how to keep walnut from fading

How to Keep Walnut from Fading: Tips and Tricks

Walnut is considered as a rare and expensive type of wood. Many prefer Walnut than others because of its strength, durability, and good shape that allows it to last a long time along with proper care and maintenance. One thing about Walnut, however, is that it has the tendency to fade through time. Its dark brown color will slowly fade away, turning into pale, honey-like color tones. This usually happens when Walnut wood is exposed to light. This is also the same thing that happens with any furniture made of Walnut wood. 

What You Need

  • UV inhibitor-filled finishes (Linseed oil or Lacquer)
  • Window films
  • AB Bleach
  • 400 grit sandpaper

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1 – Apply the Right Finishes

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To reduce the change in color of Walnut wood through time, you may want to use specific types of finishes. This includes those that contain UV inhibitors. This includes Linseed oil and Lacquer. They are considered as the best options out there, especially for walnut furniture. These finishers only need to be applied on top of the wood surface. They also have anti-UV substances that prevents UV rays from getting in contact with the surface of the wood. 

As you stop UV rays from getting in contact with the surface of the wood, the walnut furniture can be given protection against fading. As such, it retains its dark brown hue, and make it last as beautiful as it was the first time, for a longer period of time. 

Lacquer is easy and fast to apply than linseed oil. It also dries faster. You only need two coats to complete the job. If you want to provide deeper protection, you can go as high as four coats, though two coats is already enough for Walnut wood furniture. 

Linseed oil, on the other hand, penetrates into the small holes and pores of the wood surface. This will not only stop UV radiation on the wood, but it also gives air proofing and waterproofing at the same time. The only concern about this is that it takes longer to complete the drying process. Some may also recommend other types of finishes, but Lacquer and linseed oil are two of the top choices, given that they contain UV inhibitors. As such, they will not just protect the color of your Walnut wood furniture, but give general protection at the same time. 

Step 2 – Use Window Films

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If you have a space where you place your Walnut wood furniture, you may want to use thin multi-layer window films that will help in cutting down the amount of UV rays entering the room. This will help provide protection to your precious furniture, slowing down the fading process at the same time. 

Step 3 – Move Rugs and Furniture Often

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Another solution that you can consider involves moving your rugs and Walnut furniture often. In doing so, you can occasionally change the amount of sunlight that hits a certain spot. This will then distribute the UV rays, reducing the fading of Walnut wood, while spreading out the faded color while providing a consistent tone all over the furniture. 

While this may take hard work, especially if the furniture is heavy, but it will prevent your furniture from looking weird with uneven patches of color in areas that are hit more by sunlight, and with those that do not receive sunlight at all. There is no need to do this often that what is necessary, but you can do it from time to time to make sure that the parts of the furniture receives even amount of sunlight so that the fading will be minimal and even. 

Step 4 – Use a Light Walnut Stain

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While making sure that you keep your furniture out of direct exposure to sunlight is still the best option, you may also want to consider applying a light Walnut stain before finishing. The stain will not likely to change color, and while it will fade through time, it will still give the needed protection so that it will not become completely pale. Make sure to choose the right stain that will work on Walnut wood in order to achieve the maximum output that you would like to achieve. 

Step 5 – Lighten the Wood

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If you want to avoid the disappointment caused by seeing your precious Walnut wood furniture fading through time, you can manually do the fading process. Fading naturally happens through time, as it is caused by sunlight exposure, as well as other environmental factors. With bleach, however, the fading process can be done. In this way, you can make your wood look naturally faded. 

For this, you can use a specific type of bleach, the AB Bleach. For this, you can bleach the color out form your Walnut wood, then applying stain. The bleach needs to be evenly applied through the surface, making sure that the surface stays wet. Many woodworkers perform this method in order to alter the natural color of Walnut. 

After the drying process is done, the Walnut’s dark brown color will be gone completely. Now, you can start applying as much bleach you need until you reach the color that you prefer. You may also want to use a different color for this as well. To complete the process, it is also recommended to sand using 400 grit sandpaper, removing the fuzzy grainy texture from the wood surface, making the wood even and smooth. 


As you may have learned in this article, there is no single solution for the change of color in Walnut wood through time. However, there are some ways that you can take to reduce this fading significantly. You may want to try the most basic one, such as minimizing direct sunlight exposure, or transferring them to a non-humid place. You may also go with options like applying stains and finishes. Do you have a particular solution in mind? Why not share them in the comments section below! Share this article if you like too!



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