Repurposing With Salvaged Materials
Using Salvaged Materials in DC Homes
Repurposing with salvaged materials is a great way to save money while adding character a living space may lack.
Recycling and re-purposing with salvaged materials has become de rigueur for many interior designers and decorators. Now, DIYers are joining in to take advantage of more widely available trash-to-treasure opportunities in home rehabbing and decorating.
It’s chic to re-purpose and doing so can save home owners hundreds–even thousand–of dollars in materials costs.

Material ReUse in New Construction

Consider reuse of building materials in your new design and construction. The BMRA promotes deconstruction and materials resue, has launched a standardized deconstruction training certification curriculum for community colleges, provides local resources for homeowners who want to re-purpose building materials and finishes, and promotes DC Metro contractors who re-purpose. Not only is re-purposing popular among designers and DC Metro homeowners, it has gained favor in the construction industry. Developers are learning that they can create on-trend products that cost less to construct. There are many resources for re-purposed materials and finishes in Washington DC and Northern Virginia. See some of our suggestions below. You may have to spend some time finding exactly what you’re looking for. It will help to have your specifications jotted down in a little notebook you can carry with you (in case you stumble across a “find” when you’re not actively looking). Include measurements, a color palette, and notes or photos of the existing space and furnishings/finishes.

Salvage Houses and Specialty Vendors in DC Metro

Lead Paint Reminder

Just as houses constructed before 1978 in the DC Metro Area may contain lead-based paint, components manufactured prior to 1978 may also contain lead paint. Doors, window frames, flooring and other painted wood should be evaluated for possible presence of lead based paint. In 1978 that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned lead in paints. There are special techniques involved in removing lead based paint and working with items containing lead based paint. See the lead based paint section of this website for more information on lead paint remediation.

Maximize Your Savings

Shop for salvaged items in Washington DC just as you would anything else; look for bargains, consider condition, negotiate when possible and factor in delivery or shipping costs. One of the best deals on re-purposed building materials can be wood flooring. From heart-of-pine to the exotics, the determined shopper can find deals on vintage or antique floor boards made of high quality woods that are very expensive purchased new. Community Forklift touts their stock of fabulous old doors, another item that can net big savings when compared to new doors made of solid wood. Community Forklift sells doors as cheaply as $10 to $15. You may have to remove layers of paint (refer again to the lead based paint section of this site), but what beauties you can uncover! Adorn your door with a vintage or antique knob from the Brass Knob or a “new vintage” glass model from Anthropologie, and you’ve got a fabulous statement piece! The same goes for vintage and antique light fixtures, so popular paired with industrial, farmhouse chic and mid-century modern decorating styles. If the fixtures haven’t been recently rewired, visit a Washington DC area lighting supply store and see how easy and cost-effective rewiring can be. Factor in delivery or van rental costs if you don’t have a vehicle large enough to take your item home. If well incorporated, salvaged and re-purposed elements add panache and “green” selling points to Washington DC home values. Artfully and tastefully applied, they can boost a home’s individuality in a way that is appealing to many home buyers. While you may not realize a specific dollar amount for individual items, they can certainly add to overall appeal and marketability, helping your Washington DC home stand out and sell more quickly.


Serving the neighborhoods of Northwest DC, Northeast DC, Southeast DC and Southwest DC including Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, Crestwood, Capitol Hill, H Street, Kalorama, Mount Pleasant, Columbia Heights, Georgetown, West End, Burleith, Foggy Bottom, Shaw, LeDroit Park, Bloomingdale, U Street, Penn Quarter, Mt. Vernon Triangle, Palisades, Chevy Chase, Friendship Heights, Barnaby Woods, American University Park, Observatory Circle, Forest Hills, Woodley Park, FoxHall, 14th Street Corridor, U Street Corridor, Meridian Hill, Hill East, Barracks Row, Eastern Market and portions of Northern Virginia including Arlington, Alexandria, McLean, Great Falls, Fairfax, Vienna and Falls Church.
Realtors are not CPAs or attorneys and are not permitted to give accounting, investment, tax or legal advice. Refer to a CPA, investment professional or legal professional for all related matters. Any information provided on this site pertaining to such issues is not intended as tax or legal advice and is provided solely for the purpose of illustration. Resources cited are believed to be accurate but are not guaranteed and are subject to change without notice.