Ten Clever Furniture Designs from Recycled Materials

We all have seen quirky one-off sculptures made from recycled materials but it is a decent bet that most designers don’t think about the possibilities of creating lines of recycled furniture. With so many materials going to waste in droves it seems a shame not to think big about how to give these a new life. While many of these are still mostly conceptual a lot of them have potential beyond being whimsical one-time creations.

Aluminum shavings sound like something that might be easy to recycle but they aren’t. In fact they are normally dumped into landfills though one designer has decided to turn them into quite classy-looking nicely-colored counter-tops. Now you could pay more for a granite counter-top or have something that both looks equally interesting/variegated and makes a great conversation piece.

Newspapers can be a very tricky thing to reuse without recycling but one student designer has figured out away to work around their weaknesses and play on their strengths. The strength and the natural ‘give’ of the newspapers provides a solid-but-soft underlying structure to this otherwise sturdy chair.

Whether these recycled spoon creations are tacky or clever is up to you to decide. They certainly are more variegated and playful than some of the other simpler designs shown here. Judging from her dress and decor however they are a perfect fit to the designer’s own style.

Old tires are probably some of the most prevalent not-easily-recyclables on the planet. The above solution is really quite simple and small-scale enough that not a lot of reworking of the tires is necessary to create these comfortable little chairs.

One has to wonder if these old whiskey barrel parts used to create various pieces of furniture have a lingering odor (pleasant or otherwise) from their days of aging alcoholic beverages. Regardless, though, they do have a rough-and-ready character from their slightly uneven shapes that gives a natural variety to the resulting designs that somehow makes them feel more comfortable, aged and homey.

It sure takes a lot of drinking straws to make a single piece of furniture but if the material is difficult to do anything else with then why not, really? It’s hard to imagine this wouldn’t crush under pressure but perhaps the sheer number is enough to make it stable while the void spaces make it comfortable.

In clockwise order shown above are various more great examples of recycled urban furniture: a light made from broken light tubes, a lamp made from an old iron, a chair from a shopping cart and a table from bent bike tires. If you have any additional ideas for ordinary trash you could turn into interesting recycled furniture you can add them in the comments below.

23 thoughts on “Ten Clever Furniture Designs from Recycled Materials”

  1. I love eco-design, and would like to signalize to the readers of this blog another kind of ecological furniture made by the italian company SIKALINDI. They make furniture utilizing the wood of Pirckly Pear Cactus, that is a rapid growth plant and requires annually a brash just to control his own expansion.
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  2. Interesting post. Some of the designs are a bit over-reaching, but the one chair / bench made from the recycled tire could definitely work in a lot of different residential and commercial instances. The aluminum shaving countertops are also pretty practical, an do look nice.

  3. Well well well, these pieces don't look that bad at all, they do look like modern interesting furniture and yes, I would go for few pieces like this in my house, they look aesthetic and cheerful.

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