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Reclaimed Wood Dining Tables – A Timeless Statement Piece

In recent years, reclaimed wood has gone from only being used in very specialized, niche markets to being one of the trendiest materials in contemporary design. Reclaimed wood furniture has beautiful built-in character, not just for the grain and stain of the wood, but for the natural variation, the dings, wear, and tear that make each piece individual. Reclaimed wood dining tables have become hugely popular in both modern and traditional dining rooms as even the simplest designs can act as a dramatic statement piece and focal point for the space.

Haight Ashbury Table In Distressed Wood From Zuo Modern
Haight Ashbury Table In Distressed Wood From Zuo Modern

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Reclaimed wood dining tables can be made out of almost any type of wood, from ship boards to barn doors. Some are relatively smooth while others have textured surfaces, but almost all of them will show some kind of weathering. That can mean the wood has been left to gray with age, or that the wood has naturally split or cracked. Of course, restored, finished tables made of reclaimed wood will be at least partially restored, meaning there won’t be any ragged splits or splinters, but you might find some uneven details – such as where old nails or staples were removed.

Delta Dining Table In Dark Shipwood From Nuevo Living
Delta Dining Table In Dark Shipwood From Nuevo Living

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Different types of wood can create very different dining tables, and I’m not just talking wood color. Of course, a honey-toned wood is going to look very different from a dark walnut, but if the tabletop has a clear origin – like the aforementioned barn door – it will make a very clear design impression. With a very distinct reclaimed wood dining table, you can play up on the style – like accenting a barn door style table with other traditional farmhouse style elements. Alternately, you can use more modern or more formal dining chairs to contrast against the rustic tabletop, turning it into a statement piece.

Titus Dining Table With Reclaimed Wood Top From Zuo Modern
Titus Dining Table With Reclaimed Wood Top From Zuo Modern

It’s important to note that dining tables made of actual reclaimed wood – rather than ones designed to have a similar rustic quality – will naturally vary from one to the next. Genuine reclaimed wood tabletops are one of a kind; they may look similar to the advertised picture, but unless it’s clearly stated that the photo is of the table you’re getting, assume that it won’t be. The color and type of wood should be the same, but the smaller details, dints, and dings will be different.

Lien Dining Table In Dark Shipwood From Nuevo Living
Lien Dining Table In Dark Shipwood From Nuevo Living

Choosing a reclaimed wood tabletop is only half the battle. Because the tabletops are made of salvaged wood pieces chosen for their unique appearance, the legs of the table often aren’t made from the same material. Instead, they can be made out of another type of wood or metal, and the style of the legs can dramatically alter the appearance of the table as a whole. For example, even simple metal legs in a chrome or stainless steel finish can give a reclaimed wood dining table a posh, modern appearance, taking a rustic piece and giving it a sleek contemporary edge.

Oak Oil Dining Table From Classic Design
Oak Oil Dining Table From Classic Design

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The legs on reclaimed wood dining tables are almost always decorative, regardless of the material used to make them. After all, these are designed to be a statement piece, and while the natural texture of reclaimed wood is what gives the tables their unique charm up close, having interestingly designed legs makes them appealing from afar as well. These wood legs are anything but simple, and give the whole piece the appearance of an old fashioned architect’s table.

A Leg Dining Table In Reclaimed Hardwood From Nuevo Living
A Leg Dining Table In Reclaimed Hardwood From Nuevo Living

Some of my very favorite reclaimed wood dining tables are ones that have reclaimed legs, too. Specifically, I love tables set on cast iron bases reclaimed from old factory equipment. A-leg bases and legs from old lathes are among the more common, but many designers, like Nuevo, are using different parts of industrial machinery to create beautiful, timeless statement tables. And because these pieces have already withstood the test of time, you know you’re getting a sturdy, rugged, and very, very stable piece of furniture that should last you another hundred years.

What do you think of reclaimed wood dining tables? Do you like a look that’s more rustic, more modern, or more industrial? Let me know in the comments!

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