What is Reclaimed Wood?: A Guide

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More material choices than ever are available for consumers looking to buy furniture or renovate their home. Even with all this choice, it’s hard to find a material that is right for your needs whilst also being unique and sustainable.

Reclaimed wood is one of the select few materials that can tick all of the boxes, so here’s a little more about what reclaimed wood is and the benefits of it.

What is reclaimed wood?

Reclaimed wood is a timber that has already been used in some form of construction, such as flooring old barns or roof beams. It has then been repurposed or ‘upcycled’ for use in a modern application such as a new piece of furniture. This is different to salvaged wood, which has not previously been used but has been taken from trees that have been felled or died and is then stored to be used in the future.

What makes reclaimed wood such a good option for furniture?

Reclaimed wood has already proven its suitability for construction once, but there are a few important reasons you should consider reclaimed wood for your new furniture.


Reclaimed wood is a sustainable option as it uses wood that might otherwise be discarded. Many old buildings that are torn down because they are no longer needed have the materials scrapped, but reclaimed wood gives new potential to that old timber. This means that reclaimed wood is one of the most environmentally-friendly choices available when it comes to furniture material.

Unique texture

Reclaimed wood has a unique texture and appearance, such as knots or a unique patina that is hard to replicate with new wood. Some new wood may have been dyed or altered with particular impressions to make them seem more weathered or rustic, but these will not be truly unique as they will have been mass-produced. Only reclaimed wood will have true markers of its age and past use which give it its distinctive appearance.

Strong, durable and lots of character

Reclaimed wood is often ‘old-growth’ wood, meaning it reached maturity in a slow-growth environment that caused the fibres of the wood to grow more densely, giving it a tighter grain and far more strength than the freshly harvested wood we find today. Reclaimed wood that comes from before the 20th century will also have been tainted far less by air pollution and will likely have grown for far longer before being harvested.

Lots of character

All of the above reasons equate to reclaimed wood having plenty of character. It has a history that then becomes the extended history of your furniture. Reclaimed wood can be sourced from the world over and, if you know where the wood has come from, you can find out what purpose that wood used to serve, and maybe even spot marks or a colouration that is the direct result of a historical event.

Choose the right style

Reclaimed wood is a fantastic choice of material for furniture for all the reasons above, but when it comes to your home, make sure to choose the right style for you. While reclaimed wood often features a tighter grain that makes it more durable, the ideal applications for hardwoods and softwoods still apply when it comes to construction.

In terms of aesthetics, more textured and weathered looking reclaimed wood is a great choice for rustic or industrial-style designs, and different looks can be achieved using different wood finishes. Using reclaimed wood also gives you a unique opportunity to sustainably use rare and exotic woods in your home by giving it a new lease of life from its previous and now unused construction.

So, now that you know a little more about what reclaimed wood is, do you think it might be the right material for your furniture? Reclaimed wood pieces are filled with character whilst being strong, durable, and environmentally-friendly, not to mention aesthetically pleasing.

If you need some inspiration, you can take a look at our Retro Hardwood Furniture collection, or view our full range of furniture.

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