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Rustic Flooring And Walls For Your Cabin Décor/Finished OSB Flooring

Updated on November 19, 2013

Rustic Cabin Décor

Inexpensive rustic flooring for your cabin getaway doesn't have to mean a hard packed earthen floor reminiscent to the cabin floors of the early settlers. You can step it up a few notches and have rustic wood flooring for cheap using the method my husband and I just finished on our cabin.

As far as rustic walls go, we also came up with an economical yet rustic chic look that is still light and bright enough to enhance the natural surroundings of any retreat.

The materials we used may surprise you. Although not typical, when finished in the right way they certainly give a rustic appeal that is still packed with high style.

Rustic flooring and walls
Rustic flooring and walls

Cheap Wood Flooring and Walls

If you haven't guessed from looking at the picture, the flooring that we used is simply the OSB sub-floor. Before finishing the floor, we had many people giving us their doubts. My husband and I, however, like to experiment and figured our cabin was the place to do it. If it was our home, I must say that I probably wouldn't have been as adventurous. I feel like a cabin is a place to express a little more creativity and expression.

The walls are an inexpensive tigerwood plywood. Try telling your friends that you are putting plywood on your walls and imagine the looks you might get! Again, we were taking a risk but had a vision of the finished product that appealed to us.

Finished OSB flooring
Finished OSB flooring
OSB in the loft is the same warm tone as the ceiling.
OSB in the loft is the same warm tone as the ceiling.

How To Finish OSB flooring

If you can find OSB flooring without any paint lines on it, that of course would be ideal. We could not and our floor started out with the green paint lines used to assist in nailing.

For starters, whether you need to get rid of paint lines or not, you will want to sand the floor with a belt sander. These can be rented from places like Menards or Lowes. Do not use a drum sander which can tear up any wood floor if you are not careful. Even with the multiple layers of OSB, it is amazing how smooth you can get the wood after sanding. Use a medium grit sandpaper for best results.

After sanding, broom sawdust into any gaps left where sheets of OSB butt up to each other. Then, vacuum thoroughly with a wet dry vac being careful to stay away from the gaps that you just filled. You are now ready to apply your floor polyurethane. We did not do any staining but this is always any option if you want to go with a darker color. We simply applied three very heavy coats of polyurethane specially formulated for floors. The brand we used was Varathane which I would recommend. The OSB will soak up the polyurethane pretty good so don't be afraid to do heavy coats. Ours were almost in puddles. Also, use a painters pad with a long handle extension for applying. It gives a nice smooth finish.

We always applied a coat as we were leaving the cabin after a weekend of work and then would come back the next weekend and it would be dry and smooth. It would probably take a couple of days of drying time for the floor not to be tacky.

After three coats, I love our floor. It is hard and smooth and feels as nice as my hardwood floor at home. All you need to do for a little extra warmth is throw down some area rugs!

Varathane Floor Finish Products

Whitewashed plywood walls
Whitewashed plywood walls
Whitewashed walls and whitewashed pine ceiling
Whitewashed walls and whitewashed pine ceiling

How To Finish Plywood Walls

If you take a sheet of plywood and put a stain on it, it will most likely look like paneling from the sixties. I experimented with a small piece of tiger-wood plywood and honey pine stain. The result was much too dark.

Instead, I decided to go with a whitewash pickling stain to give a lighter brighter look. I also wanted to be able to contrast all of the pine trim which we finished in a honey pine stain. To apply, I simply rolled on the stain and then almost immediately wiped it back off so the grain would show through.

Since there are seams when you put up plain pieces of plywood, we also hung pine boards finished in the same whitewash pickling stain. This does require a lot of trim but we used the low grade pine firring strips which just added to the rustic feel.

To see more of our cabin decorating ideas, check out my blog at Rustic Crafts & Chic Décor.

Whitewash Pickling Stain


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Mary-Louise, some OSB is wax treated to protect it from exposure to elements when it's used in building, sounds like yours may have been treated.

    • Song-Bird profile imageAUTHOR

      Renee Hanlon 

      8 years ago from Michigan

      vj, we only put about 3 coats on ours but they were super thick. We did not stain the wood first but it was new osb. How old is your osb? If it has been exposed for a while it may have grayed or lightened a bit.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      HI your floor looks beautiful, I'm trying to do the same effect in my sunroom,i've put on about 5 layers of varathane to date and it still looks light looking, not the amber color that yours look like from your picture. Do they darken by themselves over time or did you stain yours first or should I do more layers?

    • Song-Bird profile imageAUTHOR

      Renee Hanlon 

      8 years ago from Michigan


      Thank you! We have been walking and moving furniture on our floor for almost a year now and we don't have any scratches :). The Varathane is definitely the way to go. I am so happy with it. Just remember to use heavy coats and be patient with drying time.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Song-Bird-- I've been searching the 'net, stores, etc., for ways to poly my OSB floor, only to be told again and again that it cannot be done. I finally got a gallon of Minwax Super Fast Dry Poly and experimented with a scrap board, but much to my dismay the poly, even when dry, scratches off easily. Will definitely try Varathane. Congrats on your project; it's beautiful!

    • Bmosaics profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      I think living in a beautiful cabin would be so cool.

    • Song-Bird profile imageAUTHOR

      Renee Hanlon 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      Hi D & E - We used tongue and groove OSB and then we did use construction adhesive and finish nails but brad nails would probably be better!

    • profile image

      D & E 

      9 years ago

      My husband and I are also looking into doing this> How did you attach the OSB to the floor we do not want to see screw and nails, did you use glue and brad nails?

    • Johnny Joe profile image

      Johnny Joe 

      9 years ago from USA

      This is a great way to save money, though it might take more time. Everything today is a result of experiments. My friend used a drum sander while flooring and got scratches here and there. Great post and keep posting.

    • profile image

      Ronald Hart 

      9 years ago

      This flooring came out great. I would have never thought of doing something like that. It really is perfect for a summer or winter cabin. Thanks for sharing the info!

    • Song-Bird profile imageAUTHOR

      Renee Hanlon 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      I'm glad you found the information helpful, brc! Thanks for commenting.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      great details on the OSB finished floor. I've been searching all over the web for this kind of yet. nice work!

    • Song-Bird profile imageAUTHOR

      Renee Hanlon 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks Cassie Ann!

      In this economy any way you can save money is a great help. Doing all of the labor ourselves was a huge cost savings.

    • Cassie Ann profile image

      Cassie Ann 

      9 years ago

      You and your husband did a great job. It looks very nice. It always feel good when you can achieve wonderful results at a cheaper price.

    • Song-Bird profile imageAUTHOR

      Renee Hanlon 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks L.T.!

      It definitely was more time consuming than some of the traditional finishing methods. But, the cost was right and the look was exactly what we were after.

    • ltfawkes profile image


      9 years ago from NE Ohio

      With a little creativity and a lot of elbow grease, you got great results. Interesting hub.



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