Although ultrathin Au nanowires (∼2 nm diameter) are expected to demonstrate several interesting properties, their extreme fragility has hampered their use in potential applications. One way to improve the stability is to grow them on substrates; however, there is no general method to grow these wires over large areas. The existing methods suffer from poor coverage and associated formation of larger nanoparticles on the substrate. Herein, we demonstrate a room temperature method for growth of these nanowires with high coverage over large areas by in situ functionalization of the substrate. Using control experiments, we demonstrate that an in situ functionalization of the substrate is the key step in controlling the areal density of the wires on the substrate. We show that this strategy works for a variety of substrates ranging like graphene, borosil glass, Kapton, and oxide supports. We present initial results on catalysis using the wires grown on alumina and silica beads and also extend the method to lithography-free device fabrication. This method is general and may be extended to grow ultrathin Au nanowires on a variety of substrates for other applications.