Repurposed oak barrel

Repurposed Oak Barrels Bring a Touch of History to Decorating and Design

Today’s crafters and makers are turning recycled materials into upcycled products for everyday use or for decorative purposes. The popularity of this repurposing trend is producing an unending amount of innovative ideas with limitless sources of inspiration.

Perhaps one of the most versatile ideas that is making the rounds at all the designer magazines and decorator blogs, is that of repurposing old handmade oak barrels.  Not only is this trend rustic by nature, it is a clever way of incorporating into any design, salvaged wood that has a history.

More than just storage

Traditionally used for storing and fermenting beer, wine, and whiskey, oak barrels bring a certain touch of nostalgia and drama to any space or event.  For example, the allure of a bourbon barrel stems from its rich history.  Many people do not realize that in order to be called bourbon in America, the spirit is required by law to be aged in a new barrel.  This means that a hand made oak barrel can only be used once for aging bourbon, then it must find another purpose.

The reason behind this law has several theories, it may be in an effort to retain part of bourbon’s heritage by adhering to the single use barrel model practiced before Prohibition.  Or, it may be to ensure the finest quality of product as the spirit reacts to the tannins, vanillin, lactones, and other compounds found in the wood.  Whatever the case may be, it is undeniable that the barrels have a story to bring with them.

As with the wine and beer barrels, whiskey and bourbon barrels can be used in plenty of other ingenious manners.  Whether the casks are left intact for furniture or statement pieces, or if they are deconstructed with parts used to create something completely new, the fact remains that these barrels spark the imagination of all who see them.

Some traditional ways these barrels have been used in the past are seeing new spins that bring fresh pieces to any decor.  Harkening back to the wild west days, these barrels can be seen as pub tables, bar stands, and even planters for flowers and foliage.  But today’s twists on yesterday’s uses have broadened their appeal beyond cowboys and ranches. 

Deconstructed Barrels

Used in wall art, shelving, and lighting fixtures, deconstructed barrels can actually give off an air of levity and a sleek modern feel.  In bathrooms as sinks or bathtubs, they pull tradition to the present in warm and familiar ways.  And in decorating, these barrels are used at weddings and events for an array of purposes.

Finding these multipurpose barrels can be easier than one may think.  Companies such as Mystic Barrels in Pennsylvania, are a clearing house of different types of barrels. With shipping to your doorstep, there is no reason not to get started on your next creative project repurposing oak barrels.
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