How to Use Rough Cut Wood for an Interior

Written by mary abella
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Rough-cut lumber is usually sold at a fraction of the cost of finished lumber. It is available in much thicker boards than finished cuts, which gives the woodworker a wider margin of error when working with it. Rough-cut wood used in interiors is best for people who like rustic decor. It is not a finished style. Cabins, cottages, horse ranches and other rural homes lend themselves to this type of wood accent. Try adding some of these rough-cut wood ideas to a country-style home.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Add beams or posts. If your home has finished drywall in place, attach rough-wood ceiling beams. If you are gutting the home and starting over, substitute rough posts and ceiling frames.

  2. 2

    Install wall panelling. The panelling can be made of different varieties of wood, depending on the colours used in your decorating scheme. Choose a cherry wood for purple-reds, white oak for a more neutral colour scheme. Install the panels vertically or horizontally, or at an angle for more interest. Stain or clear-coat it to preserve its rough-cut beauty.

  3. 3

    Try laying rough-wood flooring. The wood cannot be so rough that someone could trip on it. A good source for rough-wood flooring is a wood recycler, such as Heritage Timber based in Montana. Recyclers will have wood that is smooth enough for walking yet rustic enough for the look you are after. The floors come from old buildings that have interesting histories, and it's fun to imagine who has walked them before you.

  4. 4

    Create a rough-wood bar topped with a chopping block for a conversation starter. Placed in a family room or basement rec room, this bar will be an easier project to tackle.

  5. 5

    Hang shutters as a decorative element. Rough-wood shutters that are intended as an art could be ordered or made by hand in pairs and placed on either side of a window.

  6. 6

    Use rough-wood picture frames. Picture frames made from barn wood incorporate rough wood into the home on a smaller scale. Place black-and-white or sepia-tone photos in the frame for an old-time look.

Tips and warnings

  • Cure the wood for a year per inch of thickness before using it, or use a solar kiln to dry it faster.
  • After the lumber is dried, joint one face of the board using a hand plane or a jointer. It's easier to cut the board to a length close to the final size needed. Run the board through a thickness planer. This will make the board parallel to the flat face. With the board planed to the final thickness, rip the board to the desired width. Cut to the length needed. Treat the wood like the finished type bought at a lumberyard.
  • Depending on the roughness of the wood, take into consideration that it could catch on clothing or give splinters. This would be more true of cedar and soft woods than hard woods which, when finished, are more like regular wood.

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