20+ Ways To Repurpose Old Windows (Upcycled Window Projects)
When the window installers removed my old dining room windows last Friday, I initially told them to go ahead and haul off the old windows. Then I had a change of heart. I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing those old windows be thrown into the landfill (which I’m certain is where they’d be headed if they hauled them off for me), so I got online and started looking at different ways to repurpose old windows. There are so many amazing ideas out there! These barely scratch the surface, but here are a few of my favorite ideas:
1. Make a headboard
DIY headboards don’t get much simpler than this, and you can hang as many windows as you want to really make a statement.
2. Turn a window into a corkboard
I really love this design using corks from wine bottles, but if you’re not a wine drinker/cork collector, you can use sheets of cork available at craft stores.
3. Use windows as a space divider
Hanging old windows is a great way to add definition to open spaces, and this idea can be used inside as well as outside.
4. Incorporate a window into a fence design
An old window adds interest to this garden fence, but I can also imagine small windows being incorporated into a standard privacy fence.
5. Use windows as doors on a cabinet
Adding old windows to a bookcase or DIY cabinet design turns it into a beautiful and unique curio cabinet.
6. Build a mini greenhouse
I love this design for a mini greenhouse to store outdoor plants for the winter.
7. Make a chalkboard calendar
Replace the glass with panels of MDF covered in chalkboard paint, and you have the perfect calendar or days of the week to-do list.
8. Create a family command center
If you need more organization than just a calendar, this command center is the perfect design. It includes a mail organizer, weekly menu, calendar, and an area for lists.
9. Create a mini garden house
I have no idea if this serves any purpose other than being decorative, but this mini garden house is one of my absolute favorite ideas. It’s the cutest thing, looks easy to build, and can be decorated for the seasons.
10. Use windows in a kitchen island design
This is another favorite idea of mine. Too bad I have no room for a kitchen island! The windows really make this island look special and custom.
11. Make stained glass artwork
Actual stained glass takes quite a bit of practice, and probably many years to master. But you can fake it with an old window, pieces of colored glass, and clear silicone caulk.
12. Turn a window into a coffee table
I’ve seen many different window coffee table designs, but Marty’s is not only one of my favorites, but I think hers was the first coffee table I had ever seen made out of a window. The top opens so that the decorative items inside can be changed out.
13. Make decorative window boxes
I love this idea for adding interest to storage buildings, fences, or other outdoor areas that need a little bit of dressing up.
14. Make a bathroom wall cabinet
This bathroom cabinet is so pretty, and perfectly shows off the items inside. But if you don’t have pretty items to fill your cabinet, you could always change out the glass for mirrors, and it would be practical not only as storage, but also as an extra mirror, which is always a bonus in a bathroom.
15. Use a window to frame a family portrait
I’ve seen all kinds of windows used as frames for artwork and pictures, but this design using one large photo to fill up the whole window (rather than individual photos for each pane of glass) is my favorite.
16. Turn a window into a shadow box
Shadow boxes are very simple to build, and this one takes it up a notch with the addition of lights inside.
17. Use as a backdrop for artwork
This is a brilliant idea for making your artwork appear larger than it is. If you have a piece of artwork that you really like, but it’s not quite large enough for the space you want to display it, layer it over a much larger window to make the whole thing more in scale with your wall or mantel.
18. Build a greenhouse out of old windows
This is my absolute favorite idea, and this is what I’m hoping to do with my old windows one day. I’ll have to wait until I have all of my windows replaced (five down, twelve to go!), and I’ll probably have to collect a few more before I can do this, but this is my goal. There are so many design ideas for old window greenhouses online, so I’m not quite sure just yet what I want mine to look like, but I have a while to plan it.
19. Turn an old window into a decorative wall mirror
This is a simple and elegant idea, and makes the perfect mirror for any entryway.
20. Turn a window into a fireplace screen
I never would have thought of this idea, but it’s brilliant! The only challenge might be finding the perfectly sized window, but if you can find one, it makes a beautiful fireplace screen.
21. Build a movable window wall
A temporary, movable window wall is great for providing definition between spaces, especially in a small home where you don’t necessarily want solid walls to block sight lines. The window wall defines spaces without closing off rooms from each other and making spaces feel smaller.
What ideas have you come across for old windows that I’ve missed? There are quite a few of these ideas that I’d love to try myself, but for now, my plan is to save mine up for a greenhouse. That’s the goal, at least. 🙂
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
I love the idea of repurposing old windows. Pinterest is full of great ideas.
I have an old square barn window that I use periodically as a backdrop to holiday decor, on my mantle. It’s fun and goes well with the rustic decor in our family room.
I just got a nine panel wood window and wanted to do the weekly calendar with it. Yes Pinterest is full of ideas so I might need to find a few more. My husband thinks I’m crazy. Cheers
My Father, who along with my Mother, are very serious gardners built a greenhouse out of windows. Its larger than the one shown and has a narrow paver walkway going down the middle of it so that he can garden both sides and still have easy access. This really extends their growing time in northern Ohio but they also are always doing projects because as my Mom says”If we sit around we’ll just get old.” They are both in their late 70’s with multiple health issues that they refuse to let slow them down.
#3 is my goal for next summer. I’d seen it previously on Pinterest, but having just moved in June, it was put on NEXT year’s to-do list. I think replacing a few of the panes with colored glass would be fun, too. We love our new house and our new neighborhood, but the houses are just a BIT closer than we’re used to and having that much of a break between our porches would be practical but still polite. And, well, you know, not the 12′ privacy fence that I personally voted for and my husband vetoed as “anti-social”.
I just bought an art window – an old window filled with clear glass shapes of all kinds that the artist attached with clear marine epoxy. It’s hanging in my picture window in my living room. What about using your windows for cabinet doors when you create your pantry? (Can’t remember if you’re still doing the pantry.)
I like two of these ideas very much, the backdrop one for artwork and the movable window wall!
Now a suggestion that popped into my head while hoping to actually see one here in your list is in the kitchen – hanging from the ceiling to hold pots and pans.
I can’t find one online but can you visualize it?
A window frame suspended from the ceiling from all four corners and maybe one in the middle for extra support if the pans and pots are heavy and the frame has hooks on them, like an S hook, and you hang the pots and pans on it?
That was a fun, imaginative romp! The fake stained glass on the porch was my most favorite one of all.
I have saved many old windows after they were replaced. I had ideas for using a lot of them until I realized they are all painted with lead paint… I cannot dispose of them in the regular garbage as they don’t want them either. I’m very disappointed.
Sanding even with a respirator on could be an unhealthy choice…stripping with a chemical stripper would remove the lead paint and you could go from there…lead paint is not dangerous unless it is disturbed like asbestos but I would want the windows to be without any of the old paint…there are people who dip strip using a huge tub of stripper…did that once years ago and it was great…good luck…
Love the headboard idea!!! Never crossed my mind but it looks fabulous