We’re sharing five new ways to use old wooden ironing boards in any vintage-modern, modern bohemian or farmhouse home.  Chances are when visiting an antique mall or attending a flea market; you may wonder, ‘how can I use an old wooden ironing board?’ Then hesitate to buy it.  If you find yourself doing the flea market Kabooki-dance pondering whether to make the purchase or not—don’t hesitate.  Go ahead and grab one because a wooden ironing board can still be handy and useful in your vintage modern home. So, we thought we would share some of our favorite ways to use our ironing boards at home. Hopefully, these ideas will inspire you to repurpose your ironing boards in a simple, but fresh new way after you get your board home.  Just keep scrolling below to see how to use an old wooden ironing board in your home decor.

When Were Wooden Ironing Boards Made?

When was the first ironing board invented?  Ironing boards, also known as Folding Ironing Tables, were designed out of necessity then patented on May 12, 1874, by the African-American inventor and mechanical engineer, Elijah McCoy.  He constructed the first wood ironing board for his wife to eliminate the difficulty and frustration she experienced ironing clothes on uneven surfaces.  McCoy’s invention worked, and as they say, the rest is history. And, yes, the term the “Real Mcoy” was probably about the original well-constructed inventions of the talented, Elijah McCoy.  He clocked in nearly 60 patents for his designs throughout his career, primarily for the Railroad system.

Where to Find a Wood Ironing Board?

Often, an owner of a vintage wooden ironing board may not recognize how to use one in a non-traditional way, which is why they turn up in garage sales and flea markets. There are so many ways to repurpose an old vintage wooden ironing board into a stylish table in no time at all.  So, if you inherit one reconsider bringing it out of storage, ditching the cover and finding new ways of styling your board with objects you already have at home. Also, make sure to check out Etsy and eBay to score clean, restored, and maintained boards.

How To Choose Your Wood Ironing Board?

Today, the smooth wood surface can be useful in a variety of fun ways. We like the ironing tables best in their natural state, so to speak — bare naked without an ironing cover.  Following proper cleaning and care, the wood can be beautiful after restoration.

However, if you find one at a flea market or garage sale, make sure to check the condition of the board before purchasing.

  • Check the board carefully for splits or breaks in the wood.
  • Can it open and close with ease?
  • Is the ironing board level, or does it wobble when fully expanded?

When wooden ironing boards are cleaned up and refreshed, the natural wood shines through and is so pretty!

Nevertheless, if you find that it wobbles after bringing it home, there are other ways to upcycle or repurpose an ironing board that can be fun, too.

What to Do With Old Wooden Ironing Boards?

 Make a DIY Wooden Ironing Board Cover

First, we know plenty who love to make pretty DIY covers for their boards then store them out in the open for convenience.  After all, the original purpose of the wooden board with legs was for ironing.

1.  Use an old wooden ironing board as a snack table

boy reading book and using an old wooden ironing board as a snack table

Use an old wooden ironing board as the perfect impromptu snack table.  It easily folds down for storage when not in use.

2.  Turn a Wood Ironing Table Into a Bar Cart

repurposed and upcycled vintage wood ironing board bar.

a wood ironing board works as a cocktail bar in small space living.

 New Wood Ironing Board Option

By the way, if you can’t get your hands on one at a flea and you want one faster, then check-out the new Amish-Made Ironing Board by Lehman above will substitute nicely. Although this is a vintage-style board, the unfinished wood will look beautiful if you want a more minimalist look instead of a worn and distressed feel for your vignette.

Whether it’s vintage or new, either one will work and look super cute too.

3.  Use a Wooden Ironing Board as a High-Boy Table

repurposed ironing boards at restaurant

above: repurposed metal ironing boards are in use as high-boy tables for dining outdoors at Bakesale Betty’s in Oakland, CA. | photo: Remodelista

Another option is to use a wood board as a high boy table. Bakesale Betty, in Oakland, lines the sidewalk with metal ironing boards repurposed as dining tables outdoors.  A wood board can also sub as a high boy table, just like the creative use of ironing boards set-up outside of the famous bakery and restaurant.

4.  Create a Book Nook for Book Lovers

an old wood ironing board is repurposed into a book stand for a reading nook

Propping a wooden ironing board with books, creates a cozy book-nook.  See how easy it is to repurpose these work-horses into something new?  Plus, they’re SO darn cool looking.

5.  Make a Fresh Flower Stand Vignette

a vintage wood ironing board is repurposed as a flower stand

Showcase a wooden ironing board with vintage goblets filled with fresh flowers.

By the way, wooden ironing boards can be a little trickier than their modern counterparts to open and close. But for the most part, once you get the hang of it, folding up or down will require minimum effort for storing away when not in use.  Just don’t forget to pull yours out when you need an extra buffet set-up indoors or outdoors, snacking table for the kids, or merely a quirky and creative display for art.


How do you PopVintage with your wooden ironing board?