8 Ideas for Repurposing Old Barn Wood to Bring New Life to Your Home

Kelly Weimert
Written by Kelly Weimert
Updated November 2, 2021
Barn against sky at farm
Kentaroo Tryman/Maskot via Getty Images

An old barn offers a treasure trove of new design possibilities

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If you’re looking for the perfect inspiration for your next DIY project, the answer may just be sitting in your backyard. You can salvage wood from a barn and use it for all kinds of home enhancements, ranging from new furniture and flooring to shelves and siding. In fact, you can even turn an old barn into a brand new home! Here, we break down some of the very best ways to repurpose your old barn wood into different features for your home.

1. Update Your Flooring

Barn wood serves as amazing flooring. Many barns are built using large planks of wood, often more than 8 inches wide, which perfectly aligns with hardwood flooring trends and makes for a stunning alternative to standard plank flooring. Barn wood floors are also packed with character, often featuring unique markings from their previous life outside, leading to truly one-of-a-kind floors. In addition to being visually striking and full of character, barn wood flooring is also a much more eco-friendly option than brand-new flooring since it doesn't rely on new timber.

2. Enhance Your Exterior

The unique character and time-tested strength of reclaimed barn wood also make it great for exterior cladding and siding. Not only is barn wood a durable option that will instantly add textural warmth to your home's appearance, but it's also incredibly versatile. Find just the right paint color or stain, and you can match the wood to your unique style. You can also apply a wood patina that will highlight the barn wood's natural knots and character.

3. Elevate Your Interior

Reclaimed barn wood is a wonderful way to update your interior as well. You can use barn wood panels to add a feature wall in your favorite room or create entire rooms of reclaimed wood walls. Wood plank walls are great because they immediately fill up your wall with texture and personality, so you don't need as much art, shelving, or other decor pieces to make your space feel complete as you might with a blank white wall.

4. Build New Furniture

Speaking of your interior, you can use barn wood to create all sorts of furniture pieces to update your interior aesthetic. The inherent look and feel of reclaimed wood furniture is a particularly great fit for modern and rustic farmhouse aesthetics, but you can also use it to warm up more contemporary or traditional looks as well. And when it comes to what you can make, the possibilities are endless, ranging from a new headboard or a cozy entryway bench to an expansive dining table perfect for dinner parties with friends and family.

5. Add New Shelving

If you have a wall that could use a bit more style, consider repurposing some of your barn wood into floating shelves. Shelving is one of the easiest barn wood projects you can take on, and adding gorgeous shelves solves the problem of a blank wall in a flash. Combining form and function, reclaimed wood shelves can effortlessly showcase your favorite decor, knick-knacks, and any other style-enhancing items in a contained way that won't encroach on precious square footage.

6. Create a Planter Box

Barn wood planter boxes are wonderful ways to add literal and figurative life to your home. You can build an outdoor planter box to house your favorite perennials or create an indoor option to give your beloved house plants somewhere to thrive. And there are nearly endless styles you can make, from simple DIY window box planters to tiered displays that offer multiple levels to highlight your favorite plants.

7. Make Decorative Art Pieces

Reclaimed barn wood can serve as a terrific medium for standalone artwork, or you can use it to enhance existing artwork or decor. For instance, you can configure several wood planks into a chevron pattern to make a compelling piece of wall art or nail four planks together to make an attractive picture frame. You can also use wood planks to create a textural frame for a wall or floor mirror.

8. Convert Your Barn Into a House

Friends enjoying dinner party against barn
Maskot/DigitalVision via Getty Images

If you really want to maximize your old barn, then you can convert it to your primary residence or a guest house. While this is not a small undertaking—it often involves adding new plumbing, electrical systems, walls, insulation, and more—it can yield big returns personally and financially. If you're interested in converting your barn into a house, a great first step is to reach out to a local home builder. They can offer expert advice on the specific updates you'll need for a livable conversion, as well as how much those updates will cost.

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