than attaching them directly to your home.

Depending on the style you’re after, you can purchase attachable address numbers, like these available at The Home Depot for wood boards, or you can paint your address freehand or with stencils on other types of materials, like tile. In the end you’ll have a bespoke address sign unlike others in your neighborhood.

7. Compress Pillow

upcycling ideas

Photo: istockphoto.com

Renovations are a lot of work and can leave you feeling sore at the end of the day. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can transform your upholstery samples into small hot and cold compress pillows to help alleviate those aches and pains.

Use reinforced stitching to sew three edges of the fabric, forming a small bag, then fill it with uncooked rice and dried aromatic herbs, like lavender. Sew the last side together, and you have a compress that can go in the freezer or microwave.

8. Small Wall Planters

upcycling ideas

Photo: trex.com

Plank samples for cabinets, flooring, or decking can become a cute wall hanging for small planters. Screw hose clamps into the wood sample, and attach mason jars (or other upcycled containers, like pasta sauce jars) to the hose clamps. Fill them up with some small plants or herbs and hang this planter somewhere that gets enough light. As these don’t have drainage holes, you’ll have to be careful not to overwater!

Not a plant person? No problem. Use these containers for organizing toiletries, pens, and more.

RELATED: 12 Ingenious Ways to Upcycle Old Pillowcases

9. Decorative Vase

upcycling ideas

Photo: etsy.com

Save sheet tile leftovers from ending up in the trash bin, and make yourself an elegant vase instead. You can pick up a cheap vase secondhand or from the dollar store and give it a makeover with sheet tile. Wrap the tile around the vase, add grout, and presto! All it needs are some flowers, and you have an aesthetically pleasing vase for a table or countertop.