DIY Repurposing

Hardware Store Decor: 9 Ways to Repurpose Tools

Tools were made to be used, even long after their heyday of tough DIY assignments has passed. Whether you've shelved your older tools for newer models or you've inherited an extra set, you can still enjoy the spares—and we don't mean just in the garage. Move your old tools out of the shed for one last job: living on, repurposed, as decor throughout the home.

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Mount Your Toolbox

For extra storage space, pass on the standard floating shelf and mount your old toolbox instead. Don’t know a thing about the aesthetics of arranging a shelf? No worries. Most toolboxes have ready-made compartments that will do the job for you. 

Build Some Seats

Resurrect old, unused rakes and shovels from the cobwebs in the corner of your garage—they deserve a second chance too. David at Montana Wildlife Gardener transformed his spare garden tools into a set of of two industrial chairs and a table.

Grinding Your Gears

While not technically tools, gears work hard in a variety of simple machines and deserve their moment to shine too. Donna at Funky Junk Interiors took hers into her office, sitting them next to repurposed pots to hold writing utensils. Together, they give the desk a simple, rustic vibe.

Garden Tool Gate

A backyard gate constructed from garden tools (like the one shown at right, built by David at Montana Wildlife Gardener) can creatively showcase both your green thumb and passion for the outdoors. Plus, as evident in these before-and-after shots, switching from a solid door to a more open gate allows the beauty of the backyard landscaping to peek through.

Flower Power

Finally, a flower that lasts through the frost! Gather up any scrap metal you can find to create a weather-resistant, one-of-a-kind garden rose. Don from Don’s Daylily Divider made these whimsical blossoms by welding together corn planter plates, wind turbine ball bearings, flat washers, screen door parts, and more.

On Display

Eclectic without being messy, a well-staged collection of similar items brings subtle pattern to even the blandest room. Display tall and narrow tools, such as screwdrivers, wrenches, and hammers, standing upright in a drilled wooden slat, as in this arrangement captured by photographer Kate Ryan.

Tooled Table

Mount a spare tool chest on legs and move it to the corner of a room for a table with hidden storage and a story to tell. It comes equipped with the trendy industrial look that you might pay extra for at luxury furniture shops. 

Bent Wrench Hooks

Bring in a bit of industrial flair with a unique hook that you can score for relatively cheap, or even free—just check the bottom of the toolbox for spares. Bend one end of the wrench into a J shape to hang coats, hats, scarves, or a tool belt.

Vise Bookends

Sure, a vise is great for holding things steady in the basement or garage, but it can do the same around the house too! Turn old vises into distinctive bookends to keep a small collection of hardcovers or folders together. You can be sure they won’t get separated unless you release the grip.