How to Turn a Salvaged Column Into a Coat Tree
Reclaimed posts with fluted channels or curvy turnings can find new life as a decorative interior accent
Columns are a bedrock of traditional architecture. Used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as graceful supports for porches and porticos, they help define the style of a place. The sum of three parts—a capital, a shaft, and a base—columns can be fancy, with a fluted body and scrolled volutes on top, or simple and smooth, with a stacked-ring crown.
The earliest columns were carved from stone to match the great temples and monuments they adorned, but most American ones from the past century or so are made of wood, just like our more humble homes.
Because columns were typically used in multiples, you can often find matching ones at salvage yards today. This allows repurposers like me to reuse a series as porch supports, but it also expands our options for creative projects. A row of columns in a great room, for instance, allows you to define different activity zones without erecting walls or blocking views.
If you find only one column, don't fret. You can slice it in half lengthwise. For my reuse project, I kept a single column whole. Fitted with shapely brass hooks and standing about 6 feet tall on a new plinth base, it's the perfect coat tree. I love how the fluted shaft and the egg-and-dart molding on the capital add a touch of formality to what's an otherwise casual entryway. To learn how to make your own coat tree out of a salvaged column, keep reading.
Salvaged Column Overview
I scored a fluted column at an antiques shop for just $90—a bargain, considering its stellar condition and detailed design. To repurpose it as a coat tree, all I had to do was add some hooks and build a new plinth base to replace the missing original. But rather than make a base from scratch, I assembled one by stacking three prefab wood boxes beneath a round plaque that I secured to the bottom of the column's shaft. For $39 in supplies from I saved myself hours in the workshop. The hooks came from where antique repros in a range of styles and finishes start at $3 each. To preserve the column's aged finish and guard against lead in the old paint, I brushed the surface with a few coats of clear polyurethane in a matte sheen before starting the job.