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What Can I Do With Old Barn Wood?

by Jake Park 

Reclaimed barn wood is a trendy building material because of the growing interest in conserving the earth’s valuable resources by recycling. Vintage wood is also popular because it has become more plentiful as more farmers tear down barns that are no longer needed for modern agricultural processes. The increased supply has made barn wood an affordable choice.

Barn wood has a unique appearance that makes it perfect for a wide range of projects. It is ideal for indoor and outdoor use, and its applications are limited only by your imagination.

Reclaimed Wood Makes Ideal Shelving

Old barn wood is a great shelving material because it is easy to work with and is beautiful. Salvaged wood adds warm tones to spaces, and many boards include original sawing and milling marks that create interest.

Shelves are not difficult to create. Cut boards to the desired size, and then leave them in their natural state or finish the wood. Add a coat of paint or lacquer to create eye-catching floating or tiered shelves that look good in any room. Alternatively, professionals like Modern Timber Craft build barn wood shelves to order.

barnwood shelf

Build a Beautiful Wine Rack from Old Wood

It is also easy to make a wine rack using reclaimed wood. There are dozens of DIY sites online that provide patterns ranging from simple racks meant to hold two or three bottles, to elaborate designs that show off your collection. Barnwood wine racks are ideal for farmhouse kitchens, and you can put a simple version together in an hour or two.

Use Reclaimed Wood to Create a One-of-a-Kind Headboard

Boards taken from old barns are rarely a uniform color or texture, which makes them ideal for building custom headboards.

Dozens of online tutorials explain how to scrub, sand, and cut lumber into boards and then connect them to form headboards that retain the warmth and character of old wood. 

Reclaimed Wood Headboard

Barn Wood Mantles Add Charm

You can build a distinctive, affordable mantle from a single piece of reclaimed timber. A vintage wood mantle is a dramatic conversation piece that complements nearly any decorating style.

It is also surprisingly simple to create a reclaimed wood mantle. You can design one from a beam to get a rough-hewn look or put several pieces of lumber together for a more finished appearance.

Another option is to order a custom barn wood mantle from artisans such as Modern Timber Craft.

Vintage Wood Can Transform Into  Eye-Catching Wall Art

Barn wood makes terrific wall art. You can create designs with almost any piece of wood found in a barn.  Leave the original paint or markings on lumber, to create visual interest. 

For example, you can design your art by cutting lumber into pieces, connecting them in a herringbone or rectangular pattern, and then hand your work on the wall. The wood’s shades, glimpses of paint, and marks in lumber create a stunning effect. 

You can use lumber from anywhere in the barn. Combining wood from flooring, wallboards, parts of doors, and sections of windows can result in unexpected beauty.

reclaimed wood wall art

Use Salvaged Wood to Build Planters

Barn wood is the ideal material for projects like outdoor planters. The wood blends seamlessly into natural surroundings and is the perfect backdrop to show off your summer blooms.

One of the most appealing things about planter projects is that they are simple but have almost unlimited uses. For instance, you can build a simple, three-sided planter on a wooden fence and fill it full of colorful flowers. Create basic boxes from odd pieces of wood and use them as tree planters.

Construct a ladder with several planters and add it to your patio. Add legs to a simple barn wood box, and you have an elevated planter that is ideal for any outdoor areas.

Create a Room Divider with Reclaimed Wood

If you have a small space in your home and want to add privacy, a divider made from vintage wood solves your problem and gives the room character.

If you’re lucky enough to have an intact barn door, you can finish and hang it on hardware that allows the door to slide back and forth. A door can also be turned into a stationary partition. Even if you don’t have a complete door, building professionals offer tutorials that explain how to create a barn wood divider using reclaimed wood boards.

Barn Wood Is Perfect for Stairs

Reclaimed wooden stairs are very trendy now. Using barn wood is especially popular because it is affordable and gives stairs a striking appearance.

A green contractor can incorporate reclaimed wood into your home’s staircase or build the staircase entirely from vintage wood. Barn wood can be used to create gorgeous indoor stairways or sturdy outdoor steps. 

wood stairs

Create Stunning Tables from Ancient Barn Wood

Few things are as inviting and homey as a farmhouse table, and what better way to get an authentic look than to create a dining table from reclaimed barn wood?

Intact boards without large holes are ideal for the top, and a barn’s thick beams can be cut to form sturdy legs. If you make the table yourself, you can add a finish that shows off the wood’s markings and warmth.

Barn wood also makes beautiful coffee tables, kitchen islands, end tables, and nightstands. You can cut table tops and legs into the shapes you want or leave them as-is, for a natural look.

reclaimed wood island top

Turn Salvaged Wood Into Custom Flooring

Vintage wood flooring is an eco-friendly choice that gives any room a distinctive appearance. Your floors will retain the patina of old wood and the flaws and marks that tell the story of its history.

It is also easy to create a custom look using vintage lumber because you can select the boards. Using wide boards gives rooms an entirely different look than narrow ones. You also have a chance to put your stamp on floors by using boards to create custom patterns.

Installing vintage wood takes skill, so you may want to leave that to professionals who can finish flooring to your taste.  Today’s increased interest in eco-friendly building has created a demand for original barn wood. Using old barn wood saves natural resources and is affordable. The wood is beautiful and can be used in a variety of building projects that range from home construction to furnishings and art.

reclaimed wood flooring
Jake Park
I am a timber expert and serial woodworker dedicated to helping you get educated about the finest woods and materials in the world. Join in my journey on the Modern Timber Craft blog.

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