reclaimed wood shelving
reclaimed wood

How to Incorporate Reclaimed Wood Shelving Into Your Restaurant

Whether you are designing a new restaurant or looking to freshen up an existing dining room, evaluating all of the decor options can be overwhelming. This is especially true as trends fall in and out of style. But, there is one design element that has remained consistently popular over the last few decades: reclaimed wood.

Salvaged from old barns, warehouses, factories, and other sources, reclaimed wood is stronger and more durable than modern lumber. However, due to limited sources of new stock, it typically costs more than newly produced wood planks.

The good news is that you don’t need to cover your entire restaurant with reclaimed wood pieces right away. Instead, you can use small amounts of reclaimed lumber as an accent to add a touch of an old-world feel. A great way to ease into designing with reclaimed wood is by using it as shelving.

There are so many different ways you can use reclaimed wood wall shelves. Here are a few ideas you might consider for your restaurant:

Using Reclaimed Wood Shelves Behind the Bar

Every restaurant can use some shelving on its walls, whether it is purely decorative or it serves a more practical purpose.

One great practical use is behind the bar. Consider what rustic wood shelves would look like behind your bar holding extra glassware or liquor bottles. The beautiful grain of heart pine or Douglas fir catches the eye of your customers, who will then see the beverages you carry displayed on the shelf.

You can also use reclaimed wood as a bar top to match. Either way, using sturdy reclaimed wood shelving will enhance your bar area, creating a cozy environment that your customers will want to spend more time in.  

You might also consider adding small reclaimed shelves along the wall for patrons to place their drinks on when they go to the bathroom or the dance floor.

Using Reclaimed Wood Shelving For Decorative Purposes

The fact is that old barn wood shelves can go anywhere. You should consider using them to hold decorative items throughout your dining room. Reclaimed wood shelves can be custom built to any size, and stained or distressed to your liking.

Try using reclaimed wood as floating shelves to display antiques, vases, artwork, or plants. You can place larger shelves on the wall close to the ceiling. Or you can place smaller profile shelves next to booths or in hallways at eye level to display small trinkets, picture frames or signs.

Place Reclaimed Wood Shelves in Bathrooms

Don’t let the design of your bathrooms be an afterthought. Using reclaimed wood shelves is a great way to spruce up your lavatory. Use small shelves to hold small decor like candles or frames. Shelves can also be used to place personal belongings while you wash your hands or tidy yourself up.

Using Reclaimed Wood Shelving as a Server Station.

Create a server station with a deep reclaimed wood shelf installed just above waist level. A rolling storage cabinet can be placed underneath. Stock your server station shelf with water pitchers, coffee, utensils and more. This is a great practical use of reclaimed lumber, and it looks better than your standard pre-built server station. Just be sure that you use a proper sealant to protect the wood from frequent liquid spills. This goes for any reclaimed wood tables or bar tops you might include as part of your overall design.

Use a Reclaimed Wood Shelf to Make a Strong First Impression.

Put a reclaimed wood shelf in a prominent location near the entrance of your restaurant. It could be behind your hostess station or somewhere else in your waiting area. Decorate with some industrial-looking light fixtures, signage or other pieces of decor that represent your brand.

Having an attractive display for your customers when they walk in will give them a visual image to remember when they think about returning to your restaurant. If you can create a display unique enough to get people to share pictures of it on social media, all the better!

Use Freestanding Reclaimed Wood Shelving

Thick reclaimed wood shelves can be heavy and should be professionally installed if you plan to mount them to your walls. If you aren’t ready to make that kind of commitment just yet, try using some free-standing shelves that are made of reclaimed lumber.

The great part about free-standing shelves is that they can be moved around easily from place to place until you get it just right. They can be used in place of any of the floating shelf ideas mentioned above, whether it’s behind the bar or in your bathrooms.

When you using free-standing shelves, just be sure they are on a level surface and that most of the weight is on the bottom of the shelf and not the top. The last thing you want to happen is for your shelf to tip over on your employees of guests.

Other great uses for reclaimed wood shelving units include:

  • Organizing glassware or dishes
  • Retail display if you sell T-shirts, hats, books or specialty food items
  • Displaying potted plants or antiques
  • Holding board games, books and puzzles for your patrons to enjoy
  • Self-serve water station
  • Keeping to-go containers and disposable cutlery

The bottom line is: if you have ever been curious about how reclaimed wood could enhance the appearance of your restaurant, trying out different shelving items is a great way to start without making a big investment.

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