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Where to find reclaimed objects that add character to your home


1st Jan 2015 Home & Garden

Where to find reclaimed objects that add character to your home
Using reclaimed objects as part of your interior décor is a way to add character and originality to your home. Reclaimed items really fit into modern styles of interior design, such as the post-industrial or shabby chic looks.
Examples of reclaimed objects include using old sewing machines as the stand for a side table, wooden crates as shelving, industrial pipes as shelf brackets and old school lockers as bookcases. Reclaimed wood is also a popular addition, used as desk tops or in the garden for structural purposes. But where should you go to find some suitable reclaimed objects? You really need to be on the lookout if you're going to find the perfect piece. 

Reclamation yards

Reclamation yards tend to be good for larger items. Check www.salvo.co.uk for yards in the UK.


Websites such as eBay often turn up treasures, although you may need to collect larger items in person.

Specialist suppliers

There are many specialist shops and e-commerce sites that specialise in certain items. For instance, some websites specialise in reclaimed tiles.

Charity shops

These are usually good for smaller items such as old china or glass bottles.


This can be a thrilling way to buy, just make sure you read up on how the auction process works before you go along.

Through agents

You might think that using interior designers or antique dealers to source items is expensive. Remember though, these specialist shoppers are probably the best informed when it comes to finding items. They probably also have the contacts to get discounts, especially if they are buying for several clients, and this means they may be able to save you money on your purchases. It's worth speaking to a few specialists like this if you've specific requirements, or want to buy several items. People like this should also be able to tell you how to adapt and use the reclaimed pieces so they are safe and practical for use in your home.

Top tips

Reclaimed objects can pose risks to health, and they may be tricky to adapt to the use you want - they may need some care and attention to become suitable. This may include sanding off sharp corners, removing flaking paint or rust, varnishing and other tasks. Get proper help shifting heavy objects, such as cast iron baths - don't hurt your back. Here are some other tips:
  • Always ask where an item came from and if it can be used for what you want. 
  • Some porous materials, such as wood, will absorb chemicals that can threaten health. Be wary of re-purposing items such as railway sleepers for indoor use as they may release toxins. They are also unsuitable for use in the garden where food is grown.
  • At auctions, you may not be able to get your money back if an item is not what it initially seemed. 
  • It's wise to take gloves and stout boots if you're at a messy and disorganised yard.
  • It's often okay to ask for a discount if buying many items.