How To Build It


8 Tips for Distressing Furniture

It’s funny how old things come back in style. That is certainly true for furniture nowadays—old is in! Distressing furniture is a hot topic!

Old furniture is my favorite. I love adding my own flair with paint or stain and distressing it. The process is an easy DIY and cheap. Read the post to learn about 8 distressing furniture tips you could try today. #distressingfurniture #DIYupgrades #DIYmakeover #howtobuilditblog

People pay top dollar for vintage and retro pieces of furniture. Thrift stores, estate sales, and auctions have never been more popular. Want to create your own “distressed” furniture? Check out these tips below:

Distressing Furniture

Sand your piece before you paint it, especially if it has been finished already.

8 Tips for Distressing Furniture

Image from Lovely Etc

Do a base coat of a lighter color and a top coat of a darker color (or darker shade of the same color). When you distress the furniture, the lighter color will peek through. If you want raw wood to show through, just paint one coat.

8 Tips for Distressing Furniture

Image from White Lace Cottage

Use a water-based polyurethane as a finishing coat that will keep the colors looking great and prevent yellowing.

8 Tips for Distressing Furniture

Image from The LilyPad Cottage


For the two-tone look, after applying the base coat, rub candle wax on the areas you want to distress. After applying the second coat, use steel wool to rub the areas that were waxed.

8 Tips for Distressing Furniture

Image from Perfectly Imperfect


Start gently at first with your sander. You don’t want to take off too much paint. But you can always take off more if you need to! Use a power sander and experiment with different grits to get different looks.

8 Tips for Distressing Furniture

Image from Antique Recreation

To get “clean breaks” in the paint, use a liquid paint stripper instead of a sander. Pool and drip it wear you want to strip the paint.

8 Tips for Distressing Furniture

Image from Lemonade Makin Mama


Use a Dry Brush to paint the furniture. Lightly cover the surface, and make sure the brush is VERY dry. This piece from Unexpected Elegance was created using that technique. I love this look for distressing furniture.

8 Tips for Distressing Furniture


Use paint remover and a scraper to achieve this worn look. Get the how-to from Unexpected Elegance.

8 Tips for Distressing Furniture

8 thoughts on “8 Tips for Distressing Furniture”

  1. Thank you for these great tips. I find them quite helpful. Though not a novice to painting furniture, I am to distressing. I really like the distressed look and want to do a three piece wall unit. Explain Dry brush please. Is this a specific type of paint brush? If so, where might I purchase one?

  2. Those furniture pieces are quite beautiful. It is actually 8:18 am here. Where do you reside that it is now 12:18 pm? Just curious.

  3. I have an old grandmother’s. It is a maple. I want to distress it with white. Do I still have to paint a dark and then white?


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