Reclaimed wood has become a hot commodity in home design. From hand scraped hardwood floors to up cycled barn beams and everything in between, unfinished, weathered wood has been embraced by homeowners and designers alike. But there are many different ways to decorate with reclaimed wood, and if you do it right, it can work with a surprisingly wide variety of different style homes.
The first thing you need to keep in mind when decorating with reclaimed wood is that quantity matters. The more wood you use, the more rugged and rustic the space will look. For an old fashioned farmhouse, feel free to cover almost every surface in reclaimed wood if you want. But for a more modern space, smaller wood accents can be just as effective, especially when offset by clean white walls. Installing a salvaged barn door and beams can add an earthy touch to a modern space; adding weathered wood floors and wall paneling, too, will have a much different final look.
Architectural features are the most obvious choices for a reclaimed wood accent, whether it’s floors, beams, doors, or window frames, but you don’t necessarily need to think quite so large-scale. In fact, one of the most popular ways to add a little reclaimed wood to a room is in the form of an accent wall or room divider. This works well because the amount of wood used is limited and isolated (particularly if the accent wall is a small one), but nicely visible. Adding a wood accent wall will give a nice natural texture to a room, and a sense of warmth even if the surrounding walls are plain white.
Similarly, reclaimed wood planks make an excellent stand in for traditional headboards. Depending on your own taste, a rustic wood headboard can be fairly small, acting as a rough counterpoint to the soft bed linens, or nearly as large as an accent wall in its own right, which will give the bed a grand appearance rather than a more humble and rustic one. Not only is this a great way to add a trendy accent to a master bedroom, it’s also an affordable way to dress up a basic bed frame. Just be sure the wood is relatively smooth so you won’t have to worry about splinters.
Reclaimed wood planks also make excellent shelves, either wall mounted or built into a larger shelving unit. Set against a white wall, floating wood shelves can have a striking modern look, while normal shelves with reclaimed wood backing can act as a more subtle, contemporary accent. A particularly attractive piece of reclaimed wood or driftwood can even be used as a stand in for a bathroom vanity. Just apply a marine grade sealant and place a decorative vessel sink on top for a lovely, sculptural natural accent.
Of course, the easiest way to incorporate bare, weathered wood into your home is to simply add a piece of slightly beat up wood furniture, and this can be a really great option for almost any room. A small wood table can be a charming addition to a cottage style bathroom, while a large wood farmhouse table used as an island can add a homey, rustic touch to a kitchen. Reclaimed wood furniture can run the gamut from very rough and rugged to smooth, sleek, and industrial style, too, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a piece that fits your style.
Finally, if you have a really attractive piece of reclaimed wood, you can even use it as a piece of art in its own right and simply hang it on the wall. Simple, equal-sized planks can be installed side by side for a panel-like installation, while smaller pieces in different sizes or colors can be assembled into a collage, and interestingly-shaped driftwood pieces can be hung all on their own. Cut shapes, features of the wood (like the branding on a wood cask), or even painted details can all elevate a simple piece of wood to the level of artwork, so feel free to get creative, or shop around for people doing interesting things with salvaged wood.
Whether you want a very rustic cabin or farmhouse look or something a bit more modern, reclaimed wood can add a nice natural element and a touch of character – it’s all about how (and how much) you use!