Regardless of whether you have an older home or are building a brand-new one, reclaimed wood is an excellent architectural and décor accent that can add personality, interest, and uniqueness to your abode. But what exactly is reclaimed wood? Loosely defined, it’s wood that has been used in previous building or woodworking projects, and it’s often found at recycling centers, at the junkyard, from properties with old or demolished buildings, or even online.
A word of caution, though: with the explosion in popularity of reclaimed wood, growing demand has also caused a surge in reclaimed lumber from questionable sources that are of low quality. That’s why it’s important to know what to look for – and to go through a reputable dealer you can trust, such as Bingham Lumber. If you happen to have your own source for reclaimed wood, here are some helpful tips for choosing good wood:
- Make sure the wood is dry and tight. Damp or degraded wood are signs that it is less than optimal and no amount of sanding and refinishing is going to fix that.
- Make sure the wood is stable. Check for things like soft or moldy spots and active insect holes.
- Have a good idea of what you’re looking for. Want a western, frontier effect? Look for rougher, weathered reclaimed barn wood. Attempting a softer, antique look? Select gently worn, smoother wood, such as reclaimed hardwood flooring.
- Be safety-conscious. Some reclaimed wood has old nails, screws, and bits of wire still embedded in it. Be sure to carefully examine your wood and remove any potentially-dangerous items. Old paint could contain lead that should be carefully removed.
Once you have your reclaimed wood in hand, here are 8 ways you can incorporate it into your home to create a variety of different effects:
- Kitchen island paneling Center islands can be functional and fashionable. Use reclaimed wood to cover the sides of your kitchen island and dramatically change the appearance of what is probably the most popular room in your home.
- Kitchen and bathroom cabinets Similar in effect as covering a center island, cabinets faced with reclaimed wood oozes rustic charm. Add simple, iron knobs or pulls to complete the look.
- Room accent wall Reclaimed wood with distinctive markings such as knots, a deep grain, and contrasting visual textures can complement all kinds of furniture and turn a room from drab to dramatic. Makes a great backdrop for a bed or sofa.
- Exterior siding This requires just the right structure, but exterior siding reclaimed from old barn siding can be used just like traditional wood siding. This might work best for a rustic summer home in the woods or mountains, a small getaway cabin, or even a backyard shed.
- A western bar Forget tiki-, Vegas- or sports-themed bars – a walkup bar with rustic hand-hewn beams and reclaimed wood cabinets and paneling creates an authentic western feel that’s just right for conjuring up images of thirsty cowboys ponying up to the bar for a drink.
- Built-in beds Make simple, solid platform beds with drawers underneath for durable, cost-efficient sleeping space in a kid’s bedroom or guest room.
- Wood beam accents Reclaimed structural beams can add sturdy charm as a fireplace mantel, a base for mounting ceiling lights and, in the right situation, a structural element for a weight-bearing wall and ceiling or roof beam.
- Stairway accent Many homeowners like to hang photos or artwork on stairway walls – but why put them on a boring painted wall when you can give them a dramatic backdrop with reclaimed wood paneling?
Learn more about these and other tips for using reclaimed wood in and around your home – better yet, stop by Bingham Lumber and talk with our helpful reclaimed wood experts.