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Rustic outdoor décor has become the rave as many have gravitated towards the aesthetics in wood and creative, DIY energy that goes into creating this look. Below are four methods you can easily apply to new or recycled indoor/outdoor wood for a more aged or rustic appeal.

FYI: Before you apply any of these methods you must follow proper safety precautions. Also, use only real wood furniture. Synthetic does not paint well or hold up during distress.

How to Achieve a Rustic Outdoor Décor Look on a Budget


Distressed wood is very lovely and the look is so easy to achieve. For a natural distressed look to furniture, take a rock, heavy chain or hammer and beat nicks and depressions into it strategically. You can even roughen spots of the wood with sandpaper or a wire brush. Once you have achieved the distressed look you want apply a stain or paint to the finished project.


Another way to add character to wood is with heat. You can use a blow torch, heat gun or propane torch to apply burn marks into wood for that rustic touch you’re going for. Don’t let the heat burn one area of the wood too long. Instead use quick strokes (like painting) and scrape away any areas that are charred. Try this idea on your shelve edges, picture frames, tables, benches or floor. If you don’t own a propane torch you can rent one from your local home repair store for $10-20 a day, or purchase one for a few dollars more.

Caution: Never allow children to use flammable sources.


Staining wood is another quick and easy way to achieve a rustic look using a sponge, heavy bristled paintbrush or steel wool. Be sure you test stain the wood before starting to make sure you chose the correct shade. Before you stain the wood apply a thin coat of wood conditioner to prevent blotching. You can also use multiple shades of stain to create a more appealing rustic look to your wood project.


If you want to give wooden furniture a weathered rustic look then try whitewash. Whitewashing will help brighten up wood while maintaining the grain pattern. Apply with a paintbrush and then with a dry cloth wipe away the excess. Do these steps until you have that desired rustic wood look you want.

Achieving a rustic look doesn’t have to be expensive. You can achieve this look on a budget, even if you prefer a modern or traditional look. Look for furniture that offers beauty and texture, and be true to those aesthetics as you recreate your new rustic look.

Jamacia Taylor, Fizzniche Staff Writer

Images Courtesy of Canva.

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About the Author: Patricia Davis Brown

Patricia, like her blog, is not a one-dimensional designer, which is evident in her accolades of 17 national design awards. Over a 38-year career in the industry, she has carved a niche in several areas of design. Licensed in interior design and certified in kitchen and bath design, she offers a full menu of design services ranging from whole house interior design, kitchen and bath design, lighting design, full remodels, commercial design and universal (ADA) design. Patricia is a sought-after speaker in the industry and has been published in many publications as seen on her interior design firm’s website, She writes for such publications as QuinStreetinc, Relaxed Remodeler, and talent offering design tips.