Reclaimed Windows for Decorative Home Use

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windowAs you all probably know by now, Home Fixated is always looking for ways to use reclaimed material. Reclaimed windows offer quite a few options both decorative and practical. I have a friend who just hung one on his living room wall as-is and it actually looks pretty cool. But, here are a couple projects for those who are a bit more ambitious.  

You can find windows like these at salvage yards, yard sales, reclaimed lumber facilities, Craigslist, eBay, construction sites and often enough, in the garbage on the side of the road. The one pictured here has been sanded down enough to remove most, but not all of the old paint. Leaving some existing paint or stain in random spots results in a rustic look. Keep in mind, many of these old window sashes have lead paint, which isn’t something you want to sand. Be sure to take precautions in terms of testing for lead, and lead safe paint removal practices.

The glass panes were removed and replaced with mirrors, fitted from behind. (Many hardware stores will cut mirrors to size, or you can order them through a glass shop.) A small shelf of a similar wood, also reclaimed, was added to the base of the window — it looks nice and can be used to display small, decorative items. This is a different and more personalized take on a standard wall mirror.

Before - Reclaimed window
The second reclaimed window pictured here was also a roadside salvage. This one was left in the exact condition it was found and is now used as a unique showcase for children’s artwork. Mats of differing colors were cut to size and inserted behind the existing glass, though construction paper, fabric or various other materials could be used as a background also. The drawings are attached to the mats with tape hinges, which allow for easy removal or interchange. (In case anyone isn’t sure exactly what these works of art are supposed to be…they’re shark and other attacks by various sea creatures. No more Discovery channel when the little ones are visiting.)

After - as a showcase for kid's art
The reclaimed window as a display for art certainly isn’t limited to kids. A black and white photo collage would work well and might be a better option for some, as opposed to putting multiple holes in the wall to accommodate individual pictures. And, no matter the type of art you insert, it’s protected under the glass and presented in a unique way that sets it apart from typical picture frames.

For anyone interested in purchasing reclaimed windows, doors or any other salvaged treasures, here’s a handy list of resources, generously provided by none other than Bob Vila.

Photo of author

About Liz

Liz is a professional, custom picture framer based in Central New York. She and her contractor husband are currently renovating their second home together. At the time of this writing, they are not on speaking terms. Her love of making stuff with wood and DIY home projects began by watching her Dad. (It was also around this time Liz's incessant use of "colorful language" took root.) She's an avid gardener, stellar cook and doesn't throw like a girl: an all-around rad chick.

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