Wine Barrels in Home Decor

By Kate Riley 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.






  1. as a fellow wino, i would welcome seeing posts on wine recommendations. :) love this post and the idea of using a wine barrel for a veggie garden – love. thank you for always inspiring.

  2. Oh wonderful stuff!

    I am totally OK with wine tips! I used to hate the stuff, but I’ve found that I like sweet whites. I’d love to know what you recommend :) I might even be able to get some of it in Vancouver, Canada!

  3. Gorgeous pics Kate.

    I would LOVE a monthly column on wine. I know less than zero on the subject but would love to learn. Keep posting those goregous pictures of the wine country. It makes me want to flee L.A/OC for good! Orange County used to be nice with lots of orange groves but most of those are long gone.

  4. The Hubs and I have been SEARCHING for half barrels since we got our house. I used to work in the wine industry only I have been away from it for just long enough that my connections aren’t what they used to be. Any way you would share your barrel store source? You can email me at REOlistic at gmail dot com and my Hubs will love you and so will I! :) Can’t wait to see your project!

  5. Such a great idea for wine barrels. This is something that would totally work for our patio area. Thanks for sharing!! I never really thought to use these :)

  6. Dear Gorgeous Kate,

    Will flattery get me everywhere? ;) But you are rockin’ awesomely gorgeous!@

    And I’m not sycophantic, I promise, just an IMMENSE admirer of you!

    And you’ve covered one of my favorite topics today–especially since we’re living in Italy for this year!

    I’m tryin’ oh-so-hard to come away with a PLETHORA of wine paraphernalia as I love everything related to my beloved vino.

    Visiting the Montalcino winery outside of Siena was one of the zeniths of my life. They had to drag me out of that rustic lux shrine to the vine kickin’ & screamin’.

    Well, actually, I was blissfully buzzed from the wine-tasting, but I still hated to go!


    Thanks for the continued inspiration–I’m still relatively new to blogland….it’s only since I’ve come to Italy that I’ve truly had the time to do more regular posts (I’m a journalist/musician by trade and a mom to 3 concurrently–so you know how crazy that gets!) and have long been in love with your fantastic site!

    You ROCK!!!


    Lana In Italy

  7. I would love to learn about wines of the season! I’m a wine connoisseur wannabe. I’m dreaming of a trip to Napa Valley, but until then…. :)

  8. I would love to see some wine sharing and tips each month. We’ve got our own small little wine country here at the end of Long Island which we love to sample and visit this time of year. Bring on the vino!

  9. Great post! Barrel stave decor are one of my favorite things.

    My wife and I LOVE Napa Valley (we’ve made the trip from DC every year for the last six years), and she hopes we can move there some day! A few years ago while walking around St. Helena we started talking about all of the re-purposed barrel staves for various items and liked the idea, but thought the price seemed steep. I said “Hey, I can make that.” The end result were several wine barrel votive candle holder gifts for all of our family at Christmas. At some point I’m going to do a “How To” post on making one for yourself.

    I’d be up for wine recommendation posts, and I’d be OK if you only did California wines ;-)

  10. I’ve been looking for affordable wine barrels for years – they are very hard to find and when you do – they are too expensive.

    I love the Lazy Susan too. I have one on my kitchen table that holds hot sauces. It’s made out of bamboo, from IKEA for only $7. I bought several.

  11. So jealous! My husband and i own a wine shop here in Sarasota, FL, also love all things wine related. We, however, are lacking wineries and vineyards. The cheapest I could find a barell on ebay was in the hundreds!! How nice to have some being sold on the side of the road practically! Boy, the things I could create!

  12. You always find great inspiration pictures! I’m hoping that since I’m testing the Pinterest thing out, I’ll find some cool stuff too. I’d love to read a column about wine/wine tasting/food pairings. That is not something I claim to know anything about, but I would really love to learn more. :)

  13. ooh, can’t wait to see the list of where the barrel goodies are. i’m dying for one in my house or yard.

  14. I would love some wine recommendations- especially affordable wine! I think DIY projects and wine pair together very well!

  15. I would lovvvve a wine post each month. I’m a wine-lover for certain. (My 30th bday gift was a built in wine fridge from the hubby) Our local wine bar just closed (stupid economy!) so our little wine tasting girls groups is trying to stake out somewhere new! I’d love to know I’d at least get a wine fix from a fave blog.

  16. Hey Kate –

    As a huge fan of wine, I would love to know what you’re drinking! Hope you add it into the mix.


  17. As a fellow oenophile (ok..wino) I would love to both read what others like and share what I like. However, I must admit it will be primarily california wines since I dont really care for others I have tasted. should be interesting

  18. I live in the Niagara Wine Region and a good friend of mine is the winemaker at a largely popular winery near me called Vineland Estates. I live 5 mins away from Wayne Gretzy’s winery, No.99, and also Dan Aykroyd’s winery, Diamond Estates formerly EastDell, is about 15 mins from my home as well. I’d welcome wine suggestions and pairings altho I have to admit I’m very partial to my local wines. But I love a great new wine anytime! :) Wine and Decor…yum!

  19. Would love seeing posts on wine tastings/pairings, ect. I heart wine, am a novice taster and need some teaching!

  20. Have you ever seen the How I Met Your Mother episode where Marshall tries to get rid of his barrel? It’s actually quite funny and interesting!


  21. I have one on my patio as a fountain and I also have the bottom out of one sitting on a metal base as a side table on my deck. My brother-in-law turned one into a rain barrel, which is next on my to-do list. I LOVE THEM!!! In any form!

  22. I’ve always enjoyed your posts about your wine tasting trips and think it is a wonderful idea to discuss wine and food pairings. I am a vino lover but always have such a difficult time pairing it with food so that the two compliment each other and one isn’t just an afterthought. Also I’m getting anxiously excited to see what you are doing with wine barrels. :)

  23. Hello! Love the wine barrel idea. I’m local in Northern Cal and go wine tasting VERY often. This past week we just got back from a small trip with 31 bottles. We only drive up to Wine Country from San Francisco a couple of times a year. So we keep stocking up …

    I have been searching for the wine barrels as well and could just drive up to the “local” place. Would you mind sharing the location please? Would love to read your wine advise too. Thanks!

  24. Every one of those wine barrel creations is beautiful!! My only experience is the two in my garden –one holds a Japanese maple and the other is a planter for annuals. I am appreciating them with new perspective today.

  25. Yes, yes, yes! I would LOVE to read a monthly wine feature! Thanks for all the awesome ideas on ways to reuse wine barrels!

  26. Wine barrels are all the rage for wedding decor too. Last month I was trying to price out having a few barrels shipped over to Maui (though they have at least 1 winery over there, there are NO barrels for sale) but those suckers are over 100 lbs each! Wowza. I was floored. Needless to say, we weren’t able to do it. :(

    My sister is a sommelier in Berlin, Germany. The amount of information she knows about wine… is breath taking. I also get the BEST Christmas gifts from her every year. Though I always know it’ll come in the form of a bottle- the flavors always surprise me :)

  27. Definately interested in a monthly wine post. I think of your blog as more of a lifestyle blog, sharing recipes, destination spots etc, so a wine post would fit in perfectly =)
    I love using wine barrels as planters, and have several around my garden. I think I need to start thinking outside the box (barrel?) and look for other creative uses!

  28. We LOVE wine barrels and have used them for numerous things. I guess living in the heart of wine country has its perks :)
    We had one at our wedding as our cake “table”, we use 1/2 barrels as planters for our tomatoes (they help keep pests off!), as well as using three barrels with rustic wood planks on top for an outdoor “buffet” table.
    My husband has ideas to cut one vertically to use as an outdoor sink :)

    I too, am totally IN for a monthly wine post!

  29. For an event in the South, I was able to get bourbon barrels. Same size/shape as for wine. The great part that I didn’t realize before using them, was that when they heated up in the sunshine, they would give off a wonderful aroma!

  30. Hi Kate-
    Would love to have that wine barrel chandelier. What a great piece. I don’t think I will ever look at a wine barrel the same way again.

    My best- Diane

  31. Yes, please! Would love a monthly wine posting. I used to live in Oregon wine country and go back to visit in-laws at least once a year. Some of the best pinots in the world, I think. Now I am in Northwest Montana and get to Walla Walla once in awhile for their cabernet, malbec, and shiraz. Now you’ve got me going . . . is 11 am too early to open a bottle ?? ;-)

  32. What a fun post! Love those wine barrel chandeliers. Wish I could afford one without selling a kidney. I’d love a monthly wine pairing post. We live in the Finger Lakes region, and drink a lot of local wines, but are always willing to try new wines. Thanks for sharing. Can’t wait to see what you crafted with your wine barrel halves.

  33. I have one wine barrel that I have had for a very long time and have used it in various ways over the years. It is currently a plant stand for a fern. There is actually a winery not too far from me but I have not visited it yet. I will have to add that to my “to do” list. I like wine and would be interested in a monthly post of recommendations.

    ~ Tracy

  34. I am a fellow wino and I am right here in Petaluma. Me and the hubs go wine tasting a lot! Depending on where you are located, a few of my recent favs are: Mazzocco in Dry Creek (amazing zins), Balletto in Sebastopol (great wine and affordable). Cheers!

  35. I love the idea of decorating with wine barrels, even as just as a simple side table.

    Wish I could find them around where I live! There is a vineyard not too far away, wonder if they would have some they would sell….

  36. We have a big ceramic pickle crock from the early 1900’s we used as a trash basket in the kitchen. The problem was, it had no cover and was not very attractive from that standpoint. We had a lid made for it from an old wine barrel with a handle attached to it. Now it looks great, a very unique and classy “garbage pail”.

  37. Thanks for the info. on wine barrels. I just visited the Wollersheim Winery here in Wisconsin this past weekend and learned some of the same information. I would love it if you added a monthly feature on wine. Very fun and very cool!

  38. Did you know they cost anywhere from $600 to $1200 new? And the cost is written off over three years.

    You should warn people to attach or stabilise the hoops (depending on the brand of barrel) if they’re simply held on by the swelling of the wood. Once they cut them to make a flower pot the structural integrity is gone, and in a year or two the hoops fall off.

  39. I wanted to add, in a windery they frequently retighten the hoops by driving them towards the center with a big chiselly looking thing and a mallet.

  40. I’ve been looking for wine barrels for so many years but they are so pricey :(
    Would love for you to talk about your favorite wines, exp chard :)


  41. Yes to the wine recommendations posts!! I’m always on the lookout for cheap but GOOD wine!! And I never know the right wines to pair with different things!

    I loved this post! I definitely think there has to be a smart DIYer out there (or here!) who can figure out how to make some of those chandys for cheap!

  42. Yes, yes, yes – a monthly wine feature – how perfect!

    Great post, I’ve always loved wine barrels, mostly I’ve seen them used as planters, I had no idea they could be recylcled into so many lovely objects!

  43. Yes, please do post about wine and or wine/food pairings! The hub and I have been lucky enough to get to your area the last 4 years and are hoping for another trip this summer or fall. What a great place to live… I already love your blog so if you add the wine component it will be perfection!

  44. Any wine related is good! ;) But seriously, I love your blog and I think any fun posts would be good.

  45. oooh–perfect timing on this! i live near you and have also had wine barrels on the brain… spotted a fellow in S.R. who has half barrels for $18. $18-$25 seems to be the going rate.

    if you have not been to the new tyler florence restaurant in napa yet, you should go check out the wine barrel chandeliers and (now that its stopped raining!!) have a glass of wine in on of the rocking chairs on the patio. lots of good ideas in that restaurant that we can all incorporate into our homes.

  46. I would totally dig a monthly wine column – especially something recommending food, cheese, chocolate pairings. At this point in my young, newly-wed life, I basically buy the cheapest wine on the shelf, but someday I aspire to be a true wine connoisseur, so you can get me going on my way. :)

  47. Where can I buy half wine barrels near SF? I love the idea of using them as outdoor coffee tables or side tables!

    • Hi Rebecca, I find mine at the ACE on Sonoma Highway in Santa Rosa, but a lot of local nurseries get them from local vineyards, so you may get lucky if you call around!

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