DIY ProjectsFurniture

Ways To Distress Furniture

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Oh, let me count the ways to distress furniture.

I have been distressing furniture for years. It started because we couldn’t afford real antiques from stores and vintage markets. I loved the look and really wanted to decorate our home with pieces I saw. Distressing pieces that I rescued from yard sales and thrift stores was a cost effective way to get the same look without having to break the bank buying from dealers, shops and markets.

There are many different ways to distress furniture and today, I am going to share seven of my favorite techniques that look amazing! 

7 ways to distress furniture. Distressed furniture is so pretty and there are many ways you can achieve the look without having to buy expensive antiques.

Ways To Distress Furniture

  • Wax

Furniture wax comes in so many different colors. When I want to distress a piece of furniture, I always use a dark wax. Dark wax makes a piece look worn, aged and distressed. I love using wax and have shared many projects using this method. My latest makeover with dark wax was the green painted dresser makeover. I also used it on my French Provincial dresser makeover

  • Beat It Up

If you take a hammer, some screws, nails, chains… – whatever you can get your hands on – to “beat up” a piece of furniture, you can really give it a distressed look. It would look even more distressed if you stained or painted over the knicks and “bruises” you gave it. Whenever I am rescuing a piece of furniture from a yard sale or thrift store, it usually has bumps and bruises already on it. I love those and keep them! It has been naturally “distressed” and that is like gold on a piece of furniture. Less work for me too! 🙂 Dings and scratches are good things when you are going for a distressed look. 

farmhouse table

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  • Sand It

If you paint a piece of furniture, run a sander over the paint to remove some of the paint to give it a distressed look. This is the easiest way to achieve a distressed look. I love to use my orbital sander for this kind of project. Sanding this farmhouse table and chairs from a curbside find made this set look like distressed perfection!

  • Dark Paint

When I first started rescuing furniture to make it over, I didn’t have all the glazes and waxes to try. So, I would paint the furniture the color I wanted and then, I would water down a darker paint color and rub it over the painted piece. It was kind of the same idea as the wax, but it was just paint. It worked great on a lot of pieces and projects I did. 

7 ways to distress furniture. Distressed furniture is so pretty and there are many ways you can achieve the look without having to buy expensive antiques.

  • Stain Over Paint

In the beginning of my DIY days, I learned so much just by doing projects and not having a huge budget to buy all the waxes, gels and glazes that I saw a lot of other people using. I had to get creative and find ways to achieve the same look with what I had on hand. We always had left over paint and stain on our hands. When I did this wooden chest of drawers makeover, I really liked the green paint color, but I wanted to deepen the color and make it look more distressed. I sanded the piece and then applied stain right over the paint. IT TURNED OUT GORGEOUS! This piece still lives in our living room today.

  • Crackle

Another great look for a distressed piece of furniture is a crackle finish. I love finding old pieces of furniture that have this look naturally, but you can create the look with one of the many crackle products that are on the market. 

Ways To Distress Furniture

  • Glaze

Using glaze to distress a piece of furniture is an easy way to get a worn and weathered look without a lot of work. I shared one of my favorite glaze products with my blue dresser with glaze makeover. This glaze is not hard to use, you can’t mess it up and it always looks great in the end. 

Distressing a piece of furniture takes a little bit of elbow grease, but the end product looks amazing. There are many ways to accomplish a distressed look and choosing the method, depends on how you want the piece to look in the end. You can’t go wrong with any of these techniques and you can find so many more furniture makeovers and techniques on my DIY/Furniture page HERE.

I hope this post helps with your furniture makeover. If you have any questions or need some ideas, please let me know in the comments below or shoot me an email. I want to help in any way I can! 


7 ways to distress furniture. Distressed furniture is so pretty and there are many ways you can achieve the look without having to buy expensive antiques.

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