Old textile materials can be recycled into eye-catching bedspreads.

If you clicked on this article in the hope of seeing actual tutorials explaining how easy it is to adorn your bed with purportedly cozy covers made of recycled bicycle chains, woven cardboard packaging, plastic six-pack rings and reclaimed tree trigs, sorry to burst your eco-bubble, but it’s just not going to happen. You want comfort. You want warmth. You want cool, green style. You want your bed to scream out, “Come on over you crazy little Mother Nature lover… this is what it’s all about.” There is no way that you’re going to get that snuggly Zen bedspread sensation with recycled soda can tabs, as unique and cool as it may theoretically sound. I am as gung-ho as you are about embracing a green lifestyle, but the last thing that I want hugging my snooze-bound body are a bunch of crunchy, sharp or otherwise heavy recycling bin rescues. That does not mean that we have to kick spirited eco-design innovation entirely to the curb. There are plenty of soft, plush materials that have excellent repurposing potential. If they are good enough to resurface a handbag or pillow, then they should work wonders on the large-scale surface of a bed. Enough chitchatting. Let’s dive in.

recycled beadspreads

Silk neck ties

The ever-changing pulse of fashion can easily be seen in men’s ties, which are often sizzling hot one year and thankfully not by the end of the season (particularly when they are emblazoned with questionable Snooki-like pop culture icons, fleeting catch phrases or flat out “what-the-huh?” designs). Where do they end up? At thrift store racks and garage sales. For a few dollars, score yourself a ginormous bag of them and you will be on your way to creative bedspread heaven, where a silky, Technicolor design punctuated with random images of Sponge Bob Squarepants and Justin Beiber will seem amusing rather than stick-your-head-under-the-sand sad. You will need some decent sewing skills, but the final result will be a wowzer eco-achievement.

Denim

Everybody has piles of dusty old jeans that they hang onto, knowing full well that they will probably never get around to wearing them again. Perhaps the style isn’t quite right, the legs are venturing toward “flood” season or, upon squeezing into them, it is apparent that achieving fighting weight is a still a basic requirement. While the number on your scale may take a lot longer to budge in the correct direction, your closet can instantly drop some weight. Gather an assortment of jeans that you haven’t worn in at least a year or so and transform that heavy-gauge fabric into a durable bedspread that will look super-stylish long after bell bottoms come back in (and then inevitably out) once again.

T-shirts

You have seen this idea countless times before, and yet it is still undeniably awesome. What better way to put your unique style out on display than with a handcrafted, multipaneled recycled T-shirt quilt? Upgrade the concept by making a reversible bedspread with concert tees on one side and pop culture shirts on the other. Totally excellent! (Attention quilting overachievers: You might want to emulate this seriously unique design.)

Flannel shirts

The ’90s are long over, but guess what relics still remain in your closet? All of those grungy yet toasty flannel shirts. Flannel clothing will certainly do the trick, and once you get the hang of it, you might consider crafting homemade plaid bedspreads for the people on your holiday gift list, too!

Vintage silk scarves

For a lightweight option, modify a basic flat sheet with a colorful array of thrift store-rescued silk scarves anchored together with a basic sewing stitch. Talk about a powerful décor statement — this will really transform your bedroom into a one-of-a-kind relaxation den.

Thrift store fur coats

Whatever your personal opinion on fur garments, there are always countless no-longer-wanted coats languishing away in thrift stores thanks to ever-changing fashion trends. You could snatch them up in order to donate them to the ASPCA in support of their “Coats For Cubs” program, or you could stitch together a 100% bespoke bedspread that will endure fleeting trends and the inevitable passage of time.

Antique saris

Yet another eye-catching repurposed textile idea that will bestow your bed with an exotic, luxe look. As with the majority of the recycled materials mentioned in this article, you will do a whole lot of sewing in order to create your final bedspread, but good things always come to those who do their best to save the planet.

Shirt plackets, collars and cuffs

Even the scraps remaining from your sewing projects can be refashioned into a rather novel-looking quilt (in this case, the bits and pieces left over from button-up shirts). Time commitment: way up there. Final result: All your friends are undoubtedly going to hound you for a one-on-one DIY tutorial!