Projects Using Old Fence Panels

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The patina of weathered wood makes its own design statement.
The patina of weathered wood makes its own design statement. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

With its silvery patina, rough texture and knotty pattern, old wooden fencing can be made into charming, rustic furniture and decorative items. When you reuse the wood from an old fence, you're being smart in several ways because repurposing wood keeps it out of the landfill, saves valuable resources and allows you to decorate your home and create gifts very inexpensively.

Headboard with History

Use a section of an old wooden fence as a headboard. A picket fence panel with random-height or graduated slats is especially charming in a shabby chic-style bedroom. Milk-paint, stain or color-wash the fence to match the bedroom's decor, or use it as-is in its silvery gray state. Attach the back-braced headboard directly to the bed frame or secure it to the wall at the wall studs.

Simple Side Table

Make a rustic side table by cutting a circular piece out of the fence panel and attaching it to the seat of a wooden stool. Sand the top and sides smooth and finish the tabletop circle with clear lacquer to let the character of the old wood shine through. Paint the base with chipping milk paint for a country look or coat it with shiny black enamel for an eclectic contemporary room that displays a folk art collection.

Homespun Wall Hanging

Hang an interesting segment of fence panel in place of a large painting over your sofa. This works especially well with fencing that has old, peeling paint in faded colors and distressed, visible layers. If your panel is entirely one color, stain or paint the slats in contrasting shades or patterns, or paint the panel to look like an old barn-side ad or vintage marketing poster. If the panel is too big for your space, trim it but leave the edges a bit uneven.

Coffee Table Cart

Turn fence slats into an industrial-style movable coffee table with your handy saw, hammer and nails and a few hours of free time. First, build a large, rectangular box with a hinged lid from the fence boards, then attach a wheel to each bottom corner. Seal the aged, distressed wood or peeling paint with clear matte lacquer. Add a rustic, knotted-rope handle to each end, and you've got a mobile coffee table with plenty of storage.

For the Birds

Take your fence panel apart and use the wood for crafty, fun projects, such as picture frames, bird houses and shadow boxes. Attach a candle holder with a glass hurricane toward the bottom of a weathered picket and you have a wall sconce. Paint clever sayings, names or labels on the slats and attach a wire or ribbons to make a charming wall sign that may even help guests find their way to the powder room or pool. Hang a single picket over a window, drape it with a burlap swag, and use the horizontal wood slat as a rustic curtain rod.

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