When you’re building or remodeling around the house, the materials you use for your project can have a significant impact on the cost of the work and the renewable impact of your project. Wood can be the ideal material – strong, readily available and relatively inexpensive.
While you may think you need to hit the home improvement store for your project materials, there are other options that might fit your budget and frame of mind better. Reclaimed or “repurposed” wood is salvaged wood from other buildings or items. The University of Florida Extension provides information about sustainable landscape construction, including repurposed wood from old buildings or even wood pallets. One major benefit of repurposed wood is the strength of this material due to its decay-resistant properties. You will often find that repurposed wood has closer grains and is denser than other types of wood.
As you gather materials, compile a list of 10 uses for repurposed wood to create project list for yourself.
Gather some uneven, yet similar, planks of wood from pallets or even from old buildings. The length of the planks should be the length you want your coffee table. Line the planks up side by side. It’s not even necessary to align them perfectly so the ends all match. Rustic and uneven fits this project. Position a cross board at each end of the planks, nailing the cross boards to each plank for extra security. Flip the planks over so the cross boards are underneath. Now you have the top of the coffee table. Construct simple legs or rest it on ready-made crates to finish the coffee table.
Instead of constructing a desk out of separate planks, use an old door as a sturdy desk. Sand down the edges, remove the hinges and take out the doorknob. Position the desk on old rustic sawhorses and you’re ready for business.
Rip apart some rustic old wood pallets to create a garden walkway. You’ll save considerable expense as compared to pouring cement or laying stonework. Make the lengths of the planks all roughly the same. Dig them into the soil just enough to embed them firmly. Space them about 1 to 2 inches apart to construct the walkway. If you want a winding walkway, make gently sloping curves with the planks. The finished effect will be a charming addition to any landscape.
Not only would a trunk provide useful storage in any room of the house, but a trunk made from repurposed wood would be simple and primitive furniture piece. Construct each side of the trunk from wood pallets, cut to size. For the top, attach the lid to the back side of the trunk with heavy-duty hinges. Use the trunk to store linens, blankets or even board games.
Old pallets could make a delightful garden fence to keep out the bunnies and deer. Strip down the pallets so they’re flat pieces. Drive the ends of the pallets into the soil at least 6 inches and position the pallets so they line up side-to-side. Create a fence gate by attaching one pallet to a fence post with hinges at the point where you want an entryway.
An austere coat rack leaning against or hung on the wall wood fit the décor of many bedrooms or mudrooms. Use planks of wood – already formed into pallets or attach them into one piece approximately 3 feet by 5 feet. Attach large hooks along the top of the rack. You could even add shelves to the lower part of the rack for boot and shoe storage. Another idea – use a door for a readymade coat rack. Lean the door against the wall, install heavy-duty hooks along the top and enjoy the rustic and utilitarian piece in your home. Don’t forget to use the doorknob as another hanging hook.
A rustic bench tucks away into virtually any corner for extra seating or storage. Use pallet pieces to make the top of the bench. Add sturdy legs to the bench, also using repurposed wood. You could even add a second shelf beneath the top of the bench for additional storage. Stick this bench on a patio, porch or even out in the garden for an informal resting spot.
The options for making shelving out of repurposed wood are many – as many as you can imagine, and then some more. Use single planks of wood for single, floating shelves on the wall. Repurpose larger planks into a freestanding bookcase. Make a magazine rack for the wall using thin pallet planks. You could also construct a large shadow box out of pallet pieces and then display collectives.
Why not take the repurposed wood craze one step further and incorporate it into your room’s décor as paneling? Use narrow planks from wood pallets to cover the wall, aligning each plank side-to-side in neat fashion. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t all the same width or length – fit them together like a giant puzzle to cover the wall. The finished effect will be eye-catching and primitive.
The trim work around doorways, windows, as baseboards and even as crown molding could set you back significantly if you purchase all new materials. Why not rip apart a few pallets or scour the countryside for old building materials to use for trim work instead? Cut and fit the pieces into your rooms as necessary and mount them to the walls just like you would mount any wood trim work. When you finish, your rooms will have a natural and simple style that you can’t replicate from purchased wood.
Once you get the drift, you’ll see a variety of ways to use repurposed wood in your home. It’s cheap, it’s environmentally friendly and it’s incredibly cool. The decorative flair of repurposed wood will bring innovative charm to any room in your house and even outside in your landscape.