How to use old wood to make your home look new again

In this modern age people are embracing more and more aspects of sustainability. The concept of reduce, reuse, and recycle is finding its way into many aspects of our lives. These practices not only help to contribute to the reduction of waste but they can also save money. I’m sharing this concept with you because I completed a project where I built a new dining room table with wood from an 80-year old barn. It turned out awesome! I will be sharing the process of building it soon (also images).

These sustainability practices are becoming increasingly popular in the realm of home improvement. Recycled and upcycled items are snapped up at flea markets and yard sales and find a new life in our homes. These items range from tables that are spruced up with a fresh coat of stain or paint to antique glass bowls and dishes that simply need a new home.

One of the fastest growing trends in the upcycling movement is reclaimed wood. Found in a variety of places, old wood can be transformed into almost anything with just a little know-how and ample time to take on the project.

If you’d like to learn more about how reclaimed wood can not only beautify your home but can also save money on home improvement projects, consider some of these tips that will have you reaching for a hammer and nails in no time.


One of the most popular and beautiful ways to use reclaimed wood is for flooring. Old wood has a striking, weathered appearance that just can’t be matched by newer materials. Wood siding from an old home, existing flooring from an old home that is set to be demolished, or even old lumber can be gorgeously reused for flooring in your home.

Unless you’re already a skilled carpenter you might need to hire a professional carpenter to cut and fit the pieces, but the result will be much less expensive than if you purchased new flooring materials.


Many people might recall their college days when pallets and crates were used as ramshackle furniture during lean times. Now these items are used in a much more upscale way, and with beautiful results.

Wooden pallets and fruit crates can be used as the base for seating arrangements, stained or painted and hung on the wall as shelving, or they can be taken apart and used to fashion cabinet doors. If you can find a large slab of wood it’s easy to stain and seal it, then attach legs for a very unique and rustic table. The best part is that since you’d be working with smaller pieces of wood these projects can easily be handled by one or two people with minimal tools.

Decorative Items

Reclaimed wood can be used for a host of decorative items, and creating them can become a fun DIY project. The aforementioned crates and pallets can be turned into picture frames, toy boxes or chests, or anything you can imagine. Have fun with the idea and let the wood be your inspiration.

Driftwood can be especially beautiful for decorative items. As its natural shape doesn’t lend itself well to items with straight lines and sharp corners, you can still let your imagination run wild.

Where to Find Reclaimed Wood

How to find reclaimed woodReclaimed wood is not hard to find, especially as more people are realizing the value of it and offer it for sale. If you live near a port or a boatyard, it’s worth a trip to inquire about available wood from old boats, or wooden crates that have been used for shipping. Just be sure to ask if the crates have been chemically treated or if they were used to haul any hazardous materials.

Old barns are exceptional sites to get your hands on old wood, and much of it has a beautiful, weathered patina. Take a drive around the countryside and if you spot an old, dilapidated barn approach the landowner to ask if they are willing to sell the wood. You may be able to walk away with all the wood you need for a very low price. Just be sure that you use caution, especially if you’re removing beams. The structural integrity of the building isn’t likely to be as safe as it once was. This is what we did, but my friend and I were able to get the wood for free. It was before the owner had it burned by the fire department. We were allowed to grab all the wood we wanted.

Gorgeous, inexpensive, and great for the environment, reclaimed wood is the perfect choice for almost all of your home improvement projects. Choose your project, begin your search for materials, and watch the beauty of old wood transform your home in a wonderful way.