Decoration

Cerused wood: Welcome home to natural wood grain

In a tradition as old as the hills, and treating wood to make it smooth while preserving its beautiful grain is making a comeback. Here’s how to bring your home into the modern era with an age-old technique.

Articles - 8 February 2018

Way back in medieval times, the precursor of the cerused wood technique was invented by the French as a way of preserving oak. The gaps between the grains were filled and smoothed with a mixture derived from lime in order to stop the wood from rotting and at the same time create a smooth surface. The historic technique was reinvented in the 1920s when art deco became a popular furnishing style, and the cerused wood technique was revived. It was seen as a back-to-nature alternative to highly polished and varnished furniture, with a cerused wood finish offering a laid-back, bohemian and definitely arty feel to it. Now swinging back into fashion, the simple and natural, slightly matte and grey-toned finish can chime beautifully in your kitchen, alongside brushed steel fittings or in the bathroom for floors and paneling. Cerused oak wood is today’s must-have look for wooden furniture too, not only for chests and kitchen cabinets, but storage cabinets, bedside tables and even a rustic coffee table.

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These days, to get in on the trend, you no longer have to use the toxic chemical mix that was the only option for preservation in medieval times. Now, if you fancy trying your hand at some cerused wood DIY, you can easily source a pre-made mix that is non-toxic and easy to apply, requiring only smoothing and polishing for a long-lasting finish. The wax comes in a variety of shades, and while oak is still the favorite material, other hardwood options exist such as ash, which gives a lovely close-grained and pale-colored finish. Don’t forget before you start on any major project, whether ready-made or DIY, to visualize your results before you start – not half-way through when you start to wonder if it’s all a big mistake. With a 3D free plan such as HomeByMe’s 3D home design software, your mental image will come to life and help you see the impact of your ideas. This is an invaluable tool, and you’ll find it’s all part of the fun, too!

5 tips for cerused wood

1 . Back to nature

Use cerused wood in the kitchen for a simple, rustic and back-to-nature style that blends beautifully with metallic finishes and country-style furnishings and fabrics.

2 . Floorboards and paneling

Nicely finished and polished cerused wood really comes into its own when used in floorboards, ceilings and wall paneling. It brings a fresh look, free of heavy lacquer or varnish, but still gives you a splinter-free and smooth touch with all the natural warmth of wood.

3 . Cerused wood furnishing

Use cerused wood for the trendiest of rustic-look furniture, in kitchen cabinets, bedside tables, or blanket chests; in fact, it looks good for anything normally made from wood, even a centerpiece coffee table.

4 . DIY cerused wood

If you’re going the DIY route, be prepared for a little hard labor with smoothing and polishing. Even so, the results will make you proud, and you can use a variety of colored fillers to give you the new-look shade that you want.

5 . Visualize with 3D software

Don’t forget to make use of modern technology as part of your back-to-nature trend. A 3D apartment plan will really bring your ideas to life and help you to visualize how it will all turn out before you start so that you can avoid time-consuming and expensive mistakes.

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