The Truth Behind the 'Reclaimed Wood' Craze: Is It Worth All the Fuss? (PHOTOS)

Lisa Fogarty | Mar 5, 2014 Home & Garden
The Truth Behind the 'Reclaimed Wood' Craze: Is It Worth All the Fuss? (PHOTOS)

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

  • An End Table That Was Once a Farmhouse


    This bedside end table certainly has "distressed cool" going for it. Its wood once belonged to an Oklahoma farm house ($399.04 at Sierra Living Concepts).

  • Rustic Stand for Your TV


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    Anyone into "shabby chic" would take this reclaimed wood three-door TV stand over a flawless-looking one ($1,116.99 at I'm guessing it'll be difficult for guests to keep their eye on the movie playing when your TV is stacked on top of this unusual piece.

  • High-Drama Headboard


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    This piece proves reclaimed wood doesn't always have to resemble denim pants worn by Johnny Depp. Reclaimed teak wood has been assembled in a way that really gives depth to this headboard ($579 at Perfect if you're going for modern country.

  • Coffee Table Straight From a Forest


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    This Lumpang coffee table was originally used as a tool to smash rice into flour! Be sure to tell people that as they place glasses of wine (on coasters, please!) atop this gorgeous, plucked-straight-from-the-woods coffee table ($423.54 at

  • Something Borrowed, Something Blue Bookcase


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    This bookcase is special because it takes old wood and adds a modern, nautical spin to it ($2,765.99 at Perfect for the beach house I will need to buy to go with it.

  • A Dresser That Matches Your Cowboy Boots


    This reclaimed nine-drawer wood dresser, which was taken from barn wood, features a choice of hand-stitched leather insets. The designer was inspired by a pair of cowboy boots that once belonged to his grandmother. You don't get any cooler than than ($1,819 at

decorating dining room furniture going green living room

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