5 Best Design Secrets, Repurpose, Re-use, Recycle!

Don’t we all love beautiful things, especially a beautiful home?!

We watch all the television home design shows and scour through House Beautiful magazine to admire so many trending wonderfully designed spaces and think, oh how I could see that chair or piece of art in my living room. Well, friends, I will make you a promise, you can have a well-appointed, functional, and inspirational space all of your own, here are a few design secrets incorporating repurpose, reuse & recycle ideas!

1) You must be willing to do the time, yes time, dedicated to first finding your treasure (with any luck, it’s right under your nose, perhaps a forgotten piece in the attic, basement, garage or storage unit)

2) Start simple, just by changing the finish from a painted surface to a dark stain or a painted or metallic finish can drastically transform an old drab piece into a really cool show stopper.

3) Think creatively, there are a plethora of options to customize every piece of furniture, accessory, picture frame, such as, paint, stain, rub on metallic creams, lacquer, gold leaf etc…

4) Reupholstering a 90″ sofa for you beginner project may not be advisable, start with a garage sale $1. frame and start from there.

5) Even what we all would agree to be the ugliest piece we’ve ever laid our eyes on can become something of timeless beauty almost always for a fraction of the cost of retail prices.

Here are a few photos of a ideas and projects I have recently completed for some of my design clients.

Resurfacing this old ugly deck with a very durable resurfacing product can and will prolong and update your deck!


Deck Resurfacing by Dawn D Totty Designs

A sandy Beach. Design by Dawn D Totty Designs.

Deck refinished to mimic a bright sandy beach, custom DDT curtain panels turn this car port into a now functional cabana. A few pops of aqua and you have your own private resort.

The Before restoration by Dawn D Totty Designs

This sweet little bayside rancher in MD. has been restored to this fresh clean humble abode. The new home owners couldn’t be more pleased. Paint, new door, overhang removal, updated entry & landscaping is all it took!

The Before, re-used vanity by Dawn D Totty Designs

The After, fresh new face includes- freshly painted vanity, custom wall mirror, hardware, glass shelving, refinished light fixture and grout.

By restoring the vanity as opposed to disposing and replacing, the cost was minimal (1quart of paint with primer-$20 & hardware) a large custom mirror replaced the small oval mirror that was framed and placed in a hallway and the wooden shelf was reused in the garage as additional storage. The tile was refreshed by scraping and cleaning the old grout. Total bathroom makeover $295.

I Love this refinished original Sputnik light fixture by Dawn D Totty Designs

Re-purposed vintage chest by Dawn D Totty designs

Refinished vintage bed frame by Dawn D Totty designs

Each one of these pieces was hand selected and refinished to compliment the rooms décor, by DDT Designs.

The Before. Refinished & re-design by Dawn D Totty Designs

Huntsville kitchen design by Dawn D Totty Designs.

Unfortunately I see good quality cabinetry removed and replaced to the tune of thousands of dollars. This DDT kitchen cabinetry was completely resurfaced including glass doors, shelves, LED’s & Staged for the very budget-friendly cost of $2,ooo and in 5 days! As you can see, these repurposed ideas really can save a substantial amount of cost.

Tip- If your cabinets just don’t appeal to you, try implementing them into your garage or backyard shed for extra storage. Also, Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army and many local charities will come and pick up most home items if you have no need for them.

The Before!

The After! Exterior & Interior Design by Dawn D Totty designs.

Every time I look at this before & after design I laugh. My poor husband is just simply driving about when I often spot unwanted treasures, in this case, an old fence already taken apart and leaning against an old barn. One minute there it is and the next a wonderful compliment to this homes design! Many are just thrilled to have you take there unwanted pieces off their hands.

So you see, it all comes down to two things, your willingness to think outside of the norm and to put a little effort into salvaging something that can and usually should be reused, repurposed or recycled! Please let me know what projects you have completed ( I would love to see your before & after pic’s) or perhaps one that you would like to do but lack the encouragement or know how, if I can I would love to help talk you through it!

My Best to You,


P.S. The pillows on the cover pic were once an apple green, a cool shade but not for this space, so we refinished them in a trending complimentary fabric. DDT Designed

Dawn D Totty Interior Designs is available for online, onsite, and global interior residential & commercial design. To schedule your custom design consultation contact Dawn at (615) 339-9919 or ddtotty@comcast.net.

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