25 Brilliant Ways To Repurpose An Old Bucket Around Your Home

Picture that old bucket — often relegated to the corner of the garage or the back of a cupboard, gathering dust. Its glory days of holding paint, ferrying water, or carting sand at the beach are long gone and now it's seemingly destined for the landfill. Well, it's time you dust off the unassuming pails— they are vessels of untapped potential. Explore the 25 ways for repurposing an old bucket around your home below and you'll stumble upon perfect examples of how you could fashion beauty and function from the overlooked and underestimated.

Imagine your beloved bucket reborn as an elegant pendant or lantern that cascades soft, enchanting light in your living space. Consider also the possibility of a quirky ottoman that sparks conversations in your living room. An old bucket can even find new life as an organizational superhero for tools and children's toys. Or take it outside, where it becomes the centerpiece of your garden as a water feature or even a self-watering planter. Isn't it thrilling that such transformations are within reach, offering not just new uses but also conversation starters in your home? Buckets can assume astonishing new roles with minimal effort. Clean, slice, paint, or drill it; whichever route you take, and it becomes the trove of treasures you never thought you needed. Every plastic or galvanized bucket you upcycle is the fusion of creativity, aesthetics, and function, all without bleeding your wallet dry. And beyond inventiveness, repurposing old buckets is a nod to sustainability.

1. Bucket planter

An old bucket can undergo an enchanting transformation to become something as striking as a portable garden. Start by washing the bucket, then make a few drainage holes on the bottom. A weather-resistant, non-toxic paint (think acrylic) provides an aesthetic boost while also protecting the bucket from harsh environmental conditions. At the bottom of the bucket, a layer of pebbles or gravel increases drainage, keeping water-logging — the typical enemy of potted plants — at bay. Then, add potting mix and, finally, your chosen plant. Use this clever twist on plant pots to add a unique element to your deck or patio.

2. Patio umbrella stand

Next, venture outside and convert an old bucket into a chic patio umbrella stand. Measure and cut a length of PVC pipe that corresponds to the height of the bucket and fits the pole of your patio umbrella. Center this PVC pipe in the bucket and stabilize it vertically with stones. Mix quick-setting concrete,  pour it around the PVC pipe, and let it set according to the manufacturer's instructions. For finishing touches, sprinkle a layer of pea gravel atop the set concrete, a nod to refined sophistication. Now, your old bucket is a sturdy and stylish patio umbrella stand.

3. Upcycled side table

How about repurposing an old bucket into a statement-making side table? A thorough cleanup paves the way for transformation. Proceed to wrap the bucket in a fabric sleeve that harmonizes with your room's aesthetics, then secure the edges at the top and bottom through the art of sewing or even a knot. Next, glue a piece of circular cardboard that fits the sunken part of the bucket's lid and makes it level. Dress the lid with fabric for a nice cushioned look, after which you reattach it to crown your DIY bucket side table.

4. Bucket water feature

Upcycling an old galvanized bucket into a garden water feature introduces a serene addition in your backyard. To start, nest a pump inside your bucket and connect its outlet to a vertical piece of PVC pipe, crowing its other end with a 90-degree elbow fitting. For a visually appealing water pathway, position a watering can so its spout hangs just above the bucket, attaching it to the elbow fitting. The water will cascade from the can back into the bucket, creating a continuous, flowing cycle. Stabilize the pump structure with stones, fill the bucket with water, then power on the pump.

5. Using old buckets for storage and organization

Give you old bucket a second lease of life as a storage solution. After a thorough cleanup, decide what this bucket will be storing, like toys, craft supplies, gardening tools. Based on its future contents, adorn it with distinctive labels or even coat it with vibrant paint, injecting a touch of personal style that blends your up-cycled bucket with the surrounding décor. If you're repurposing your bucket for smaller items, like toys or craft supplies, consider creating internal compartments. Alternatively, if the bucket is destined to hold tools, adorn it with a tool apron.

6. Chic pendant light

Not only does an old bucket-turned-chic pendant light solve the problem of dull and uninspiring lighting, but it also breathes new life into what once was a mundane object. This transformation begins with an immaculate cleaning of the bucket, followed by meticulous drilling of holes for artistic light play and a large one at the bottom to accommodate a bulb holder. Apply a fresh coat of spray paint, then later thread a power cord and secure a bulb holder inside the pail. For added softness, line the interior with a nuanced, translucent paper that enhances the ambiance when the bulb is aglow. 

7. Tufted bucket ottoman with storage

The bucket ottoman with storage tackles the dual issues of seating and space conservation. This upcycling venture requires wrapping a clean bucket with thick, plush foam, meticulously marked and hollowed for that classic tufted ottoman look. Layer on soft batting, followed by a fabric in your chosen hue or pattern, stretched and stapled in the indents, ornamented with sparkling gem buttons for a touch of sophistication. For a lid that doubles as a seat, adapt a sturdy circular wooden piece or cardboard embellished with indented foam and matching fabric.

8. Indoor compost bins

How about a DIY indoor compost bin fashioned from an old bucket? Start by drilling holes across the surface for oxygen flow, with larger ones at the base for proper drainage. Utilize this bucket to layer green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) waste materials, providing a sanctuary for them to decompose and eventually morph into nutrient-rich compost. Periodically stir the contents for aeration and maintain a slightly moist environment within the bin, all geared to expedite the decomposition process. This hack works wonders for your garden beds by infusing your soil with organic goodness, all while also actively cutting down kitchen waste.

9. Outdoor fire pit from a galvanized bucket

With this hack, an old metal bucket transforms into a portable fire pit, bringing the primal allure of open flames to your outdoor gatherings. Perforate the base with evenly spaced holes to guarantee adequate oxygen flow, which is crucial for maintaining a fiery blaze. Then, nestle in small fiery logs. To safeguard the integrity of your lawn or patio floor, rest the bucket atop a stable, non-flammable platform (think wooden planks). With this upcycled fire pit, your evenings are now infused with the warm flicker of dancing flames, perfect for social moments or solitary reflection.

10. Create a plant pot basket from an old bucket

What if you could upcycle an old paint bucket into a vibrant plant pot basket? Begin this transformation by interlacing a duo of yarns, each with a unique color, vertically and horizontally around the bucket. Not only does this provide a splash of color but it also gives your creation texture and a handcrafted touch. Next, fashion two robust handles from braided yarn or ringed beads and securely attach them on opposite sides for easy handling of your potted wonders. For a finishing touch, line the interior with fabric before nestling in your plant pot.

11. Bucket birdhouse

Making a charming birdhouse out of an old bucket begins with stripping the container of labels and sanding the exterior to ensure the paint sticks better. For the paint, opt for a non-glossy finish. However, refrain from painting the interior to keep it safe and toxin-free for its avian occupants. Carefully cut out a doorway that's large enough for birds to enter, and just below it, affix a small pipe or stick perch to serve as perch. Next, thread two lengthy cable ties through holes near the top and bottom, so you secure the birdhouse to a tree or post, with the entrance positioned away from the usual wind direction.

12. A bucket stool

Creating a fashionable and functional bucket seat from an old bucket is simple and innovative. Begin by ensuring that the bucket is structurally sound to support weight, then trim a piece of mattress pad into a circular shape that fits appropriately at the top. Choose a stylish, durable fabric to cover the pad, and attach it securely with a staple gun, sewing, or glue for a neat finish. You could even adorn the bucket with painted patterns. With the cushion secured at the top, your bucket seat is ready to enhance any room while offering a cozy sitting spot.

13. Elevating your painting game with an old bucket

The old bucket in your garage is an unsung hero for mess-free painting jobs. Fill it with your chosen paint or paint mixture. Equip your bucket with a metallic paint grid, and you've got yourself a pro-level tool that filters excess paint from rollers with ease. Just glide your roller along, and watch as the paint grid picks up the perfect amount of paint. That way, an old bucket previously destined for trash becomes a painting companion, streamlining your workflow and ensuring that every stroke is as fresh as the first.

14. Fashioning a toddler swing from an old bucket

For this hack of repurposing an old bucket around your home, envision the delight of a heartwarming twist on a classic child's toy. Begin by drilling four evenly spaced holes just below your bucket's rim for the ropes. Then, carve out two leg openings toward the front of the bucket, slice off excess plastic, and smooth down all edges to create a safe, snug little seat. With precise rope knots and a reliable branch, this makeshift porch swing for kids is primed for use. Flank it with your supervision, and watch as the simplest of objects burgeons into the centerpiece of your little one's joy.

15. Your manual laundry companion

Fancy a compact solution for those delicate handwash-only items without resorting to a full-scale laundry setup? Enter a bucket repurposed into a plunger washer. Begin by making a hole in the bucket's lid, just the right size for a plunger handle. Then, immerse the plunger into the laundry bucket, with the handle protruding through the lid hole, before snapping the lid back. With a plunge here and there, you create a manual agitation that cleans sullied fabrics. Whether in the backyard under the sun or within an off-grid cabin, this arm-toning and radically resourceful bucket-turned-washer is your off-the-cuff appliance that never needs a manual or a plug.

16. Bucket vegetable tower

Need a vertical vegetable tower for you garden? Begin by punching large, well-spaced plant holes around the sides of two 5-gallon buckets. Next, adorn one bucket (the lower one) with several drainage holes. For the upper bucket, slice off its base, turning it into an open-ended cylinder that stacks on top of its counterpart, their lid ends touching. At the middle of your tower sits a wide perforated pipe — it's a secret tunnel for kitchen waste, turning scraps into soil-nourishing treasure. Fill the space around the pipe with potting soil, plant vegetable seedlings in the side holes, and water your tower.

17. The handy hose reel

Bid farewell to the chaos of unkempt garden hoses with a bucket reel. By constructing a wooden spindle that snuggly nests inside the bucket, a central core for your cumbersome hose is born. Attach a rotating knob to the spindle's top, and wait to marvel at how a simple twist keeps your garden hose orderly. Guide your pipe through a slot on the bucket's side, loop it once around the spindle, and then lead it through an exit hole at the top. Finally, twist the knob to wind the hose around the spindle. 

18. Bucket mouse trap

Did you know you can outwit rodents with just an old bucket? Here's the kicker: station a butter-smeared pipe across the bucket's diameter, akin to a see-saw, with the fulcrum being a wire strung from one side of the bucket to the other through the pipe. Fashion a wooden plank into a ramp leading up to the bucket's edge. Then, at the ramp-end of the pipe, affix two glued bolts inside, which function as a counterweight that keeps the pipe level. As rats scurry to the butter-smeared end, they will plunge into the bucket from which they cannot escape.

19. A self-watering planter

This hack sees a 5-gallon bucket transform into an ingenious, self-watering planter. It begins with inserting a perforated plastic container into a hole at the bottom. Now, guide a PVC pipe from the bottom of the bucket to just an inch above the lid. Stack this setup into another bucket with the saucer in between, after which you fill the inner bucket with potting soil. Drill a few drainage holes in the outer bucket, just below where the inner bucket sits. For the grand finale, pop your seedlings into the soil through lid holes, and fill the reservoir through the PVC pipe until water drains out.

20. Farmhouse decor from an old bucket

Transforming an old bucket into a piece of farmhouse decor is not just a creative endeavor; it's a journey back to the rustic roots. Start this transformation by giving your bucket a good cleanse and sanding. Dabs of gray paint will cloak your bucket in the soft, matte embrace. Alternatively, embellish the off-white-painted bucket with stencils or stick-and-peel graphics of farm scenes or garden-inspired tags for that custom, vintage vibe. For the grand finale, fill the bucket with elements of farm life — dried flowers, burlap, fresh herbs, and perhaps a collection of antique wooden utensils.

21. Curved seat from buckets

How about unleashing your inner artisan by reimagining old buckets into a curvaceous seat? Begin by positioning four, handleless buckets in a semi-circle, with the open ends down. Secure wooden planks around the buckets at the end of the curve, then wrap the structure with flexible boards. The addition of indented foam comes next, transitioning your budding creation from concept to reality. Then, stretch velvet fabric over the foam and staple it within the indents for a tufted appearance. Attach a well-secured, foam-and-fabric-covered, curved flexible board to serve as back support. You can now adorn your curved bucket seat with desired decorations, including indent crystal buttons.

22. Ice bucket

Repurposing an old bucket into an ice bucket is the epitome of functional chic. Begin by ensuring your chosen vessel is clean and watertight, setting the stage for a transformation from mundane to magnificent. Decorate to match your party theme (think stencils, tags, paint, stickers, or stick-and-peel decorations), or let the bucket's rustic charm shine solo. Filled with ice, it becomes a treasure chest, cradling your beverages in its frosty embrace. Position this DIY ice bucket where all can admire and access it, and witness it not solve the age-old dilemma of warm drinks with a flair that sparks conversation.

23. Bucket outdoor lantern

Next, picture yourself upcycling an old bucket into a captivating lantern, one that bathes your backyard gathering in a gentle glow. The transformation starts with a pristine white plastic bucket as your canvas — bring it to life with stick-and-peel graphics or stencils conveying a custom message or design. The addition of an adhesive RGB LED light inside transforms the bucket into a beacon of soft, ambient light while securing the lid contains the enchantment within. Nestle this DIY lantern on the ground or suspend it from a hook, and it will not only brighten your outdoor space but also serve as a testament to your ingenuity.

24. bucket grow table

Contemplating creative ideas for a raised garden bed? Repurposed old buckets, paired with a wooden, rectangular frame come in handy. Ensure the frame's width snugly fits two buckets side by side, while also accommodating the support beams. Lengthwise, adjust according to the number of buckets needed. Securely attach wooden planks across the frame space, spacing them to brace the buckets' rims, then screw sturdy legs onto each corner for elevation, and if necessary, along the length for bonus support. Once you settle the bucket onto the planks, fill each with potting soil and nestle your plants. 

25. Tiered bucket garden

Doesn't the mere sight of a tiered garden give a rush of zen, all while maximizing vertical real estate? Envision rectangular frames where each is precisely the width of your buckets; these are constructed from longer side rails ideally bridged by shorter planks, cleverly designed to cradle the buckets by their rims. Then, different frames are bestowed with legs of varying lengths, ushering in a tiered spectacle. As you position the bucket planters in the cradles, your garden now ascends layer by layer into a space-saving creation that's as functional as it is breathtaking.