Home decorators and ordinary mortals who just love to jazz up their rooms are going bonkers for vintage-looking, slightly distressed wood furniture that has the added bonus of being eco-friendly. The phrase on everyone's lips is "reclaimed wood," which appears in so many luxury furniture catalogs that it has become really difficult to distinguish between this type of lumber and every other wood on Earth.

So, what exactly is reclaimed wood? And why is it so darn special?

Reclaimed wood is pretty much what it sounds like: wood that has been saved and is being reused and re-purposed. Most of the wood used comes from old barn houses, warehouses, and even boxcars. It's unusual and extraordinary because it was taken from trees that took several hundred years to grow and were more resistant to mold and insects than trees that are grown today.

Oftentimes, the wood that is reclaimed is known for its durability -- longleaf pine and hard maple are good examples -- or is incredibly rare: anything made from American chestnut is going to cost you because a chestnut blight that spread across the country in the early 1900s killed billions of American chestnut trees.

Saved wood is seasoned and air-dried and sometimes even kiln-dried to make sure it has the same moisture content throughout. Like vintage clothing, furniture made from reclaimed wood tells a little story about its past. It contains charming imperfections and nicks that are smoothed over, but not erased. The price tag on these babies proves they aren't budget-friendly pieces, but how nice would it be to own one or two really great tables or chairs made from reclaimed wood?

Here's a look at 6 beautiful pieces of furniture that are made from reclaimed wood.

Do you like the look of reclaimed wood? Do you own anything that is made from reclaimed wood?

 

Image via Tim Robbins/Mint Images/Corbis