Style Guide to Cerused Wood

Style Guide to Cerused Wood

Many of us didn’t realized cerused wood was ever out of style, but in 2017, it’s definitely in. “Cerused” simply refers to employing a technique to bring out the natural grain of wood, unlike other treatments that aim to conceal it. Essentially, it’s a finish that celebrates the wood’s natural beauty.

Oak is the ideal pick for this finish, due to it’s wide grain, though the same look can be achieved other hardwoods, like Ash or Wenge.


Origins of Cerused Wood

Cerused wood originated in France in the 1500s. French woodworkers invented a method that involved using a lead-based, toxic paste to fill the grains in beams and paneling. The original intention was to prevent rot, but it also looked stunning.

Eventually, the practice became popular in cabinetry and was referred to as limed wood. It is still called by this name in most of Europe, and in North America, it’s called cerused wood – “cerused” being an old term used for white lead. Thankfully, toxic paste is no longer used and sealer and wax are the go-to finishing agents these days.


So how do you incorporate it in your home?

  • Panelling
  • Floors
  • Cabinets
  • Table tops
  • Benches
  • Headboards
  • Dressers
  • Coffee tables


Considerations of Colour
While accentuating the natural texture is a defining characteristic of cerused wood, honoring the natural colour of the wood is not. This means you can find cerused wood in a variety of stunning colours that will suit your space perfectly. Think the blue-greys, taupes and yellows that are part of this year’s new neutral trend.


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