Wood Paneling With a History: Reclaimed Wood For Interiors

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The idea of infusing history into a space has an appeal that goes beyond the trends. Ironically, a sense of history is pretty timeless that way.

One way 21st century homeowners are leveraging this is by investing in reclaimed wood from older structures; homes, barns, warehouses, and beyond. Further, using reclaimed wood as interior siding is a rising trend, adding history, sure, but also a sense of hominess, and warmth.

To expand on some solid ideas as to how to use reclaimed wood paneling for interiors is writer Joe Mitchoff of Viridian Wood products.


Interior design has experienced a renaissance with innovative new ways to incorporate reclaimed wood. Designers are recognizing that wood paneling doesn’t have to conform to the standard full-room or chair-rail applications. Reclaimed oak paneling and redwood paneling are making a big entrance in the design world as decorative accents and redefined traditional applications.

What are Reclaimed Wood Panels?

Reclaimed wood paneling is the same as traditional wood paneling, but with an eco-friendly twist. Instead of cutting down new trees, reclaimed wood paneling is made from lumber that’s had a past life but is still perfectly usable. This means prime pieces of lumber skip the landfill and get repurposed. Redwood paneling, for example, may be made from old wine casks. It’s hard to find virgin tight-grained redwood today, but you can enjoy its rare qualities just by choosing reclaimed varieties, which often come from old-growth trees. It’s an equally sweet deal for you and the earth.

Create an accent wall with reclaimed wood paneling

Reclaimed oak paneling is great for giving spaces a warm, rustic feel. Mix up the traditional design and give it a modern twist by lining an accent wall with panels in a different direction. If three of the walls have vertical panels, for example, use horizontally- or diagonally-placed panels on the accent wall. Additional ideas include placing the reclaimed wood paneling in a herringbone or mosaic-like pattern.

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Use reclaimed wood paneling around a fireplace

In lieu of a traditional mantel, line the wall around a fireplace with a multicolored blend of wood panels that reach up to the ceiling. This technique will make your space appear larger and draw the eyes upward. Try this idea with fireplaces that have two exposed glass walls, or with double-sided fireplaces that divide a room.

Bins or display stands

Give your store an earthy or rustic feel by using reclaimed wood panels that match the color scheme or tone (warm or cool) of your space to create unique-looking storage solutions.

Give ceilings a modern appeal

Create a space that has a country, shabby-chic, colonial or Victorian feel by lining a ceiling with reclaimed wood paneling. As with paneled walls, you can arrange wood panels on a ceiling in non-traditional or clever patterns.

Create a room divider

Save money on construction materials and create a partial wall out of redwood paneling (or panels in the color of your choice) to divide a large space.

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Line bars, counters and kitchen islands

Give these items in your home or business aesthetic appeal and durability with your choice of reclaimed lumber. Since the wood panels are made from lumber proven to withstand a beating, your bar, island or counter will be kick- and bump-resistant.

Make custom doors and tables

Who says you have to use reclaimed wood paneling to beautify the construction of a room? Use this lumber to create sturdy, unique-looking doors and tabletops. If you want to give an entrance an old-world flair, consider using wind-worn textured paneling. Use redwood paneling for tasting room tables and matching room accessories.

Panel a staircase

Instead of using iron or wood balusters on a staircase, use reclaimed wood paneling between the newels. Choose paneling that’s uniform in color for a sleek look, or mix it up with reclaimed wood paneling in light or dark blends.

You can’t go wrong

You can’t go wrong when you integrate paneling into your interior design, especially if the panels are made from eco-friendly reclaimed wood. These panels boast some of the strongest and most beautiful types of lumber available, without the guilt that comes with using freshly cut timber.


Thanks, Joe!

Joe Mitchoff is the co-founder of Viridian Reclaimed Wood, a wood flooring, paneling and furniture salvaging and recycling company based in Portland, Oregon.  Learn more about how we pioneer new and efficient methods of post-industrial reclamation and conservation on our website or on Facebook. 




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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.