5 Unexpected Ways to Use Salvaged Wood in Your Decor


Reclaimed wood has recently become a huge trend within rustic and farmhouse-style homes. I always loved my grandparents’ house, which had beams from railroad ties and a mantel from an old cabin. When I built my own home in Georgia, I found beautiful pieces of wood in my grandfather’s workshop that I was happy to incorporate. Adding these details is easier than you might think! Most projects can be completed in a day, and a nail gun can get the job done. All of the hardware is easily found online and at home-improvement stores. Read on to learn how to become a salvaged-wood design expert.

Where to source salvaged wood

Not everyone has a treasure trove of materials, but there are many places to find salvaged wood. Pallets can be used in a variety of ways and are easy to find online and from local businesses. Architectural salvage stores, Etsy, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace are all great resources. Property owners often sell (or give away) barn wood in order to remove it, but some may ask you to disassemble it. Either way, make sure you look for bugs and nails before using any salvaged wood.


This is the easiest way to incorporate salvaged wood, especially if you have uniform pieces. In my home, I used a live-edge piece of red oak for a shelf with simple black brackets. I also made an outdoor counter under my kitchen window with a thick piece for additional bar seating.

“With more time in the kitchen and a newfound love of display-worthy handmade items, we are finding that clients still really love open shelving,” says Christi Barbour of Barbour Spangle, a North Carolina–based design studio. “The use of reclaimed wood is the perfect way to incorporate some natural texture and warmth.”

Because of the fragile nature of the wood, it’s best not to overload the shelf—so think about what spaces would work best. Find the right bracket, like an L-shaped matte black or brass one. Floating shelves are another option, depending on the quality of the wood. Mark your desired spot with a pencil and use a level to make sure they’re even before drilling into the studs.


Turns out you don’t have to be a woodworker to build your own furniture. Gordon Cortez, owner of the Atlanta-based furniture company Lamon Luther, recommends sticking with traditional hardwoods like oak, maple, and hickory for indoor furniture. He adds, “Antique heart pine is another great option often used in reclaimed wood furniture.”

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