The Ultimate Guide To DIY Furniture Projects Using Reclaimed Wood

November 15, 2022

Reclaimed wood is a current trend because of its environmental benefits and desirable, unique look. You should hop on this trend and be included in advancing the aesthetics of your home. Reclaimed wood comes with a story that adds to the beauty of your furniture.

Also, using reclaimed wood adds quality and strength to your furniture. Based on the Janka hardness scale, this wood is up to 40 points harder than the virgin ones because it comes from old-growth trees.

Working with it has endless possibilities. You can have DIY furniture projects with reclaimed wood that give your home a homey and cozy feel. The following is a guide on how to go about it.

Sourcing Reclaimed Wood: Where Do You Get The Wood?

Reclaimed wood is readily available, and you don't have to look far before getting some. The following are suggestions on where you should look for it:

  • Online: E-commerce is a vast market, and they also provide reclaimed wood. Using your web browser, you can search terms like 'reclaimed wood seller' or 'reclaimed timber.' These searches will generate pages showing different sites that sell the said product. Before you buy, ask plenty of questions about the state of the wood, price, and previous use, among others.
  • Demolition sites: If you know an old building or a home subject to demolition, contact the property owner and ask if you can get wood before the teardown. Also, if you're renovating, ask your team to keep safe any reusable wood.
  • Barns and farmhouses: The countryside is dotted with barns and farmhouses that have collapsed due to age. Contact the structure owner and ask for permission to take the wood. They'll appreciate having someone take what to them is an eyesore.
  • Home stores: Several stores sell pallets and reclaimed wood. Visit the store and get the wood for your furniture project.
  • Architectural salvage yards: Some places specialize in architectural salvage, providing reclaimed wood. You can buy from them.
  • Reclaimed wood dealers: Reclaimed wood has grown in demand, and some professional outfitters have specialized in selling them. Find a professional dealer near you so you can buy from them.

Reclaimed wood keeps wooden pallets out of landfills. As you source your wood, ensure you differentiate between used and remanufactured pallets. A remanufactured pallet is built with new and old wood. You can get either for your reclaimed wood furniture project.

Mistakes To Avoid

Barn wood has a history, and you must be careful so you don't inherit problems like bacteria, mold, or insects. It can be devastating to build furniture only for it to grow mold after a few days or weeks. That said, the following are some common mistakes you should avoid when sourcing reclaimed wood:

  • Avoid pallets that have been treated with chemicals since they are breeding grounds for bacteria and molds.
  • Look for inspection stamps on the wood or any other markings that determine the safety level of the wood.
  • Avoid wood that has been exposed to rain for months because it could be rotten and result in accidents when your furniture breaks.
  • Look for oil stains, gross residue smells, or mold on the wood. Don't use such wood on your furniture.
  • Avoid reclaimed wood from your grocery store because they have bacteria, even if you can't see it. Remember, porous wood doesn't make good furniture.
  • Avoid wood with twisted nails, which may be hard to remove. Decide if the wood is worth the work before taking it with you.
  • Avoid wood that isn't in decent shape. You're going to lose some boards while tearing the wood apart. So start with the parts that aren't bowed, cracked, or warped.

The idea that old wood can be new again with your DIY furniture can only go so far. Some wood may be too far gone, and you must let it go. Otherwise, your reclaimed wood furniture will make fantastic rustic decor for your space.

Required Tools For This Project

You should get started on your DIY reclaimed wood project with the tools necessary. Buying them at first may be expensive, but they make the project seamless, and you get to build your arsenal. You must have the following essentials in your toolbox for a smooth and enjoyable project:

  • Safety gear: Before picking up any tools, keep yourself safe. You need safety glasses for your eyes, a quality lung respirator, and hearing protection. It will protect you from the wood chippings and sound produced when sawing or drilling.
  • Tape measure: You need a tape measure for your DIY project. Check for the accuracy of the tape and the size to ensure it fits your hand correctly.
  • Kreg multi mark: This is an indispensable tool for building furniture. It'll help you set the saw blade depth and marking measurements
  • Pencil pull: You need this to have your pencil in place and readily available always. With a pencil pull, you'll never lose your pencil
  • Apron: An apron is an excellent addition to your toolset to keep sawdust and wood chips off your clothes. Also, you can use its pockets to keep your tools as you work.
  • Cordless drill: You need an 18 or 20-volt drill to fix your furniture and for convenience when moving around, choose the cordless one. Also, check for durability.
  • Right-angle attachment: This is a secret weapon in your toolbox. You can use it for any screws in tight spaces or hard-to-reach pocket holes.
  • Clamps: Clamps can make or break your DIY furniture project. You need to use the right amount of clamping pressure to have strong joints in your furniture. You can never have too many clamps.
  • Random orbit sander: You need to smoothen the surfaces of your furniture. An orbit sander is an excellent choice for this because it has low vibration and leaves the surface free of any scratches.
  • Hammer: You need a hammer to place nails on your furniture. Choose a hammer with a rubberized handle for safety.

These are some of the essentials you need in your tool kit, but as you continue with your projects, you pick up more tools you need.

Steps To Follow

Your reclaimed wood is constantly being retrieved from its original application, and there is a process to ensure it works well for your DIY furniture project. The following are the steps you should follow:

  • Design The Project

You need to develop a project plan for your DIY. Set a schedule for starting the project and buying the hardware you need. During this phase, think about the purpose of the project, the style you want, the materials you'll need, and the techniques you can execute based on the level of your woodworking skill.

  • Buy The Hardware And Materials

Depending on where you get your wood from, choose lumber that you can process with the tools you have in your workshop. It is either pre-surfaced or rough-sawn. Also, pick the hardware that you'll need specifically for this project. Check the functional needs and the style of the project you're targeting for your design.

  • Mill The Project Parts

Using the project plan, cut the lumber into the parts you need. Use your tape measure and multi-mark to ensure consistent widths, edges, and lengths. If you’re making a table, be sure the stands are equal.

  • Make The Joints

Use your drill and other tools to dorm the project joints. Also, you can make test joints to refine the final fit before cutting the project parts.

  • Assemble The Furniture

Once you've cut the parts of the projects, you should use your clamps, glue, and bolts to fasten the project parts. Ensure they hold firm and steady.

  • Apply Finish

It is the final step to improving the aesthetics of your furniture. Sand the surfaces using the orbital sander to smoothen them. Once it's smooth, you can apply the top coat or stain.

Items You Can Make

The following are the items you can make in your DIY projects using reclaimed wood to spruce up your living space:

1. Living Room Coffee Table

Coffee tables are a perfect addition to any room. If you want to add elegance and sophistication, you may use reclaimed wood for the table. To complete the look, paint the table with colors that blend with the room. Also, you may add drawers for storage.

2. Pallet Wine Rack

There is no better material for your vintage wine rack than reclaimed wood boards. The reclaimed wood has an old-school, classy style that goes well with the idea of a wine cellar. Coupled with silver rods, your wine rack becomes a product of a playful, elegant, and skillful design.

3. Wood Wall Art

Pallets come with subtle lines that you can use as separators to make wall art by simply painting on them. If you get square planks, you can craft them with drills and paint to show art in your house furniture or wall. Also, you can make art by playing with the wood dimensions.

4. Headboard

You can create a romantic, distressed headboard using repurposed panels. Use a sander to smoothen the surface and stain it with a darker color to improve its appeal and give your bed a cozy look. For a better look, use a stain that matches the color of the bed wood or your bedding.

5. Cabinet

You could make a lovely kitchen cabinet using reclaimed wood. You can use any old cabinets or make them from scratch using reclaimed panels. To make the furniture custom like you can add some detail to its

6. Side Table

You always need a side table to hold your things. Whether it's by your bed or a nightstand, you can always use reclaimed wood to make one that fits the exact space you want to place it.

7. Pallet Bench

You can use pallets to make a cozy breakfast corner with a bench. Building a pallet bench should take a few hours. All you need is measurements and a perfect hue. To avoid having the pallets scratch the floor, you should add padded felt to the bottom of the bench.

8. Wood Shelf

A few extra shelves are always a great addition, and you can use reclaimed wood to make them. It won't take much time, and you can mount the shelves on your wall.

9. Planter Box

Your planters don't have to be plastic or ceramic. You can have a creative DIY project to create an upcycled fall planter; you only need an old wood box, paint, metallic stencils, and four spindles. It makes for a perfect walkway or patio piece.

10. Succulent Table

Using reclaimed wood, you can make a succulent table that implements growth by adding plants to the design. It is a perfect chic upcycle and a way to introduce the concept of the outdoors to your living space. Your reclaimed wood and long gutter will give your living room or outdoor table a beautiful look.

11. Porch Set

Summer fun can get better with a perfect patio table made from reclaimed wood. You can stain the pallet and nail it together to form a beautiful, functional set with your patio sets. You can always have a place to put your lemonade when watching a movie in the backyard.

12. Porch Swing

You can place two pallet boards to create a sturdy swing to add to your backyard chilling spots. You can add cushions to make it comfy and fabulous.

13. Stove Vent Hood

Instead of the regular metallic or ceramic vent hood, you can use reclaimed wood. It makes complementing your kitchen equipment very easy. You can paint the hood a color that brings out the rusticity and beauty of the kitchen to give it an innovative cottage style.

14. Jewelry Holder

You can hang your jewelry in style using a barn wood holder. It will save you the pain of losing your jewelry and takes up very little space since you just suspend it off the wall. Also, it adds a rustic chic appeal to your bedroom.

15. Serving Tray

You can use reclaimed wood to add class to your kitchen with a wooden serving tray. To make it food safe, sand the tray and seal it with wax. Give it a rustic touch with leather handles.


Reclaimed wood is a great way to improve the aesthetics of your home. Its use isn't limited to the living room but also your porch and kitchen. Also, as you use this wood, you play your part in environmental conservation. With the above guide, you're set to begin your DIY furniture projects without hassle.


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Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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