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Fun and Fresh Uses for Reclaimed Wood in Your House

Linda is a seasoned writer and home-decorating authority. She loves sharing design trends, decor ideas, and useful tips with her readers.

How to Use Reclaimed Wood in Your Home Decor

Touches of old, reclaimed wood add personality to any style of home, whether it is a brand new, cookie-cutter tract home or a 1930s bungalow. Wood instantly warms up a room and gives the space a homey, historic feel.

However, using recycled wood in your home can do much more beyond simple aesthetics. Using salvaged wood also helps the planet. It is the perfect sustainable choice for homeowners who are into making the world a greener, healthier place. Think of the trees that will be saved by incorporating old timber into your home renovation project.

1. Look for Reclaimed Wood Furniture and Accessories

Finding sources for reclaimed wood products has become easier than it used to be. In the furniture and accessories arena, salvage companies can create everything from vintage wood picture frames to massive headboards made from weathered barn siding. You can even source salvaged lumber to make your own dining table.

Visit local architectural salvage dealers and antique stores for reclaimed wood treasures. You can use them as they were intended, such as an old wine rack and a wooden chair or repurpose them to suit your personal decor needs. Take that antique wood picture frame and give it a new lease on life. Transform it into a stylish mirror frame for your family room.

As an alternative to reclaimed wood you can visit furniture stores and look for manufacturers that use sustainable wood products. Choose furniture pieces that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC label lets you know that the wood meets environmentally responsible practices from harvesting to manufacture to market.

If you're a handy person you can make basic furniture pieces and simple accessories for the home.

If you're a handy person you can make basic furniture pieces and simple accessories for the home.

2. Use Recycled Wood Doors

Tired of the cheap, flimsy, hollow core doors in your house? Add character and weight by replacing them with solid wood doors milled decades ago by skilled craftsmen. You can choose from intricate or simple designs. Think outside the box and consider using large-scale wood doors from sheds and barns as sliding doors to close off your office space or master bedroom suite.

The good news is that salvage yards and architectural deconstruction businesses have doors in every shape, size, color and finish. Using these eco-friendly vintage doors will give your plain Jane home a sense of history and prominence. Be aware that installing an antique wooden door in an existing opening may require construction abilities beyond the scope of a do-it-yourselfer.

Proper door sizing and hanging means taking exact measurements and making the necessary cuts and adjustments. You will also need a door frame that closely matches the wood of your reclaimed door. The choice of hardware is up to you. You can either add period hardware or find a contemporary style to create an eclectic look.

Recycled door can be used for tabletops or to replace cheap hollow core doors.

Recycled door can be used for tabletops or to replace cheap hollow core doors.

3. Use Reclaimed Wood Architectural Elements

Another way to add architectural significance to a boring white room is to bring in reused lumber as flooring, wall and ceiling elements. Find companies that specialize in reclaimed wood planks and siding from old homes, barns and industrial buildings. They transform these cast-off wood items into usable lumber for flooring, paneling or ceiling beams.

Lumber reclamation has become big business. There is a huge demand for old wood in new construction. Lumber salvage companies carefully remove old wood floors and siding for use in new projects. This painstaking removal process takes time and the associated labor costs are passed on to you.

Using reclaimed lumber is obviously more expensive than purchasing new wood flooring. Do your homework and compare costs before beginning a major project. A nice compromise might be using old lumber for ceiling beams and using FSC wood flooring with a similar texture and color. Remember, with of the look of vintage lumber comes inherent flaws. Decide if imperfection is a good fit with your design sensibility.

Reclaimed wood can be transformed into flooring, wall panels and ceilings.

Reclaimed wood can be transformed into flooring, wall panels and ceilings.

4. Use Reclaimed Wood Outside the House

Let’s step outside for a moment and look at some of the uses for old wood that can beautify your exterior spaces. Salvaged lumber is a great choice for decking and porches. Reclaimed pieces of timber can also dress up your garden beds when used as garden edging.

Using old wood will be exposed to the elements so make sure it's a weather hardy species like cedar or cypress. Choose wood that was previously used in an exterior application and thoroughly inspect it for deterioration of any kind and insect infestation.

Reclaimed cedar will resist insects and rot.

Reclaimed cedar will resist insects and rot.

How Much Do You Know About Reclaimed Wood?

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. 1. What exactly is reclaimed wood?
    • Wood that someone has claimed.
    • It's been salvaged from old buildings or repurposed in one way or another.
  2. 2. How could reclaimed wood have issues?
    • The wood might need counseling.
    • It could be problematic because of poor milling, damage or rot.
  3. 3. What does FSC certified mean?
    • Forest Stewardship Council.
    • Fair Share Company.
  4. 4. Will reclaimed wood ever run out?
    • It may run away from home.
    • As time goes by there it will always be available.
  5. 5. Is reclaimed wood expensive?
    • Most reclaimed wood is expensive depending on the species, availability, sourcing, remilling and quality inspections.
    • It depends on how much money you earn.
  6. 6. How old is reclaimed wood?
    • Reclaimed wood is considered at least 100 years or older.
    • Around 20 years old.
  7. 7. What are the most available reclaimed wood species?
    • Redwood, oak, cedar, pine and teak.
    • Hard to find exotic wood.
  8. 8. How do I go about buying reclaimed wood?
    • Go to the reclaimed wood store.
    • Research salvage companies and individuals that source old wood.
  9. 9. Where does reclaimed wood come from?
    • From post-consumer or post-industrial, which means it's reclaimed from barns, houses or commercial buildings.
    • It comes from the forest.
  10. 10. Can reclaimed wood change colors?
    • It can change color and become more weathered if it is in the outdoor elements.
    • It has changed colors a long time ago.
  11. 11. Is reclaimed wood just a fad?
    • Reclaimed wood is yesterday's trend.
    • It is extremely popular and it's not going out of style any time soon.

Answer Key

  1. It's been salvaged from old buildings or repurposed in one way or another.
  2. It could be problematic because of poor milling, damage or rot.
  3. Forest Stewardship Council.
  4. As time goes by there it will always be available.
  5. Most reclaimed wood is expensive depending on the species, availability, sourcing, remilling and quality inspections.
  6. Reclaimed wood is considered at least 100 years or older.
  7. Redwood, oak, cedar, pine and teak.
  8. Research salvage companies and individuals that source old wood.
  9. From post-consumer or post-industrial, which means it's reclaimed from barns, houses or commercial buildings.
  10. It can change color and become more weathered if it is in the outdoor elements.
  11. It is extremely popular and it's not going out of style any time soon.

© 2019 Linda Chechar

Start a Conversation!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on February 10, 2019:

Dianna, you're welcome. I think that raised bed will be a nice landscape addition with reclaimed wood beams.

Dianna Mendez on February 10, 2019:

I am thinking of building a raised vegetable bed and using reclaimed wood is such a good idea for this. Thank you for the suggestion.

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on January 20, 2019:

Liz, indeed it is. Wish I had that skill level.

Liz Westwood from UK on January 20, 2019:

My neighbour constructed a 'man cave' at the end of his garden out of reclaimed wood. We also have relatives who are very skilled at remodelling wood. It is a great gift to have.