According to the United Nations Environment Programme, there are currently twelve species of trees on the endangered list. Many of these have been popular choices to make furniture, cabinets, musical instruments, and other products used by humans. Each year approximately 40 million acres of the Earth’s forests are chopped down for this purpose. As our limited resources rapidly dwindle, companies and consumers alike are searching for ways to incorporate more environmental responsibility into their way of life.
We all know about recycling, reducing energy consumption, and going “paperless”. Another excellent way to become more eco-friendly is by furnishing your home with reclaimed wood furniture. Instead of being discarded, old lumber from decommissioned homes and buildings is harvested, refurbished, and given a second life as a coffee table or dresser.
The use of reclaimed wood can have additional environmental advantages beyond the preservation of virgin trees. Many builders also use non-toxic glue and paints as well as all natural oil finishes. The main goal is to produce a beautiful, high quality product while impacting the environment as minimally as possible.
Reclaimed wood yields stylish yet rustic furniture. In some cases it is hardly possible to tell the piece is not brand new. Other times, evidence such as old nail holes or saw blade marks are purposely retained, providing an antique, well-worn charm. It can be designed to suit a wide variety of homeowners’ tastes and fits in well with contemporary or traditional motifs.
There is also a sense of intrigue surrounding a piece of reclaimed wood furniture; your nightstand could very well have come from a turn of the century barn or a historical school house. Maybe it was simply taken from neighbor’s unused deck; either way, it has a history and story all its own.
If nothing else, the often lower cost of this type of furniture is very attractive to buyers. Although handcrafted furniture can be expensive, reclaimed materials are typically cheaper than brand new ones. Reclaimed wood is usually already cut and treated, reducing expenses even more.
Any homeowner with an appreciation for nostalgia, an eye for stylish detail, and a desire to protect our natural resources would be wise to consider purchasing reclaimed wood furniture.