21 Innovative Ways to Repurpose Old Windows 

Don't throw away old windows! Upcycle them into something new, beautiful, and useful.

Published July 12, 2022
old window frame with mirror over mantle

From beautiful garden accents to creative displays for favorite photos, there are lots of ways to repurpose old windows in your home. You can find antique windows for sale in local classified ads, architectural salvage shops, and antique stores in your area and use them in new ways to give your home plenty of historic appeal. There are hundreds of ways to use old windows, but these are some of the best DIY projects out there.

Repurpose Old Windows as Photo Frames

photos in old window frame

Add a beautiful gallery wall to your stairway or to any empty space in your home by using old windows to frame some of your favorite family photos. You can even switch out the photos when you want to try something new.

  1. Choose some old window frames with multiple panes. Clean the glass.
  2. Make copies of old photos you would like to display so the originals aren't damaged. You can enlarge smaller photos if you need to.
  3. Use clear adhesive squares, available from the craft store, to stick the photos to the backsides of the panes of glass.
  4. When all the photos are added, attach hanging hardware to the window frame and hang for display.

Create an Indoor Garden With an Old Window

flower painted window frame

You can use a vintage window to create your very own custom indoor garden - no watering required. All you need are some glass paints and a little practice.

  1. Place the window flat on a work surface. Clean the glass to remove any debris or dust.
  2. Use glass paints to paint different kinds of flowers in each of the windowpanes. Take your time and practice first on paper if you need to.
  3. When the paints are dry, add some hanging hardware to the top of the window frame so you can display it on your wall.

Turn a Large Window Into a Statement Mirror

old window frame with mirror

You can repurpose an old window as a statement-making mirror. It will reflect light and add lots of historic charm to any room.

  1. Choose an old window with a pretty frame. Look for colored paint, interesting architectural details, or any other special features. Clean it well.
  2. Measure the panes of the window and have a glass shop cut mirrors to fit.
  3. Add the mirrors behind the existing glass using glazier's points. Alternatively, you can use mirror paint to paint the back side of the glass.
  4. Add hanging hardware and enjoy your new mirror.

Add Upcycled Vintage Glass Dishes to an Old Window

upcycled dishes on vintage window frame

Create a sparkling decoration you can hang in your kitchen window or display anywhere in your home by adding old dishes to a vintage window. Choose dishes that aren't valuable or special or that have damage. It's a great way to give vintage glass a new life.

  1. Pick an old window that is smaller than the space you'll be hanging it. Clean the glass well.
  2. Browse in thrift stores for old glass dishes. You can use anything you like, as long as it will fit within the panes of the window.
  3. Mix up some two-part epoxy, available in any hardware store.
  4. With the window lying flat on your work surface, apply epoxy to the edge of a glass dish. Carefully press the glass into place on the window. Repeat with each dish you want to add.
  5. Allow the epoxy to cure according to the package instructions.
  6. Add hanging hardware and display your work.

Use an Old Window as a Backdrop for Decorative Items

old window above shelf with decorative items

An old window can act as a frame for other items, especially if the window is brightly colored, has architectural elements, or simply is pretty.

  1. Pick a window you like. Go for something fairly small, unless you have a large place for display.
  2. Lean the window against a wall and on a surface in your home. You can use it with an old dresser or on top of your mantle.
  3. Add other decorative items in front of the window to complete your vignette.

Make a Vintage Window Into a Hanging Display

hanging display window frame

You can use some twine and miniature clothespins to create a wonderful hanging display with an old window. This idea is easy and fun.

  1. Choose a window with multiple panes. Clean the glass well.
  2. Use small nails or staples to attach twine to the window frame, creating a miniature clothes line behind the glass.
  3. Add miniature clothespins to the twine and clip on some favorite drawings, notes, photos, or other art. Arrange it so the panes of the window frame the things you're displaying.
  4. Add hanging hardware to attach the window to your wall.

Decoupage an Old Window With Beautiful Art and Words

decoupage antique window frame

Decoupage is a fun way to add lots of decorative appeal to an old window. You can create your own custom piece of art in an afternoon.

  1. Choose a window that isn't too large. It should have multiple panes, and you should love the way the frame looks. Clean the glass.
  2. Look in old magazines or online for images you like. They can be words, pictures, or a combination of the two. You can even layer multiple images in a collage.
  3. Using a decoupage medium like Mod Podge, which is available at any craft store, paint the front side of the images you are using.
  4. Press the images onto the glass and smooth out any bubbles. Apply another layer of Mod Podge over the top.
  5. Allow it to dry and add at least one more coat of decoupage medium.
  6. When the entire project is dry, add some hanging hardware and display it in your home.

Repurpose an Old Window to Frame a Wreath

window frame with wreath

You can add greater visual impact to a holiday wreath or seasonal decoration by displaying it framed in an old window. This is an easy project for windows without glass, but you can also use a window with the glass intact.

  1. Choose a window frame that is larger than the wreath you'll be displaying.
  2. If the window has glass, add a cup hook to the top and center of the frame. Add hanging hardware to the window. Hang the window where you plan to display it.
  3. Tie a pretty ribbon to your wreath and use it to hang the wreath from the glassless frame or from the cup hook.

Add a Shelf to a Vintage Window

window frame with shelf

You can upcycle an old window as a display shelf with lots of historic appeal. This is an easy project if you have some shelf hardware handy.

  1. Pick an old window with a pretty frame. Cut a piece of weathered wood to the same length as the window. It can be any thickness or width you like.
  2. Pick up some shelf brackets that are attractive and simple. Make sure they are designed for the width of the shelf.
  3. Pre-drill holes in the shelf and the bottom of the window frame and use long screws to attach the shelf to the frame. Add the shelf brackets to the bottom of the shelf and add some hanging hardware to the top of the window. Hang the shelf in your desired spot.

Use Wire Screen to Turn an Old Window Into a Message Center

window frame message board with chicken wire

Try this great idea for an old window frame without glass: use screen to turn it into a message center for your home.

  1. Pick a window with a nice frame and no glass. Clean up the frame.
  2. Cut a piece of chicken wire or screen with larger weave to fit the frame.
  3. Use staples to attach the screen to the window frame.
  4. Add hanging hardware so you can display the frame on your wall. You can use miniature clothespins to clip notes and photos to the screen.

Make an Outdoor Mirror With an Old Window Frame

window frame with mirror

Using old windows in the garden can give your yard antique beauty and reflect your trees and plantings. Because old windows were designed for outdoor use, they work well for this type of repurposing project.

  1. Pick an old window with multiple panes. It works best if it doesn't have the glass anymore. Clean the dust off the frame.
  2. Using a clear spray paint designed for outdoor exposure, lightly spray the frame in a well-ventilated space. This will help protect it.
  3. Add hanging hardware that will allow you to display the old window on a fence or the side of your home.
  4. Have mirror glass cut to fit the dimensions of the panes of the window. Use glazier's points to affix the mirror glass to the frame.

Build a Magnetic Message Board From an Old Window

window frame magnetic message board

You can add a tin ceiling tile and some magnetic paint and repurpose an old window as a message board. This is a wonderful way to create a little extra charm with some cast-off items.

  1. Use a window frame without glass for this DIY project. You'll also need a tin ceiling tile cut to the dimensions of the window opening, some magnetic paint, and hanging hardware.
  2. With tin snips, cut the ceiling tile to fit the opening in the frame.
  3. Paint the tile with the magnetic paint and allow it to dry. Because tin is only mildly attracted to magnets, the paint will make the attraction stronger. You can add a layer of colored paint too if you wish.
  4. When the paint is dry, use construction adhesive to affix the tile in the window frame.
  5. Add hanging hardware and hang the message board in a busy area of your home.

Turn an Old Window Into a Rustic Holiday Decoration

window frame holiday decor

An old window can become your favorite vintage holiday decoration with a few simple modifications. This is a unique look everyone will love during the Christmas season.

  1. Pick an old window that has a pretty frame and is not too big. You'll be hanging it on the wall. Multiple panes can be fun to work with. Clean the glass well.
  2. Use glass paint to add a holiday message on the panes.
  3. Make a swag of holiday greenery or berries by gathering the stems together and tying with wire. Drill a small hole in the top of the frame and attach the swag.
  4. Add hanging hardware so you can display your decoration.

Create Furniture Made From Old Windows

window frame storage cabinet

You can make furniture by repurposing old windows. One of the easiest and most useful options is a simple storage cabinet.

  1. Choose a window in a size that will work for a cabinet door. Measure it carefully.
  2. Build a simple cabinet box to the same dimensions. Don't worry if you don't have a lot of carpentry experience; this is a rustic furniture project that doesn't have to be perfect.
  3. Add purchased feet, which you can buy at the home building store.
  4. Use hinges to attach the window to the front of the cabinet box.
  5. Give the entire project a coat of primer and at least two of paint. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for drying time.
  6. When everything is dry, add some cabinet hardware to make it easy to open.

Repurpose an Old Window as a Cork Board or Chalk Board

window frame cork chalkboard

A vintage window can make a great cork board or chalk board, and this is a wonderful way to use up those old wine corks you may be saving.

  1. Use old windows without glass for this project. You can use a window with two or more panes to create a combination chalk board and cork board, or you can create one or the other if there's a single pane.
  2. Cut a piece of 1/4-inch plywood to fit each pane in the window. If you're making a chalkboard, sand it well so it's very smooth.
  3. For the cork board, glue the board to the window frame and then use epoxy to glue the corks to the board. You can arrange them in a pattern or keep it random.
  4. For the chalk board, prime the board with a foam roller. When the primer is dry, apply two coats of chalkboard paint with a roller and let that dry. Glue the chalkboard into the frame.
  5. Add hanging hardware and display where you will use it.

Make Some Wall Art With Doilies and a Vintage Window

window frame with doilies

Doilies aren't the most useful of antique textiles, but they can be very beautiful. With the help of an old window, you can make some vintage wall art that will show them off.

  1. For this project, choose an old window that has the glass intact. You can use a single pane or multiple panes, depending on what you have in mind. Clean the glass.
  2. Choose a piece of posterboard in a color you like and cut it to fit the window.
  3. Arrange the doilies on the poster board, overlapping them if you desire. Use a needle and thread to sew the doilies onto the posterboard. You only need a few stitches to keep them from sliding.
  4. Use clear adhesive to blue the poster board behind the glass in the window, making sure the doilies are placed as you want.
  5. Add some hanging hardware to display your art.

Build a Vintage Key Holder From an Old Window

window frame key holder

Having a place to put your keys is useful, and a key holder made from an old window has lots of decorative appeal. This is an easy project for anyone to make.

  1. Choose a window with or without glass for this project. It should fit the space where you plan to hang it.
  2. Add cup hooks to the bottom of the window frame by drilling small holes and screwing them into place.
  3. Decorate the top of the frame any way you like. You can add twinkle lights, greenery, or simply leave it as-is.
  4. Add some hanging hardware and hang it by your door.

Display Pressed Flowers in a Vintage Window

window frame with pressed flowers

You can also repurpose an old window as a display for pressed flowers. This is a fun way to give your home a touch of spring any time of the year.

  1. Choose an old window with several panes. The glass should be intact. Clean it well.
  2. Have a glass shop cut some glass to fit a few of the panes.
  3. Purchase pressed flowers or press some yourself.
  4. Place the window face-down on your work surface. Lay the pressed flowers on the glass. Place the newly cut pieces on top of each pressed flower. Use glazier's points to hold them in place.
  5. Add hanging hardware and display where everyone can admire it.

Use Glass Decals to Turn an Old Window Into a Sign

window frame sign

You can purchase glass decals online or find them in local craft stores. A vintage window is a great place to display these decals, turning them into a sign.

  1. Pick a window that has the glass intact and has only one pane. Choose one that is sized appropriately for the decal you plan to use.
  2. Clean the glass well on both sides.
  3. Apply the decal according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  4. Lean the old window against a wall to display it or add hanging hardware.

Make a Table With a Display Area

shadow box window frame table top

Display tables are a natural choice if you're interested in DIY furniture made from old windows. You can use the glass as a surface for drinks and see through it to the items you want to display inside.

  1. Choose a window with a sturdy frame in the size you'd like for your table. Measure the frame carefully.
  2. Construct a simple box with a flat plywood bottom. The size will depend on the size of the window you're using and the type of items you want to display.
  3. Add legs to the box. You can buy unfinished legs at any home project store.
  4. Use hinges to turn the window into a lid you can open.
  5. Prime and paint the entire table in your desired color.
  6. When it's dry, display items inside it.

Repurpose an Old Window as a Divided List

window frame list

You can use this DIY old window frame decorating idea to create something very useful out of an old window that is missing the glass.

  1. Pick a window that has several divided sections and no glass. You'll be using the sections as columns.
  2. Cut 1/4-inch plywood to fit the sections of the window.
  3. Sand the plywood very well to make sure it's as smooth as possible. Remove any dust.
  4. Prime it with a foam roller and apply at least two coats of chalkboard paint.
  5. Allow the paint to dry and then use small nails to attach the sections of chalkboard to the window frame.
  6. Add hanging hardware and a piece of chalk on a string.

Use Old Windows and Doors in New Ways

Old windows offer so many options for giving your home a beautiful vintage farmhouse look. You can also repurpose old doors or combine window and door projects to add a ton of architectural beauty to a modern room. Use your imagination and get creative. You'll end up with some wonderful decorations that have lots of historic and artistic flair.

21 Innovative Ways to Repurpose Old Windows