Reuse and Recycle: The Enduring Appeal of Reclaimed Wood

Hey everyone! How was your holiday? Matt and I had a blast visiting with family on our farm. Today I have a special treat for you... Eric from the Wrought Iron Lodge is here to bring your some awesome insight on decorating with reclaimed wood. Enjoy!

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Hi all! My name is Eric, and I’m a blogger and Community Manager for WroughtIronLodge.com. I’m a big fan of rustic decor, and I love to share ideas and inspiration with people who are looking for something a little different for their decorating needs . I’ve always loved the look of natural wood, and today I want to talk about using reclaimed wood to give your next project a unique and environmentally-friendly twist!

Reclaiming lumber may be one of the oldest recycling practices we have. For centuries, builders have reclaimed lumber from old warehouses, factories, barns, abandoned mining shafts and train boxcars. If the wood is in pristine condition, it can be used for structural purposes, but if it is weathered or age-damaged, it can still work beautifully when used in building projects such as cabinetry and furniture, flooring, architectural detailing and decorative accessories.

Over the past several decades, green building advocates have increasingly championed the use of recycled woods in all types of construction projects. Using recycled wood not only reduces radical harvesting in the world's forests; it also reduces waste because you're reusing material that is still good and sound enough to be utilized. Otherwise, these quality woods would be consigned to landfills or to disposal methods - such as burning - that leave an unnecessarily large carbon footprint on our planet.

In addition to its ecological benefits, reclaimed wood also offers more strength and durability than newer-harvested woods. This strength is due to the fact that the wood was harvested from trees that, years ago, were not subjected to the levels of air pollution that today's trees have to endure. Many homeowners and decorators prefer reclaimed wood because of its appearance. Like old silver, vintage wood acquires a certain patina that gives the surface an attractive warmth and beauty.

Reclaimed wood can create a stunning effect when used in room additions. In this photo, a breakfast nook has been built using rustic, weathered wood panels, which can be treated and then stained or left in their natural variegated colors.

To add a contemporary look to your room, create a wall using recycled wood scraps of varying lengths. These can be planed down to fit together. For visual appeal, use different-colored woods, as in this wall treatment pictured above.

Want to liven up your office space? If you're tired of boring fiberglass office furniture, create an innovative fresh take in your office design by using recycled wood pallets. In this photo, you can see that recycled industrial-strength wood pallets have been built up to create a multi-tiered platform that culminates into an attractive, functional desk surface.

Reclaimed wood doesn't have to look rustic to be used effectively in your home decor. If you want a smooth, sleek, contemporary look, recycle wood that's in good condition, then stain or paint it in modern colors and shades. The modular storage cabinet featured above is made of recycled wood panels, all treated with stains and paints in contemporary colors.

Recycling doesn't have to mean rebuilding. Even if you're not handy with tools and nails, you can still use recycled wood furnishings. This old wooden CD tower pictured above has been given a new life as a bathroom storage shelf. Just about any type of divided wood box can be repurposed into attractive shelving for your home. You can stain it or just leave it natural, with a little oil to bring out the beauty of the wood.

For the ultimate recycled wood project, we'd love to suggest something along the lines of the "tree" house pictured above, which is made entirely of reclaimed wood. Ambitious? Yes, but if you've got the time and the talent, you'll have a magnificent, one-of-a-kind creation that combines beauty with more than a touch of whimsy.

With its beauty, durability, affordability and eco-friendly properties, reclaimed wood offers a number of advantages over newly-harvested woods. Whether you're looking to build an addition to your home, redecorate an office, create extra shelving or add a new wall to your living spaces, you'll find that reclaimed wood can bring an unexpected versatility to all of your building projects

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