17 Unusual Ways to Use Coffee in Your Daily Life
Coffee is universal in this day and age, and with the need to function in a fast-paced world, it’s no wonder we have plenty of it around.
But don’t just toss extra beans or grounds away. Yesterday’s trash from making your ice cold liqueur or latte could be today’s treasure. If you’re looking for unique ways to change things up a bit - and maybe inject your love of coffee into the look of your space - consider some of these projects. They are quick and easy and can really give you a new perspective on one of the oldest drinks in the world!
1. Make Disposable Candle Holder Bowls...
Sure, you could spend tons of cash on those fancy coffee-scented candles or, heck, even make your own coffee scented candles, but to save money and avoid the mess, whip up these awesome coffee bean candle holders that can easily be taken apart when you’re done.
Make your next get-together look and smell wicked! I bet your guests will ask how you made them.
2. ...Or Disposable Hurricane Candle Holders
If your tastes run to something a little fancier than simple bowls filled with coffee beans and candles, then try these DIY hurricane jars! They can usually be found in a range of sizes, so find some to suit your space.
Fill with beans and top with a candle! The best part about these is that you can tailor them to the holidays. String a festive ribbon around the neck of each one to go with any holiday of the year. Tip: for a more rustic look, use Mason jars.
3. You Can Even Make Your Own Candles!
You don’t have to be particularly crafty to create this look. Use a grinder to crush the beans, or even use used coffee grounds, and glue or melt them into candle wax for a spectacular “black tie” lighting option (1).
Dress up any occasion from a friendly gathering to a wedding shower with a warm light and a welcoming aroma. It’s simple and organic, and it creates an ambience your guests will talk about for days! Or use them on your own time, maybe around a bubble bath to ease the mind and invigorate the soul. It looks impressive and costs little.
4. Make Coffee Beans Classy with Paint!
If you’re looking for a way to add a little shock of color to your life without spending a fortune — and want the added benefit of a pleasant smell — find the can or pail of paint that suits your fancy, and get busy!
Coat them with one layer for a rustic look or two for a chrome-like gloss, and watch the metamorphosis. And unlike beads and other purchases, they won’t break if they spill.
5. Move over, Macaroni!
"Vice and virtue are to the artist materials for an art.” -Oscar Wilde
Coffee is one of the most common vices in the world, so why not use it to reflect the "inner artist" in you? Macaroni has long been a medium for artistic practice, not just for kids.
Why not update the medium and create your own masterpiece with a few extra beans lying around? Whether creating a design or an image, you’ll have a center for jovial conversation the next time your in-laws drop by unexpectedly, or something to distract from an awkward moment during a deep conversation.
6. You can Paint Like Picasso...
This is a gorgeous way to reuse old coffee grounds (or new beans if you feel like it). The stronger the mixture of water to coffee, the darker the “paint,” and you could make some seriously amazing art with it.
Similar to water colors, but a style all its own, anything you create with this technique is sure to wow your guests.
7. ...And Make a Coffee Stain Watercolor
Want to truly liberate your inner designer? Know how to wield a watercolor brush? Get some parchment, pull up a pedestal, and plant yourself in front of a piece of paper. But be sure to bring along the water and the beans — or the leftover coffee from last night’s pot.
You can stain a beautiful image that can really add character to your space, whether by hanging it in your living room or dining area for display or tucked into your office or bedroom for your own personal pleasure. I bet every time you look at your creation, it’ll put a smile on your face!
8. Think Outside the Box
You’ve heard all the reasons you should keep things like egg shells, vinegar, and baking soda around the house, right? Did you know there were just as many reasons to keep old coffee grounds?
Not only is coffee good for you, but the grounds can make better smells, household projects, and even protect plants — these are just a few things you can do with the coffee grounds you thought about tossing in the garbage (2).
Sure, keep them in the coffeemaker an extra day, and percolate through them one more time. But that doesn’t mean those grounds are all washed up. Save a little cash and take the organic route.
9. Try Making a Round Coffee Bean Coaster
Reduce, reuse, recycle: with this project, you can take care of Planet Earth and cry a little less over those old discs that just don’t work.
All you need — aside from a clumsy hand with DVDs and CDs — is a little glue. Oh, and a bit of a coffee habit. Now, you’ve got coasters that give your coffee beans and old discs a new purpose — protecting your surfaces from the next coffee spill. Got a little paint? Dress it up, and make it colorful!
10. Try Making a Square Coffee Bean Coaster
Like the project above, it just takes a little recycling of old items that no longer fill their original use. Same principle, different medium. Use an old mouse pad as a square base for coffee bean coasters. Or glue a broken jewel case together from and make it the base for your new project.
Got some old cardboard and scissors? This will do the trick, too. Or cover a leftover ceramic tile from a kitchen or bath project (just remember to use those stick-on felt pads underneath to avoid scratching your furniture). Use your imagination and your favorite pastime, and you’ve got the perfect addition to your conversation and coffee nook!
Okay, so we touched on the idea earlier, but let’s take it a step further. Don’t stop with the “idea” or “hint” of coffee in your candles. With a little more preparation, you can make a layered creation that burns with the scent of that delectable coffee-house aroma.
"To me, the smell of fresh-made coffee is one of the greatest inventions." -Hugh Jackman
Get the background delight of the café in your own private, quiet space, and add a little mood lighting while you’re at it! Make sure to gather all your supplies first, and get ready to have a blast. There’s nothing like working with wax and beans to pacify your inner muse.
In this day and age, the bright white doily might be a bit pretentious. But echoing back to an era of the recent past could add the right amount of character to your design. It’s simple, really, and cheaper than almost anything else you can do.
Think of it as "antiquing" without the dust and digging through old trunks.
A few minutes with some old coffee grounds or the remainder of the pot, and you’ve got “vintage” doilies at hand! The stain is perfect for aging anything, so pair it with a pretty coffee-stain painting on the wall.
13. Pamper Your Pooch
We all love our furry friends, and sometimes the dander buildup in fur, or long hair clumping, can cause itchy, irritated skin. Remember, we can use grounds as an exfoliant, and the same is true for our four-legged companions. Our friends over at Wiley Pup (3) told us about this cool little four legged hack.
Give them a good, soothing scrub, and rid your puppy of itches and unpleasant smells. You’ll see a rejuvenation in the furry family friend, your dog happier and healthier overall. And it didn’t cost you a red cent to give your pooch a spa treatment!
14. Make a Gorgeous Centerpiece
Design elements like these don’t come cheap, even if you make them yourself with pieces collected from your local craft store. Save a few bucks on the parts by replacing expensive beads and confetti with beans!
Add new beans or create a completely different design for a new seasonal look. It’s a great way to constantly update your space without a lot of hassle or expense.
It’s natural to dump the grounds and the remnants in the bottom of the coffee pot as you go through your day, but consider the upside of stashing the stuff. Rather than using chemicals everywhere that can leave a noxious odor and taint your living space, create an abrasive cleaner with the coffee grounds.
You can scrub tools, dishes, and silverware, removing tarnish like your apricot scrub cleans the dead skin from your face! Make your tools shine again, and clean surfaces without the odor of bleach and cleaner!
16. To Go with Your Painting, Stain Your Linens
I never thought I’d see the day when I became a fan of vintage and antique décor. In truth, I’m not a big proponent of taking the time to care for real antiques, but I sure do appreciate the look I get from staining some of my linens to look old.
If you’re like me, you love the bright white of a new tablecloth or pair of socks but instantly regret using it the first time it gets washed because it comes back dingy. Avoid the disappointment by purposely removing the need for it to glow like it’s fresh out of a dentist’s office, maintaining character without worrying about accidental stains and dinginess!
Aesthetically pleasing and aromatically soothing, this is a project that has a great deal of flexibility. Since tea lights are unscented, pick any color you like to match existing décor or pop a bright color in the midst of earth tones. And with all the varieties of flavors in coffee today, have fun choosing the potpourri you want to scent the air.
Straight coffee beans can be great, or you can opt for vanilla, hazelnut, or whatever pleases your palette. Create a piece that blends and catches attention in any shape or size!
Life hacks don’t suit me if they’re simply for the sake of hacking. But every once in a while, I find a new, bright idea that tickles my fancy. Take advantage of the opportunity to hack your life a little. Don’t pay a fortune for bistro bling when you can make it yourself with elements in your home. Coffee is something hundreds of millions of people have in common. What’s not common is how we use it. Make your mark, and find a new spin on an old design using coffee!
Did you enjoy this list of awesome and unique ways to reuse coffee beans and grounds in your daily life? Try some and let us know how it turned out!
Can I use coffee grounds as compost?
You can use coffee grounds as compost. It's a great way to recycle coffee beans into your home garden, whether you grow vegetables or flowers. Coffee grounds also make a great mulch for plants, and they are a great way to attract earthworms to your garden.
Can I use coffee grounds as a skin scrub?
You can use coffee grounds as a skin scrub. The natural texture of coffee grounds makes them an excellent exfoliant. Try mixing them with a little coconut or almond oil. The natural antioxidants in coffee can also help protect your skin from sun damage.
What can I use as a candle wick?
Use 100% cotton yarn as a candle wick. You can also use strips torn from cotton clothing or other fabric and twisted tightly. Using synthetic fabrics as a candle wick is not recommended, as some synthetic fabrics make black smoke and can produce hazardous fumes.
- How to Make a Coffee Candle. (2019, March 29). Retrieved from https://m.wikihow.com/Make-a-Coffee-Candle
- Han, E. (n.d.) Smelly hands? Remove food odors with coffee beans. Retrieved from https://www.thekitchn.com/remove-cooking-odors-with-coffee-beans-176856
- (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.wileypup.com/