By Emma Wolff

During the craziness of 2020, many homeowners found themselves spending more time at home. This trend led to a boom in home renovations throughout the year. According to CNBC, there was a 58% increase in home improvement projects across the U.S. last year. This rang true for Justine Renee, owner of Desert Dixie Design. She found a way to remodel her home and repurpose furniture while saving money, sustaining the environment, and creating new must-have pieces through upcycling.

Upcycling is the process of turning old, unused objects into new products with greater quality, artistic value and a revitalized purpose. Anything in need of revamping can be upcycled. For example, bedroom furniture, kitchen tables, cabinets, antiques, wall decor or garden items can be transformed into something entirely new.

“Through upcycling, you can save thousands of dollars by remodeling your old items rather than buying brand new furniture,” says Renee. “You are also doing the environment a favor by recycling your resources instead of throwing them in a landfill. There are a ton of benefits to learning how to upcycle.”

Renee began upcycling as a hobby, but recently started her business, Desert Dixie Design, as a fulltime operation. Her most requested projects are remodeling bedroom furniture, kitchen tables and chairs. However, the renovations and refurbishments do not have to stop there. Renee can work her creative magic and design unique, original pieces of furniture out of anything. For example, she recently turned an old television set into an adorable cat bed. She encourages locals to learn how to upcycle themselves or outsource their upcycling projects to a professional.

“In upcycling, there are times of trial and error, but as long as you’re patient, willing to learn and having fun, anyone can do it,” she says. “You don’t need professional training to upcycle. I learned most of what I know by doing research and watching YouTube videos. And, if you have a question, there is a supportive upcycling community ready to provide any answers you need.”

Renee recommends beginners start by taking on small projects and working up to larger or more complicated furniture renovations. By upcycling, people can get one-of-a-kind items without spending a lot of money. Rather than buying new, expensive furniture, upcycling can transform outdated objects into modern and beautiful pieces.

Upcycling also has enormous environmental benefits. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, by reusing materials, people are reducing the strain on valuable resources such as fuel, forests and water supplies. It also aids in eliminating greenhouse gas emissions, reducing landfill waste and saving energy.
By upcycling, people are helping the planet, reducing their carbon footprint and saving money.

In order to learn more about upcycling, check out your local home improvement stores and online upcycling resources.

To learn more about Justine Renee and her upcycling business, follow her on Facebook at Desert Dixie Design or on Instagram @desert.dixie.design.

For business inquires, send a message to justinereneeaz@gmail.com.