Objects that have developed alternative uses


I am currently studying for a master’s in Interaction Design and am investigating how we attach emotions to inanimate objects.

Currently I am looking at how objects can take on new functions through user interpretation, desire and need. An example of this is using a beer mat to prop up a wobbly table. Another example could be using a chair as a ladder. These uses were not originally considered in the design of the product but through user experience it can be said that if you are sitting at a wobbly table in a pub the first thing you do is look for a beer mat or if you need to change a lightbulb but can’t reach and don’t have a ladder then you look for a chair.

I am looking for you lovely people to suggest other objects that have taken on alternative uses through user experience. Objects that were designed for one purpose but we now equally associate them for alternative uses.


Pencil or wooden ruler as back scratcher
Paper has millions of unintended uses
Coffee mug as desktop planter box
Bicycle inner tube used as trunk tie down

Just the first few I could think of…