Wine Barrels in Home Decor

June 5, 2011

I’ve had wine barrels on the brain ever since we began our plan to spruce up the upper patio.  They’re easy to get here in wine country, and they make the easiest and cheapest planters.  Just about everyone I know locally has a wine barrel for a planter, and I grow tomatoes in mine every year. 

Last week, I made a quick trip to my favorite source for wine barrels.  I had a few projects in mind, one coming up later this week!  A short time ago, they were only $10 bucks, but apparently they’re in high demand abroad hence the price increase.  But still, at $20 dollars for a half barrel, that’s a good price considering the amount of hours that go into the making of one single barrel (see below), and the many uses for the staves (the strips of wood bent to form a barrel).    

wine barrels

Rustic and reclaimed wood is all the rage in home décor.  We’ve seen tree stumps show up as endtables and pallets reinvented in all sorts of ways in interior design over the past few years.  Wine barrels are getting their fair share of reuse too. 

When used as just the right accent in unexpected ways, wine barrels are a fantastic source of reusing real French or American oak.  I love the pairing of natural wood tones with casual furnishings, they always work well together.  I also love seeing products made from reclaimed wood placed in formal settings or in contemporary spaces ~ they have a way of keeping the space from feeling too predictable.  When juxtaposed against anything modern and glossy, reclaimed wood can take center stage.

New wine barrels have a shelf life of 3 to 6 years for aging wine, depending on which vintner you ask.  Most become planters, yet others get turned into some amazing accessories.  I was excited to see so many creative uses for a used wine barrel when I went looking around the web. 

VivaTerra sells several products made out of barrels, like this beautiful stave bread bowl ($95)

viva terra bowl

and this Lazy Susan ($129)

viva terra lazy susan

and this basket ($98)

wine barrel basket


I love all of these versions of end tables made from wine barrels!

wine barrel end table wine enthusiast

Wine Enthusiast End Table


wine barrel side table restoration hardware

Restoration Hardware Side Table 

  whit mcleod wine barrel table

Whit McLeod Side Table


monique shay coffee table end table

Monique Shay Coffee Table


I die over this chandy! I think this drum shade use of staves is so cool. 

wine barrel chandy

How beautiful is this Wine Barrel Chandelier?  It’s priced $1,195 yet despite the hefty price tag, I absolutely love the look of this statement piece.

wine barrel chandy french furniture

Here it is taking center stage in a dining room.  Oh.Em.Gee.  Love.

french furniture wine barrel chandy in dining room


Then there is the Wine Barrel Planet Chandelier, at $1,969, it’s pricey, but just as stunning. 

wine barrel planet chandelier

At this point I’m thinking, does anyone know a welder?  This would certainly be an advanced DIY project to pull off a knock off, but it could be done with some advanced welding, parts from an old chandy and some wiring skills.  That’s me, thinking out loud!  

Or if you happen to have $2,595 plus tax just lying around, you could buy this version of a Wine Barrel 6 Arm Chandelier from Restoration Hardware. 

wine barrel chandy restoration hardware

I have to admit, every time I browse my local RH, I’m like “Sheesh, that is one incredible light fixture, would love that in my house!”   Then reality sets in and I realize I have to both eat and pay my mortgage every month.

Here are two examples of the same wine barrel chandelier used in very elegant spaces:

rosemary beach tracery interiors



lynda reeves wb chandy decorpad



Of course, the barrel itself makes a perfectly natural end table outdoors.  I spied this one on last year’s visit to Arista Winery

glass and barrel


The art of barrel making is called cooperage, and a professional earns the title of Cooper.  To give you an idea of the amount of man hours that go into the making of each individual barrel, take a look at this informative video from our friends in the UK.   


Incredible right?  What’s interesting is that each year a barrel is used to age wine, it gives that particular wine a different flavor profile as the wine penetrates the wood.  Eventually the flavors are exhausted, and the barrels are reused for other purposes.  Recycling at its best! 

While we’re on the topic of wine, is anyone interested in a monthly post recommending favorite wines for the season?  Not just wines from California, but from all regions?  Maybe some hints on food pairings too?  I know this is a DIY blog, so I’m testing the waters here, but the hub and I do a lot of tasting.  So tell me, who’s up for something like that?  Lemme know. 

Did you know there is at least one winery in all 50 States?  Do you have a great source for used wine barrels in your state?  If so, please share!  I have a link for a source online, and I will share it with you when I show you my latest DIY project.

You can only guess what I used to make it.





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