Giving Furniture a Distressed Look?

Category Refinishing
Distressing newer furniture gives it an older look that might be just want you need to complete your decor. This is a page about giving furniture a distressed look.


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June 8, 2006

I have a table that I believe is Oak. I bought it at a yard sale a couple of years ago. Anyway, I want to paint it to look distressed white or cream. Is this even possible? Where would I even start? I obviously know nothing! Any help would be appreciated.

Melissa from Pleasant Grove, UT


June 8, 20060 found this helpful

Anytime I'm looking for anything specific, I go to
Google. Just type in what your looking for like "How
to paint a table with a distressed look" Hope this
works for you.Good luck!

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June 9, 20060 found this helpful

I painted a cedar chest with regular latex paint. I then bought crackle finish from the craft store. You paint it on, let it get tacky, and then paint another color over it and it instantly crackles! You could use this on your table and use different colors or even white on white. After it is thoroughly dry take some sandpaper and gently sand the edges to give it a worn look.


If you don't wait until the paint is thoroughly dry this won't work, the paint will ball up. If your table has a shiny finish on it, I would suggest that you sand it to dull the finish and use primer on it before any painting. The process all takes longer but then end results are worth it. Most importantly, take pictures of before and after to share with us at Thrifty Fun!

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June 11, 20060 found this helpful

To add a distressed look, simply paint the piece of furniture and take an electric sander to the wood. It will sand the paint off the high spots. Also, you may want to use a flat paint instead of a gloss.

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By M.Lynn (Guest Post)
June 15, 20060 found this helpful

Since you admitted you don't know what you're doing, stay away from the crackle finish!!! It's difficult to get the look you want with the crackle stuff. Save that for a smaller project so you can get the hang of it.


Here is the easiest way in the world... 1. Distress the finish - a few nicks with a hammer. a few small nail holes (looks like old worm holes) and so on. Some poeple use a chain and hit the surface. 2. Paint the light base coat in off white, cream, what ever color you want (but lighter) paint leaving brush strokes, (strokes should mimic the wood grain). 3. When dry, take a wood stain in a soft brown, or a brown paint (thined with water or a thinning compound) and rub it over the surface with a balled up rag. Rub extra where the natural stains would be darker, like near the edges, where dust would be harder to clean... Do it lightly and add more coats to get the right look. I have used this technique many times, and you can't mess up. It's so easy. The stain fills in the brush strokes, and darkens inside the dents and dings. It's a great effect. If it's a big surface, you can brush on the stain and rub it off as well.

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By (Guest Post)
July 3, 20060 found this helpful

Looking for info.on painted corner cabinet w/ a distressed and rubbed look. Color I would like on the outside is cream or off white. The inside of the cabinet will be a medium toast. Also lightly distressed. I hope you can help. It is a new piece of furniture. Raw woodMaple inside and Pine outside.



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By joan (Guest Post)
September 23, 20070 found this helpful

I want to paint my kitchen cabinets with a distressed finish (much to the dismay of my "you must give it to a designer! "husband) but I notice the doors have a sort of a coating on it that is peeling off at some corners. You can actually lift off the coating (polyurethane?) from the base. I think the cabinets are not real wood just composite.Can I give this type of a finish a distressed look and can I use the technique M.Lynn has suggested?

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October 8, 2008

I have a cabinet that is primed in white. How can I paint it distressed black?

NLZM from Prospect, KY


October 8, 20080 found this helpful

the easiest way is to sand down the edges of the piece (randomly so it looks natural). You can also randomly scuff doors, top, etc. Then rub the sanded edges with a wax candle. When you paint it black, the paint won't stick to the wax.


Then you can put other dents in it to your liking. Another cool look is to paint a color underneath the black, like red or dark green, instead of sanding through. Then you have a black cabinet with red highlights instead of "natural." Good luck! It'll be easy!

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October 17, 20080 found this helpful

Patience and a lot of prep work. Here's a link that will tell you more. And, before doing the black, make sure you really like it, as it will be hard to go back to a lighter color later.

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