Home Life Style Within a residence in Dubai, discover a space adorned with repurposed furnishings and a commitment to producing zero waste.

Within a residence in Dubai, discover a space adorned with repurposed furnishings and a commitment to producing zero waste.

"I hold onto everything," declares Siddiqa Akhtar, a resident of Furjan.

by Soofiya

Empty cream cheese jars, juice bottles, tattered clothes, and discarded wood find new life as captivating decor in Siddiqa Akhtar’s Furjan townhouse in Dubai.

In this upcycled haven, the Pakistani homemaker showcases her commitment to a zero-waste lifestyle through creative do-it-yourself projects. Akhtar’s ingenuity begins at the entrance, where she transforms empty plastic bottles of micellar water into wall-hung flower vases adorned with colorful washi tape. At the opposite end, an old shoe cabinet undergoes a vibrant makeover with a coat of bright blue paint and self-adhesive paper.

Every inch of Akhtar’s three-bedroom home bursts with color, revealing her knack for turning discarded items into charming embellishments featuring an array of flowers, hearts, and mirrors in pastel hues.

Akhtar stumbled into upcycling in 2017 when a friend offered her a pair of old chairs destined for disposal. After a coat of white paint and a floral fabric seat cover, these chairs remain a testament to her inaugural upcycling success. Encouraged by positive feedback, Akhtar delved deeper into refurbishing, starting with worn-out tables that underwent a dramatic transformation with mod podge, gift-wrapping paper, and vibrant accents.

Moving into a new villa, the couple faced high prices at home decor stores, prompting Akhtar to embrace upcycling not only as a creative pursuit but also as an affordable and sustainable solution. Armed with patterned paper napkins, cardboard boxes, and various glues and paints, most of Akhtar’s projects now boast a budget under Dh50.

Her passion for recycling expanded to include decoupage and a course in mosaic art. A favorite space in her home, the TV lounge, showcases a teal green wall adorned with upcycled butterfly-themed decor, featuring repurposed bottles embellished with floral paper, sequins, and butterfly stickers.

Akhtar’s commitment to sustainability extends to her role as a stress-buster, allowing her to spend mindful time at home, fostering a sense of calm and focus. Partnered with her civil engineer husband Alam, Akhtar tackles projects using scrap wood, leftover tiles, and mirrors obtained from construction sites.

From a D-shaped table made of scrap wood adorned with mosaic mirrors to a repurposed TV trolley transformed into a kitchen storage shelf, Akhtar’s upcycling journey thrives on collaboration and resourcefulness. She emphasizes the importance of cleaning, priming, and sealing items in the upcycling process, ensuring longevity.

Her upbringing in a large Pakistani family instilled values of minimal waste and recycling, with her parents setting an example of zero-waste living long before it became a trend. Akhtar shares her passion and tips for upcycling on social media, hoping to inspire others to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.

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