The Rustic Charm of Reclaimed Wood Buffets

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Reclaimed wood furniture is having a major moment lately, with its rugged, eco-friendly aesthetics winning over designers and homeowners alike. And what better way to incorporate this trend into your home than with a handsome reclaimed wood buffet? Reclaimed wood buffets add vintage, rustic charm to any space while being environmentally friendly, making use of recycled materials from old barns, flooring, siding and more. With some planning and shopping around, you can find the perfect reclaimed buffet to become the statement fixture of your dining room.

What to Look for When Selecting a Reclaimed Wood Buffet

With reclaimed wood buffets surging in popularity, there are now more options than ever available. But not all buffets are created equal, so keep these factors in mind while browsing:

Consider the size and space – Measure the wall area carefully where you plan to place the buffet and look for appropriate widths. Leave enough room on each side for comfortable passage and chair clearance. Standard buffet widths range from about 4 feet to 8 feet.

Match the style and design – Do you want a farmhouse look with simple lines? Or a more modern feel with sleek metal accents? Match the buffet style to your existing decor. Popular aesthetics include industrial, shabby chic, French country, minimalist and more.

Think about color/stain – Reclaimed wood buffets are available in warm natural wood tones as well as whitewashed, gray washed, walnut, ebony and other rich stains. The finish dramatically impacts the overall look and feel.

Examine the hardware – Hardware makes a big style statement. Look for knobs, pulls or handles in finishes like antique brass, matte black, polished nickel or unlacquered brass. Make sure it complements your design sensibilities.

Consider construction – Look for quality joinery like mortise and tenon joints and dovetail drawers, which indicate solid craftsmanship built to last. sturdy, chunky legs also important.

Assess condition of the wood – Some character like nicks, dings and texture adds rustic appeal. But large cracks, gouges or other damage could affect structural integrity. Find the right balance for your taste.

Choose a top material – Butcher block, marble, granite, wood – the buffet top also affects aesthetic, utility and cost. Think about use – displaying decor only vs. a surface for serving.

Note origin of reclaimed wood – Barn wood, flooring, siding and other origins result in different markings. Fence wood has several holes for example. Choose wood that aligns with the look you want.

Weigh custom vs pre-made – Custom means exact sizing and features to your specifications, but costs more and takes time. Pre-made is readily available but standard sizes.

Where to Shop for Quality Reclaimed Wood Buffets

Once you’ve decided on the style you want, it’s time to start shopping! Here are some of the best places to browse:

Online retailers like Etsy – Offer a wide range of styles and price points. Great for finding unique handmade pieces from individual sellers. Just read reviews carefully.

Local reuse/salvage stores – Support local businesses plus you can see pieces in person. Helps keep wood out of landfills.

Flea markets and antique shops – You’ll have to hunt through mismatched pieces, but the thrill of the find can uncover hidden gems.

Specialty reclaimed furniture stores – For high-end, curated collections often by renowned designers. Expect to pay more but excellent quality.

Custom furniture makers and woodworkers – Get a totally one-of-a-kind buffet made just for you and your space. Choose every detail.

Big box stores like Pottery Barn – Some have started offering reclaimed wood collections for reasonable prices. Limited options though.

Auctions and estate sales – If you’re patient, you can snag antique buffets for surprisingly affordable prices. Just refinish or repurpose.

The Pros and Cons of Reclaimed Wood Furniture

Reclaimed wood undeniably provides uniqueness and rustic styling, but there are some potential drawbacks too. Let’s examine the pros and cons:


  • Environmentally friendly reuse of materials, keeping wood out of landfills
  • Distressed, weathered appearance with rich patina adds character
  • Rustic, warm, vintage feel that brings personality and coziness
  • Greater variability and uniqueness since no two reclaimed pieces are alike
  • Often higher quality hardwoods used in older furniture construction
  • Can provide a conversation starter with history and story behind the wood


  • Varying condition means closer inspection for damage is required
  • Can’t control degree of imperfections – some like more character than others
  • Needs a bit more care – sealing, cleaning, refinishing over time
  • Pricier than new mass-produced furniture on average
  • Limited local selection – more options available through online retailers
  • Not matching pieces if looking to expand your collection later

Caring for a Reclaimed Wood Buffet

While reclaimed wood buffets add rustic beauty to a home, they do require some special care and maintenance to keep them looking their best:

  • Seal with polyurethane or beeswax regularly to protect and preserve the finish
  • Use coasters under decor to prevent glass rings and water marks on the surface
  • Dust with a soft cloth to keep the buffet clean between periodic deep cleaning
  • For deep cleaning, use a mild soap and water solution with a soft cloth, wiping with the wood grain
  • Avoid harsh cleaners or excessive moisture that could damage the finish or warp the wood
  • Make sure the buffet is on a completely level surface to prevent future warping
  • Allow for adequate ventilation behind and around the buffet to prevent potential mold or mildew
  • Tighten hardware over time as the wood contracts and expands with environmental changes
  • Apply wood wax or oil occasionally to nourish and condition the wood
  • Protect from direct sunlight which can cause fading over time
  • Use wood filler products to repair minor scratches and dings
  • Wax and gently buff periodically to restore luster as needed
  • Let the natural patina develop over time but refinish if excessive wear and tear occurs

With proper care, a quality reclaimed wood buffet can last for decades as a beautiful heirloom piece.

Style Inspiration for Reclaimed Wood Buffets

One of the best aspects of reclaimed wood buffets is their versatility to fit a wide range of decor styles. Here are some ideas:

  • Farmhouse – A whitewashed finish paired with simple black or brass hardware oozes cottage charm. Add a runner and floral arrangements on top.
  • Rustic cabin – Mix up wood grains, colors and distressing levels for a cozy, eclectic look. Throw in antler knobs for fun.
  • Industrial – Iron pipe legs, metal accents, and very distressed wood has an edgy warehouse vibe.
  • Modern – With clean lines and a rich ebony or walnut stain, reclaimed wood can feel sleek too. Use contemporary hardware.
  • Eclectic – Make a reclaimed buffet the statement piece in a vibrant, maximalist space. Play with color!
  • Shabby chic – A painted finish in soft hues with mismatched vintage hardware defines this darling look.
  • Beachy – Light blues, sea greens, and whitewashes paired with coral and shells say coastal chic. Think driftwood.
  • Sophisticated – For a polished yet organic feel, try a dark espresso stain, marble top, and glinting brass hardware.
  • Bohemian – Weave in textural elements like macrame, rattan baskets, and gallery walls filled with art above.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is reclaimed wood cheaper than new furniture?

A: Not usually, since reclaimed wood often costs more due to the labor involved in the salvaging and restoration process. But the quality and uniqueness can make it worthwhile for many buyers.

Q: How durable is reclaimed wood compared to new furniture?

A: It can be very durable with proper care and maintenance. But you’ll likely see more natural imperfections like nicks and dings versus brand new mass-produced pieces. Avoid reclaimed wood if you desire perfection.

Q: What are the best woods to use for buffet construction?

A: Oak, walnut, and maple are all fantastic choices that are very sturdy. Pine is quite soft. In general, opt for hardwoods which will be more durable.

Q: How can I decorate the top of my reclaimed wood buffet?

A: Style the top with runners, plants, trays, books, barware, or any items that complement your space. You can also hang a small gallery wall or wallpaper above. Get creative!

Q: Is reclaimed furniture safe in terms of chemicals?

A: Reputable reclaimed furniture dealers properly reclaim and restore pieces to ensure safety. But you can always seal the furniture yourself with beeswax or polyurethane for extra peace of mind.

Q: What style reclaimed buffet would match my farmhouse decor?

A: For a farmhouse aesthetic, look for buffets with whitewashed or light natural wood tones paired with simple hardware in matte black iron or antique brass.

Q: Can different wood types be mixed in one buffet or is it better to match?

A: It’s definitely possible to mix woods for an eclectic, mismatched look. But for a more cohesive feel, your best bet is to use the same species of reclaimed wood throughout a single piece.

Q: How can I fix water rings or stains on my reclaimed buffet top?

A: Your first steps would be light sanding to refresh the surface, followed by refinishing the area to blend it. And of course, be diligent about using coasters religously moving forward!

Q: What are some signs of quality construction for reclaimed wood buffets?

A: Dovetail joinery, sturdy mortise and tenon joints, smooth finishes, solid understructures, and square corners indicate skilled craftsmanship built to last. Avoid visible splintering, sagging, or chipping.

Q: Where are the best places to buy reclaimed wood furniture online?

A: Great online retailers for sourcing reclaimed wood buffets include Etsy, Wayfair, Overstock, One Kings Lane, Restoration Hardware, Houzz, and specialty boutiques on Instagram and Facebook.

The Timeless Appeal of Reclaimed Wood Buffets

Reclaimed wood buffets are truly one-of-a-kind pieces that add rustic warmth and eco-friendly character to any dining space. With some upfront planning and care, a thoughtfully crafted reclaimed buffet can become the charming focal point of a room for years to come. When sourcing a buffet, be sure to carefully consider your personal style, available space, and budget. And make sure to buy from reputable and ethical sellers that properly restore and finish each unique piece. With the right reclaimed wood buffet, you can infuse any dining room with cozy vintage inspiration that feels uniquely yours.