Repurposing with salvaged materials is a great way to save money while adding character a living space may lack.Recycling and re-purposing with salvaged materials has become de rigueur for many interior designers and decorators. Now, DIYers are joining in to take advantage of more widely available trash-to-treasure opportunities in home rehabbing and decorating. It’s not only chic to re-purpose with salvaged materials, doing so can save home owners hundreds–even thousand–of dollars in materials costs.


Consider reuse of building materials in your new design and construction. The BMRA promotes deconstruction and materials resue, has launched a standardized deconstruction training certification curriculum for community colleges, provides local resources for homeowners who want to re-purpose building materials and finishes, and promotes DC Metro contractors who re-purpose. Not only is re-purposing popular among designers and DC Metro homeowners, it has gained favor in the construction industry. Developers are learning that they can create on-trend products that cost less to construct. There are many resources for re-purposed materials and finishes in Washington DC and Northern Virginia. See some of our suggestions below. You may have to spend some time finding exactly what you’re looking for. It will help to have your specifications jotted down in a little notebook you can carry with you (in case you stumble across a “find” when you’re not actively looking). Include measurements, a color palette, and notes or photos of the existing space and furnishings/finishes.

Just as houses constructed before 1978 in the DC Metro Area may contain lead-based paint, components manufactured prior to 1978 may also contain lead paint. Doors, window frames, flooring and other painted wood should be evaluated for possible presence of lead based paint. In 1978 that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned lead in paints. There are special techniques involved in removing lead based paint and working with items containing lead based paint. Review our lead based paint page for more information on lead paint remediation.
Shop for salvaged items in Washington DC just as you would anything else; look for bargains, consider condition, negotiate when possible and factor in delivery or shipping costs. One of the best deals on re-purposed building materials can be wood flooring. From heart-of-pine to the exotics, the determined shopper can find deals on vintage or antique floor boards made of high quality woods that are very expensive purchased new. Community Forklift touts their stock of fabulous old doors, another item that can net big savings when compared to new doors made of solid wood. Community Forklift sells doors as cheaply as $10 to $15. You may have to remove layers of paint, but what beauties you can uncover! Adorn your door with a vintage or antique knob from the Brass Knob or a “new vintage” glass model from Anthropologie, and you’ve got a fabulous statement piece! The same goes for vintage and antique light fixtures, so popular paired with industrial, farmhouse chic and mid-century modern decorating styles. If the fixtures haven’t been recently rewired, visit a Washington DC area lighting supply store and see how easy and cost-effective rewiring can be. Factor in delivery or van rental costs if you don’t have a vehicle large enough to take your item home. If well incorporated, salvaged and re-purposed elements add panache and “green” selling points to Washington DC home values. Artfully and tastefully applied, they can boost a home’s individuality in a way that is appealing to many home buyers. While you may not realize a specific dollar amount for individual items, thoughtful salvaged additions can certainly add to overall appeal and marketability, helping your Washington DC home stand out, sell quickly and for greater profit.