DIY: Uses for Old Windows

Thanks to dramatic improvements in energy-efficient design, construction materials and installation techniques, modern windows often pay for themselves in just a few years. In fact, homeowners everywhere are replacing their homes’ aging, sagging windows with bright new fixtures that aid their existing heating and cooling systems. Even if some feel a twinge of remorse or nostalgia after replacing their familiar old frames, few come to regret the decision.

You won’t have to regret your decision to replace your windows either. In fact, you may not even have to get rid of your old windows at all. Once you’ve replaced them, you can ensure that they remain an integral part of your home by re-purposing them in dozens of ways. Use the following ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Stained Glass

Creating true stained glass requires professional-grade furnaces and clutch glass-working skills. Even if you can’t turn your old windows into true stained-glass artifacts, you can certainly dress them up to look the part. Use high-quality craft paint to impart different colors and designs to each individual window pane or use a fine-bristled brush to paint a more detailed scene. To complete the effect, you may want to finish and paint the frames in a complementary color.

Unique Picture Frames

If you have a poster or picture that needs to be framed but don’t want to pay a professional for his or her services, sand down your old window frame and create a well into which the artwork can fit. Of course, you’ll need to remove the window pane and any interior wood supports before framing. Just like any other picture frame, you can hang the finished product on your living room wall.

Coffee Tables

Although it may require you to buy some additional pieces of wood to create stable floor supports, it shouldn’t take much work to turn your old window into a quirky glass-topped coffee table. If you don’t think that the original glass is stable enough to support books or drink glasses, replace it with a thicker pane. Likewise, sand down the new table’s edges and supports to avoid splinters.

Wall Mirrors

This is another redesign that can probably be completed in the space of a single afternoon. Remove the original glass from your window’s frame, size up the space between the wood supports, and purchase an appropriately sized cut of mirror-grade glass to fill it. A window-turned-mirror is a perfect addition to a hallway, entryway or other communal space within your home.

Cupboard and Pantry Doors

If your cupboard or pantry doors have seen better days, replace it with your old window. To execute this project, you’ll need to attach hinges or clasps to one side of your window frame and add a knob or latch to the other. Since the window’s natural glass will make it easy to see into the space that it covers, a window-turned-door is perfect for decorative china cabinets.

Removing your home’s old windows to make way for energy-efficient replacements can be a bittersweet experience. Fortunately, you don’t have to say goodbye to the trusty fixtures forever. With these creative re-purposing tips in mind, you can turn your old windows into creative items that will bring joy to your family for years to come.