4 Ways to Use Distressed Wood for a Rustic Home Décor

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4 Ways to Use Distressed Wood for a Rustic Home Décor

It seems everywhere you turn today you are seeing stainless steel appliances and sleek home designs that create modern, clean spaces. While that is a very fashionable look, the flip side to this genre of home décor is something a bit more eclectic, and what some might call “rustic”.

If you prefer something a little more rustic, then you’ll fall in love with distressed wood for your kitchen cabinets, rustic floors, wall paneling and furniture. If you are in search of distressed wood for your home, we’ve found a few gems to jump start your research.


There are many types of cabinets you may install in your home. Kitchen cabinets, are usually the first priority, but then you must consider cabinets for the bathroom and perhaps a walk-in closet or pantry.

If you prefer a more rustic cabinet design, distressed wood is a great option and there a couple ways to create this look. The most natural way is to use antique, reclaimed and salvaged wood which has an abundance of natural color variation, character, and rustic charm. Some cabinet manufacturers also offer techniques to hand-distress the wood, to create character. You can also use faux finish techniques to create a distressed or antique effect. We’ll show you some examples of each.

Reclaimed Wood

Salvaged wood like barnwood or oak antique flooring can be used to build cabinet doors, when you want natural color and character. Every hole, stain, crack and color variation has been created over decades of natural aging as floor joist or beam, in a factory or barn. In some cases, like the project below you may even get original paint added to the mix. This look is primitive, but charming and as authentic as you could possibly be.

When considering antique wood, make sure you have an understanding of the variety of character and color you are going to get, as well as the rough texture you should expect.

Faux Distressing

Faux distressing is a technique to alter the surface appearance of the wood, create imperfections and make new cabinets look slightly more distressed. One example of the methods used, can be seen from Wood-Mode Custom cabinetry.

Faux Finishes

Faux finishes are another way to distress wood. This involves applying a series of finishes to the wood to create a multi-tone affect. Normally you notice the darker color underneath, with a lighter color applied on top, then carefully but sporadically scraped or rubbed off to create variation, and avoid any kind of pattern to the final finish.

There are other areas where distressed cabinetry might go well with your home décor. Perhaps some built in cabinetry for a wet bat, or rec room.  Notice an antique finished wood is inset in more modern, monochromatic border.  A great example of rustic distressed cabinetry in a more modern setting.

Or you have an oversized hutch like this media room below.  It looks like it was salvaged from an antique shop and fits in perfectly with the mediterranean decor. 

Wood Floors

If prefer a rustic, ecelectic look for your home, distressed wood flooring will be a perfect addition to your home.  We'll look at two of the most authentic ways to create the right look.

Reclaimed Flooring

Reclaimed wood flooring , also known as Antique flooring, is available in a variety of species. The rich amber hues and dark original sawmarks of Reclaimed Grandpa’s floor make for a stunning backdrop.

Distressed Wood Flooring and Reclaimed Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors
Reclaimed Grandpa's Flooring, Rustic Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Reclaimed Oak is also a popular option because of the inherent durability of oak wood flooring, but also the variety of the nutty brown and gold tones, and rustic character.

Distressed Wood Flooring and Reclaimed Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors
Reclaimed Oak Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Hand-Distressed Wood Flooring

Antique wood can be very rustic and unpredictable, it can also be slightly more expensive.  If you want to control the character of the floor a bit more, or if you want to reign in your costs there are other ways to create this look.

Watermill distressing, as seen below in this rustic Eastern White pine floor,  maintains the original sawmarks of the when the tree was originally cut, then hand-scraped the edges and lightly sands the floor to create variation in color and texture.  If you like antique cut nail, you can easily install the to add to the authentic look.

Rustic Flooring and Pine Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors
Watermill Eastern White Pine Flooring From Carlisle Wide Plank Floors
If you want a more durable floor, than use you can also apply this distressing technique to a hardwood floor, like the Walnut dark wood flooring below, from Telluride, CO.
Distressed Wood Flooring and Rustic Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors
Dark Wood Flooring and Distressed Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors, Telluride, CO Residence

Wall & Ceiling Paneling

If you are considering the walls and ceilings for your home, you might just be considering paint colors or wallpapers.  But you can add rustic charm to your vertical surfaces as well, with wall and ceiling paneling.  This billiard room below uses reclaimed flooring for the wall paneling and wainscoting.
Distressed Wood Flooring and Reclaimed Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors


From a rustic headboard for the master suite, end tables for the leather sofa, and a farmhouse dining table for the family, you can find distressed wood furniture for every room of the house. Some companies actually use real reclaimed wood flooring planks to build furniture, like this coffee table from Sierra Living Concepts. This would go well in retro, industrial, or farmhouse style décor.

In the dining room you’ll find tables in a variety of shapes and colors, but a traditional rectangular table is the most authentic. This charming farmhouse table from EcoArt first was crafted to replicate an authentic 19th century French farmhouse table.

If your bedroom is going to be relaxed and casual, a distressed headboard would be a great focal point for your master suite. Faux distressing, like this set from Fable Porch Furniture gives you the look of naturally distressed wood, where paint has naturally chipped away over time.

Or you can use reclaimed and salvaged wood for a charming, authentic design.


A rustic wood countertop could be a great addition to your front entry to drop your keys off on. Perhaps your half bath is going to take on a more rustic look and would look great with this style countertop.  And of course your kitchen island…just image an old farmhouse sink set in some rustic wood planks as a central focal point of your kitchen design.

How do you use distressed wood in your home decor?

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