Repurposing a Mattress

February 15, 2023

Repurposing a Mattress

Mattresses take up a ton of room at local landfills. In fact, Zero Waste Wisdom reports that mattresses take up nearly 132,000 square miles of landfill space each year. With many traditional mattresses requiring replacement about every seven years, it makes sense that Americans are disposing of mattresses with alarming frequency, making it a big problem for overburdened local landfills to manage. And, it’s why recycling or upcycling your old mattress is a better choice.

What to Do With an Old Mattress

While your old mattress may no longer provide the support you need for a good night’s sleep, that doesn’t mean it is entirely past its prime. Ultimately, finding a way to repurpose or reuse your mattress – in whole or in parts – offers the best option for the sake of the planet.

Here you will find quite a few great ideas for recycling, reusing, or upcycling your old mattress according to the type of mattress you have. Consider these, when possible, to avoid adding your old mattress to the pile of problems local landfills face when managing discarded mattresses.

List of Ways to Repurpose Your Mattress

Believe it or not, there are abundant ways you can repurpose your old mattress, transforming it into something useful, beautiful, and new. These ideas, broken down by the type of mattress you have, can help you breathe new life into your old mattress for even more years of use.

Traditional Innerspring Mattresses

The innerspring core is the essential problem with these mattresses. One that provides many interesting solutions, like the ideas below:

  • Create a sculpture. The metal used in the spring, as well as the frame itself, can be used as the foundation for interesting sculptures and works of art.
  • Turn into a wine rack. The way the innerspring frame is constructed makes it an excellent choice to repurpose or “upcycle” into an interesting wine rack. Hint, you can hang it from the ceiling or attach it to your wall for this purpose.
  • Build an interesting pot rack. Hanging pots and pans in kitchens is a great tool for vertical storage. Add a few hooks, hang from the ceiling, and your innersprings have a new purpose.
  • Use to create a room divider. This is especially useful in studio apartments, lofts, etc. It adds an “industrial” element to the room, and breaks up the space, visually speaking, without completely blocking the space off.
  • Make a light fixture. You can either weave string lights throughout the coils and springs for a whimsical feel, or run the light fixtures through the coils to create a more industrial look.
  • Design a vertical garden. Even if outdoor space is limited, you can grow things in your own personal garden using your old innerspring to create a vertical “growing wall.” It’s a great idea for herbs, flowers, or vegetables.
  • Turn into holiday decorations. The possibilities for this are only limited by your imagination. The innerspring coils provide numerous options, when broken down, to create beautiful holiday décor.
  • Use to create vertical storage or organizational space. With all the coils and springs, your old innerspring mattress can easily become storage space for craft supplies, garage supplies, and countless other odds and ends around the home.
  • Create a swinging “bed.” While your mattress may not be a great place to sleep the night away, it can become a fun place to swing, either hanging from a tree, suspended from a base designed just for that purpose, or on your front porch.
  • Convert into lawn furniture. A can of rust-proof spray paint in a bright, whimsical color, and you can turn your old innerspring into a funky table for outdoor entertaining.
  • Turn it into a memory wall. This can be a great idea for a teen’s room. Attach the frame to a wall with a few string lights woven through, and use clothes pins (or lighted clothes pins) to attach photos, ticket stubs, and other mementos.
  • Hang it in your laundry room. Here the innerspring frame can pull double duty as a flat drying rack for sweaters and such, and a place where you can hang clothing coming out of the dryer to avoid wrinkles.
  • Create interesting headboards. You can either cover the springs with fabric, or attach wood to them to create interesting headboards for your bed.

When you use these ideas to repurpose or upcycle your innerspring coils and frame, you should have no trouble finding new ways to use the padding. Even if you are unable to do so, you’ve reduced the total amount of waste going to the landfill on a massive scale.

Memory Foam Mattresses

The foam from mattresses offers other interesting options when it comes to reusing and repurposing. These are a few quick options to consider for recycling and upcycling your old memory foam mattress.

  • Construct comfortable pet beds for your pets. You only need to cut the foam down to an appropriate size, and add a durable (and washable) cover.
  • Create stuffing for pillows and other items. Simply shred the foam into much smaller pieces, and use it to stuff seat cushions, throw pillows, and other padded items.
  • Make a padded bench for the foot of your bed. Cut the foam to an appropriate size, and attach to the top of a bench. Then, upholster the bench.
  • Use the foam for insulation or soundproofing. Whether you’re trying to insulate your garage, a small workshop, or just want to add a little soundproofing to a kid’s playroom or garage band area, the foam from your memory foam mattress can help.
  • Make sleep mats for your children. This is great if you have frequent sleepovers, or even if you go camping. You can use the foam to provide a comfortable foundation, and sew a removable cover for easy washing.
  • Make a cushioning surface for footrests. If you’re like many people, nothing feels better than putting your feet up after a long workday. Adding a memory foam topper to your favorite footrests adds a new layer of comfort.
  • Create your own lumbar support pillow. This is a beneficial use for memory foam that is practical and beneficial. You could also use your memory foam to make a neck pillow to use when traveling.

As you can see, memory foam mattresses provide many upcycling options to consider as well.

Latex Foam Mattresses

When using 100 percent natural latex foam mattresses, the opportunities are endless. Not only do you have the advantage of a mattress that is 100 percent recyclable, but you also have the knowledge that this mattress can last 15 years or even longer before the supportive latex foam begins breaking down. Even so, these are a few ideas to consider for upcycling or reusing your old latex foam mattress.

  • Put it in a guest room. Seriously, with such a long-lasting mattress, the odds are good that your guests can get a few more miles out of your old mattress.
  • Pass it down to a child. Young children do not require quite the same amount of support that adults need in a mattress. Even if your latex mattress isn’t offering the same degree of support you and your partner require, the odds are good that it will be more than enough for your children.
  • Use the foam to create stuffing for your other furniture items. From chair pillows to lumbar support cushions, to dog beds, and more, latex foam is an excellent choice.
  • Donate to a “waste-to-energy” plant. Your old latex mattress can be transformed into clean energy that is used to power farms, factories, and more.

Latex foam lasts a long time, and the fact that it is so easily recycled into other useful forms makes it an attractive option for people who aren’t craftily inclined.

Of course, there are things you can do with all types of mattresses that will give them new lives, such as donating them (call first, as some places are no longer accepting mattresses), selling them, or paying to have them removed from your home. The fact remains that there are many things you can do with your old mattress that do not require landfills.

Patrick Gunther

Patrick is an accomplished writer. He has been in the retail mattress space for the past 13 years, and more specifically in the natural mattress niche. He blogs on the subjects of natural mattresses, sleep, health, fitness, and green living.