Design Recipes: How to repurpose holiday gifts

By Cathy Hobbs

While some holiday gifts may work seamlessly with your current decor, others may not, leaving the burning question: Can I repurpose this? Here are seven suggestions on ways to make some typical gifts useful and purposeful.

Pots can be reused inside or outside the home.

1. Plants. While many may be seasonal, others may not be and can be replanted either in or outside the home. Pots can be reused to grow herbs or for small plants.

2. Toss pillows and throws. These small decor items often make it onto the gift list. Throws can be repurposed as shawls or scarves, while toss pillows can go in areas such as entry benches or backs of dining chairs.

3. Greeting cards. No doubt you may have received a lot of greeting cards this season. Those with a decorative edge could be framed or used to create a colorful work of art or collage.

4. Ornaments. Ornaments come in all shapes, sizes and colors and can be quite glamourous when repurposed and placed into a bowl or large vessel.

5. Clothing. Clothing can be repurposed in a number of ways, from transforming a dress into a tunic or creating a whole new item such as quilts.

Candles can be grouped and displayed together.

6. Candles. Candles can be grouped and displayed together. Once finished, their jars can be repurposed to hold or display other items.

7. Scarves. Scarves make great items that can be repurposed as throws.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at