When I originally heard that environmentalists were touting recycled furniture as an environmentally friendly alternative for the home, I wondered about how it might look. I mean, these individuals are talking reclaimed wood from old barns and recycled pallets. I believed this stuff would end up leaving my home looking like a warehouse.
So, I went on the Internet and started looking around at websites offering recycled furniture. I have to declare that I was pleasantly surprised with what I came across. I discovered companies using superior standard reclaimed lumber, which it turns out, is highly sought by scores of homebuilders, and methods of refinishing that are health aware and environmentally thoughtful.
I discovered that many of the business owners are high-caliber designers who took their passion for the planet to the next resourceful level, creating the stuff and decorations they love in a green, sustainable way. Recycled furniture isn’t like recycled aluminum cans. You don’t start out with refuse, and wind up with something that is only practical. You start out with quality reclaimed lumber that had been used as part of something else. You take the best of that reclaimed object and transform it into a good quality piece of furniture. It’s that simple and, like all simple things, it can be quite magnificent. Some recycled furniture manufacturers using reclaimed wood consciously seek to preserve some of the wood’s imperfections such as warps, cracks, nail holes, and worm holes in the furniture so as to capture and accentuate the antique wood’s allure, warmth, and patina.
Recycled furniture comes in all sorts of shapes, designs and sizes, just like brand new furniture. In truth, it is brand new furniture; it’s just that it was part of something else, before. The point is that the act of shopping for recycled furniture is going to pretty much mimic the act of searching for any furniture. You will stumble on pieces you fancy and pieces you don’t care for. Some styles will appeal to you, and some styles won’t appeal to you. If you initially set eyes on furniture that you don’t care for, it isn’t because it’s recycled furniture. It’s just because you haven’t found what you like so far.
Just keep searching and you’ll find what you want. I don’t know about you, but I’m finicky about the furniture in my abode. Maybe that’s why I didn’t give recycled furniture much of a chance at the outset. I was under the impression that recycled signified low quality and this just isn’t true. When you locate the genuinely great manufacturers, you realize why this stuff is indeed preferred above brand new furniture.
Recycled furniture has a character that just can’t be duplicated in the factory. For example, one manufacturer makes tables by using the heads from genuine Kentucky Bourbon barrels. Some use reclaimed wood from old barns and covered bridges. Additional sources of recycled wood and reclaimed lumber include old barns that have been condemned or are destined to be torn down, homes and vintage buildings or premises marked for tearing down, waste or scrap from construction sites or torn down and demolished sites… you can even come across wood in rivers that once carried old-growth logs dating from way back. The history of the furniture is part of the fun of owning it.
Examples of some of the kinds of woods that have been reclaimed for use include American Chestnut, White Oak, Heart Pine and Red Oak. Some of this lumber might be hundreds of years old, and harvested from virgin forests containing species that are now scarce or perhaps even protected. I have also discovered throughout the course of my research that some hardwood logs have not only been reclaimed from the bottom of old logging waterways, but remain uniquely preserved after having spent more than a century sunken in water. These woods can be used for flooring, paneling, art or custom furniture.
So, what I suppose I most wanted to tell you is exactly what the title of this little piece says. Recycled furniture looks great and gives new life to old wood. Beyond that, it can be robust, functional and fashionable. It just depends upon who designs it. So, don’t dismiss recycled furniture as an alternative for your home, because you could be delightfully amazed by how much enjoyment it can bring you.