reclaimed pier wood furniture

Buying recycled furniture is a good idea if you can find it, as it helps to preserve our forests. It’s not always possible, so look for the FSC trademark, to ensure wood does not come from endangered forests. But if you can find a good sale bargain, here are a few nice ideas.

Harbor Designs makes beautiful items from reclaimed wood from the former Hastings Piers (burned in an arson attack). Rescued planks are now made into new items, to stop them going to waste, and to preserve history.

Years ago, England was covered in forests. But today we have just 13% coverage, and most new food is made for furniture or street furniture (like park benches). England (after China) is the second largest importer of wood for industry (not local and also emits greenhouse gases from transport).

Yet the UK generates around 4.5 tons of waste wood each year (mostly from the building industry which is easily reused). Environmental Protection Agency says this could offer us a billion feet of lumber each year. One company in Portland (USA) has staff who ‘deconstruct’ old houses and barns to rescue lumber, sold as planks to industry. You can do the same for decommissioned ships!

Also available from another company are reclaimed wood frames, also from Hastings pier planks. An ideal way to use up a bit of history, from one of our wonderful seaside piers. And support local upcycling artisans at the same time.

Enter your postcode at Reuse network, to direct you to local social enterprises that offer donated safe furniture like sofas and dining room furniture. You usually have to be on benefits, though sometimes you can buy without them, you just pay a little more to support the cause.

Another idea is to find your local community wood recycling network. These are places that turn donated wood into handmade pieces, to save trees and offer bespoke items at a more affordable price. Again the money you pay goes back into the social enterprise.

Urban Reclamation (Derbyshire) is more expensive, but it’s a company that makes quality shelving from reclaimed timber that will last a lifetime. Ideal for the office, study, lounge, bedroom, bathroom or kitchen, these items will bring character and a rustic look and are of course totally unique.

a book to upcycle tired furniture

better than new upcycling furniture

Better Than New has lots of tips to give tired old furniture a least of life, cheaper than buying new. Engage your creative spirit and learn the tricks by upcycling expert Chloe Kempster. Spruce up heirlooms or thrift store finds with 15 projects from a hand-painted floral cupboard and wallpapered wardrobe to a textured chalk-painted bombe chest.

a book of 20 creative upcycling projects

upcycling 20 creative projects

Upcycling: 20 Creative Projects is a unique book of upcycling projects by Max McMurdo, a real talent who makes chairs out of shopping trolleys and tables out of washing machine drums! In this book, learn how to transform that rusty old item in the garage into something awesome. If you always fancied refurbishing the random old dining chair in the shed but don’t have the tools or know-how, this book is for you. 

His other book Upcycling Outdoors shows you how to make a firepit from bicycle wheels, an outdoor plant display from a painted dressing table or a potting shed from three vintage doors!

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