Hardwood is typically finished in two different ways to prepare it for use as flooring. After it has been cut, planed, sanded, and installed, the wood is generally stained. Wood stain is a thin pigment that seeps into the pores of the wood. It’s called stain because it is absorbed below the surface of the wood. Stain can enhance the color of the wood, deepen the pigments, or even change it to a completely new color. Experimentation with many different colors of stain is trending right now.
After the stain, the wood is then sealed with polyurethane or oil. These often come in glossy colors to give the wood a shimmer. Some sealant is so glossy that the floor almost looks wet. For a long time, glossier coats were popular.
Now, the pendulum seems to be swinging back and the look of raw hardwood is trending. Raw hardwood is wood that has not been stained or sealed. It’s just bare wood. This was used for cabin floors or other utility purposes in the past. If you want that look, you can capture it in your home. Here is how.
Choosing a Stain
If you like the look of your wood right now, you should skip staining it altogether. However, if you want to make it look raw and aren’t completely comfortable with its current color, you need a very lightly colored stain. You should choose something that will even the color of the wood and enhance the grain without greatly changing the hue of the wood. A light stain is appropriate; you can even cut it with some paint thinner. Be sure to apply it evenly.
Choosing a Finish
The finish is going to be the most important part of selling any hardwood as looking bare. A glossy finish on the wood is self-evident. Wood does not shimmer naturally. Anything glossy or even semi-gloss will stand out and make the wood look finished. To capture the bare look, you need a matte finish. Even a satin finish might stand out too much. A matte finish will not reflect much light and will keep the wood from looking like it’s been finished.
You can also achieve this look with some oil and wax finishes. A matte wax could really enhance the bare look. The bare look pairs very well with a quasi-Nordic look that has grown very trendy lately. Homes are looking somewhat like chalets from Northern Europe.