7 Uses For Reclaimed Wood in Your Home

7 Uses For Reclaimed Wood in Your Home


Emily is a sustainability freelance writer and the editor of Conservation Folks.

Perhaps you’ve chosen to build a new home from the ground up. Thankfully, construction is moving right along. Structural walls are assembled, and insulation is installed. HVAC furnace, water boiler, ductwork and plumbing systems are all waiting final inspection, and the electrician is just finishing up. Now comes the part you love best — adding exciting design touches.

Maybe your home needs a redo. It was a perfect little house before the kids and dog came along. Comfortable and clean, peaceful and sweet. But now both living and storage space is quickly disappearing, and your stuff is piling up everywhere. You can’t seem to find anything, and the furniture is getting hopelessly scratched up. Never mind your poor floors.

Whether you’re building new or renovating, consider using stable, sustainable materials in your design plans.

Old Growth Hardwood

The lumber trade of the late 1900’s and early 2000’s harvested old growth hardwood trees. Hardwood timber is more dense, durable, rot and termite-resistant than native softwoods, such as pine, used in mainstream carpentry today. Old growth forests house thickly-crowded trees which mature slowly in shady conditions. Replanting felled hardwoods requires many years to achieve fruition.

Reclaimed Wood

Due to the superior durability and resilience of hardwood, it’s not uncommon to find old farms, barns, factories, ships and deserted warehouses with intact wood planking despite structural devastation. Proper cleaning, sanding and either a finish to enhance color or just for protection is all these reclaimed pieces need to stand well into the next century.


Using reclaimed wood saves the earth from further excavation. It decreases the need for fossil fuel-run conversion of trees to limber as well as subsequent shipping activity. In fact, reclaimed wood requires 11 to 13 times less energy than virgin lumber to process overall.

Reclaimed wood has been-there and done that. Its characteristic genuine patina shows evidence of a history that can only be guessed. As design components, reclaimed wood pieces add distinctive character and charm.

Here are 7 ways reclaimed wood can be used to strikingly accent your home.

1) Beamed or Planked Ceiling

Reclaimed wood that will not be walked on can be left in its original state. Consider adding chunky beams to a kitchen or living room ceiling. Doing so has the effect of drawing the eye up and making the room appear elongated vertically.

If you have many planks you can cover the entire ceiling. Place mismatched planks together to create a patchwork look. You will feel as though you’ve walked into a fairytale cottage!

2) Accent Wall

Another spot where reclaimed timber won’t be touched is on a planked accent wall. Often wood pieces are found in a variety of painted, non-painted or distressed states. Leaving the wood as is, create an accent wall that highlights the play between texture and washed-out color. Make sure you choose a wall that you want to be the focal point of your room, because it will be!

3) Headboard

You can create a headboard out of reclaimed wood planks in a single day as a do-it-yourself project. Include family members and design an heirloom-worthy piece. Consider painting headboard pieces to coordinate your bedroom color scheme, or leave them untreated for a more natural look. Combine your wood element with a contrasting material such as a metal bed frame or glass light fixture.

4) Kitchen Island

The perfect warm accessory to shiny tile and stainless steel, placement of a central wooden accent in your kitchen is a savvy design move. Consider piecing together a reclaimed kitchen island. Pull up some bar stools and top it off with granite for the ultimate hangout spot.

5) Table

Another time-efficient DIY project, construction of a side or coffee table, even a small dining or eat-in surface requires only rudimentary carpentry skills and basic tools.  Sometimes planking size and availability necessarily dictate table dimensions. You may find yourself creating a unique piece first, then finding its ideal niche later!

6) Shelves

Wide, chunky reclaimed beams look perfectly charming when used as rustic shelving for fine antique collectibles or treasured books. If you have a metal industrial stand, consider cutting rough planks to act as slide-in shelves. Got a thin sliver of beam? Hang it at child height in your mudroom and attach hooks for jackets and book bags.

7) Flooring

The age-old standard for wood planking, floors made with reclaimed pieces have added appeal. Consider creating a herringbone pattern with narrow planks, or slightly angling timber to create a fluid feel, like being on a vessel ship.

Reclaimed wood brings strength, durability and priceless history into your home. Not only do reclaimed wooden pieces stand up to everyday wear and tear, they incorporate it into their never-ending story.


Emily is a sustainability freelance writer and the editor of Conservation Folks.

Katie Gannon

After running an ethical fashion label for 5 years, I started this blog in 2007 after learning first hand about the importance of sustainability in fashion design. I am a passionate environmentalist and wish to promote individuals and organisations around the world working on innovative design. I have a BA in Communications / Media as well as a Cert IV in Clothing Production, and run my own graphic design company at www.katiegannon.com

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