How To Distress Furniture In 5 Steps

If you are wondering how to distress furniture, then you should know that not all furniture can be given that look. Worn, vintage and antique furniture has a way of making your home look warm and attractive. However, vintage furniture is not only very hard to find but can also be quite expensive. So, what do you do if you want to achieve a vintage look for your furniture without having to spend a fortune or spend a lot of time trying to find antiques? There is one way, and it is known as distressing furniture. By effectively distressing furniture you will achieve a look that will add the feel-good factor to your décor. Below are a few steps showing how to distress furniture effectively.

Choose the right piece of furniture to distress

You certainly don’t want to distress all the pieces of furniture in your home. For a good antique effect, you want to maybe distress one or two, and picking the right one is the most essential step in the process. The other reason you need to take extra care when choosing the right furniture to distress is that if this is your first time doing this, you don’t want to ruin your most expensive or most prized pieces of furniture. Follow the next steps on how to distress furniture with a test piece and if you like the result, then you can replicate the process for your other more expensive pieces of furniture.

Step One – sanding the furniture

In order to do this effectively, you can use coarse-grit sandpaper, which can be found in the hardware section of many of the major retailers near you. If the furniture that you intend to distress is unfinished, then you will only need to sand until you achieve a smooth surface, which shouldn’t take very long. If, however, the piece of furniture is already finished and has a coat of paint on it, then you can sand away most of the finish, leaving only a little bit.  Leaving some of the finishing on the furniture will help add flare to the finished product. After sanding you will then have to wipe down the entire piece of furniture with a cloth to remove the dust that may have accumulated as a result of the sanding process.

Then, make sure that you also sand the edges of the piece as this will create a worn look, which is the main point of the process of how to distress furniture.

Step Two – add cracks

Using a chisel and hammer, add cracks to the wood being distressed. You can do this by using the hammer to tap repeatedly on the wood using the chisel until a crack appears. But you must remember that cracks will only appear along the grain and so you should be positioning the chisel along the grain for maximum effectiveness.  You can then use the same hammer to add a number of depressions onto the wood whenever you want them to be.

How to distress furniture, distressed wood

Step Three – add holes and scratches

Using a wire brush add light scratches to the piece of furniture for an authentic aged look. You may choose whether you want to add the scratches before or after you paint the piece. You can then use a drill to make small holes on the surface of the furniture and you may even drill a few holes closer together to simulate insect damage.

Step Four – replace any metal parts

At this stage of how to distress furniture, your furniture should be getting an antique look except for one thing; the metal handles. You will want to replace these with other older and less shiny looking ones to complete the effect. You can find these at your local antique hardware store or online.

Step Five – Finish up

The final step is to apply a finishing wood stain. You should, however, remember to apply the stain in the direction of the wood grain only after wiping your furniture clean.

The process involving how to distress furniture is easy. However, choose a piece of furniture, which is not looking so good and may need a lot of maintenance. By distressing it you will have it for a long time while giving it an antique look. Don’t go overboard with this effect, as there are some pieces that look great without the distressed look.

Author: John Clax

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