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Upcycled Chic and Modern Hacks

Thrifty ways for stylish homes

In an age when we can buy the same bookcase in Sweden, Singapore, and San Francisco, adding individuality to our surroundings is increasingly important. It creates a sense of place, a feel of home.

Upcycling sums up today’s approach to interiors. It means re-using or re-styling things in an innovative and contemporary way, transforming an older piece of furniture from junk to fabulous. The same idea can even be applied to mass-market modern furniture—through "hacking," you can give it a brand new use or an entirely different look. Both upcycling and hacking are about re-purposing, taking an inexpensive item and re-working it into something special and unique. It’s not just about making the most of your budget, although upcycling and hacks will save you money. It’s about having a home that reflects your style and individuality. Sometimes it’s just a question of looking at "that old thing" in a different way, such as hanging an empty picture frame on the wall, using a piece of outdoor furniture inside, adding different doors to chain-store fittings, or combining traditional and modern in quirky, individualistic ways.

Liz Bauwens is a freelance stylist who has worked for many publications, including House and Garden, Good Housekeeping, and Country Homes and Interiors. Liz has also opened her own store, Otto Trading, which is filled with a unique mix of new and vintage homeware, glassware, and furniture, as well as cards and one-off gifts.

Alexandra Campbell is an author whose work has appeared in many newspapers and magazines, including The Times Magazine, The Financial Times 'How To Spend It' magazine, and The Daily Telegraph. She is also the author of nine novels and now blogs at themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk, an award-winning gardening blog.