Reclaimed wood furniture has had a major comeback in popularity over the last decade. Reclaimed wood has become commonplace within the construction of furniture, homes themselves, and even art, but what exactly is it? What integral and aesthetic differences does it offer, and why the resurgence in use across the dual worlds of interior design and construction? This article takes a quick look at the subject to answer these questions.

What exactly is reclaimed wood?

Simply put, reclaimed wood is a form of recycled timber, but we think that definition really undersells its importance. Interestingly, the timber can only be sourced from a history of singular use so the majority of reclaimed wood used for home furniture is salvaged from industrial buildings, farm structures, factories, ships, railroads and more. What this means is any piece of reclaimed wood furniture that you see and fall in love with could have once been an old beam, cladding from a barn, or even the supporting structure of a warehouse, to name a few sources. Due to the rich, colourful history and story of reclaimed wood furniture, its finish is famously varied and soaked with a unique rustic feel that stands in stark contrast to the perfect symmetry found in much contemporary furniture.

‘Reclaimed wood furniture’ may be the “proper” name for this kind of furniture, but there are alternative terms that also refer to the same thing; such as ‘driftwood furniture’ and ‘shabby chic furniture’. To be sure what is and isn’t a piece made from recycled timber, pay particular attention to product descriptions and what materials are listed.

front close up of top half of modern farmhouse side table with books, candle and plant on top

What are the key benefits of using reclaimed wood?

Old Growth For Strength

There is a widely held belief that reclaimed wood is more durable, harder and altogether stronger than newly sourced timber. The explanation of this goes deep – basically newer timber comes from second (or third) growth forests and because of this, it has less time to mature and, in turn, harden. It still remains a good solid surface to build from, however. Whereas, recycled timber was originally sourced from old-growth trees. This means that reclaimed wood furniture has an ultimately denser make-up, is harder and has dried longer over time, actually making it less prone to splitting or warping. This is one reason why reclaimed dining tables, in particular, are held in such high regard.

Less Environmental Impact

You know that warm fuzzy feeling when you give to charity or help an elderly relative. Well, you can feel something along those lines if you opt for a piece of driftwood furniture. Choosing furniture made from recycled timber keeps this original old-growth timber going and therefore decreases demand on newer growth tree harvests, in turn, helping to curb deforestation. It can also reduce the demand and need for man-made chemical-based alternatives, reducing landfill and decreasing environmentally damaging manufacturing output.

A Unique Sought-After Finish

Perhaps one of the most important factors in deciding whether reclaimed furniture is for you is whether you are a fan of the rustic look that it provides. Remember, it has been on its own journey – each piece has had independent exposure to different environments and situations and served various uses, which now informs how it looks and feels. Also, the age of the wood means the rings seen in this type of lumber are wider than newer woods, and knots are typically more prevalent, along with characteristic markings and divets. All of this factors into how each unique piece takes on fabulous intricacies and personality. Depending on your particular style and outlook, all of this history and ancient makeup does wonders for the appearance of this material.

Are there downsides to using reclaimed wood?

Building on that last point, the finish of recycled timber is rustic and unique. The textural irregularity and varied finish of the timber, piece by piece, is not always to everybody’s taste. Secondly, the recycling processes that some wood goes through to get it to a re-usable state (various washes and treatments) and its resultant appearance may not appeal to everybody – it’s a preference thing.

All the reclaimed furniture that is handpicked for InsideOut Living undergoes rigorous quality checks. Chosen because of their durability, attractive finish and versatility, rest assured that whether it’s shabby chic sideboards or rustic dining tables that have piqued your interest, quality is assured.

Why is reclaimed furniture so popular?

close up of blue crockery set, plant and candle ontop of white and grey dining set tabletopThere are many reasons why reclaimed furniture has become so popular but, it comes down to a mix of desirable factors such as sustainable practices, the high-quality nature of the wood, and its interesting back story. Perhaps the key factor, however, is the look and feel that this furniture boasts. After all, recycled timber provides a wonderfully rustic aesthetic that’s filled with individual markings, charming imperfections and bucket loads of character. Every piece is truly unique.

Reclaimed wood furniture ranges on InsideOut Living

There is an impressive amount of indoor furniture on InsideOut Living that has been made using reclaimed wood. Whether a driftwood furniture coffee table or a rural-meets-contemporary sideboard, there’s plenty of options to kit out any home. That said, our two most popular reclaimed furniture ranges are the Modern Farmhouse range and the White and Grey range.

Modern Farmhouse Indoor Furniture Rangemodern farmhouse extending dining table in front of open patio door with 4 x matching chairs on far side and bench in the foreground

The Modern Farmhouse range offers an array of country-inspired tables, including dining tables, console tables, coffee tables and side tables. It also features reclaimed dining tables that can extend, shabby chic sideboards and charming seating options, all of which have proven to be very popular with our customers. Typified by lovely reddish-brown surfaces that are mottled and charming, which are fixed to off-white painted chunky bases for an alluringly classic feel, these pieces simply ooze rustic personality.

white and grey coffee table full image angled on a wooden floor next to big window and patio doorWhite & Grey Indoor Furniture Range

The lovely White and Grey furniture range is best epitomised by the shabby chic, extendable dining table with its stylish cross base design, as seen across the whole range. There’s also coffee tables, TV units, storage units, and more to discover. As the name suggests; the chunky tops are finished in a contemporary grey colour, showing off the lovely individual grain of each piece of wood. The bases have been painted white and given a lightly distressed finish. 



Whether reclaimed wood furniture is something that has newly sparked your interest, or you’ve seen the term in passing, we hope we have helped shed some light on the subject. Perhaps you already own a much-loved shabby chic piece purchased through us? If so, be sure to snap a photo and tag us in your Instagram grid photos, in doing so you stand a chance to win a £100 gift voucher each month, simply include the hashtag #mioliving to enter.



Beautiful tips, hints, news and trends from InsideOut Living

Newsletter Sign up to our newsletter for our latest offers, news and home and garden tips.