The Easiest Way to Distress Furniture

The distressed look is everywhere, and it's a great way to give a unique feel to your home. Not only does it look stylish, but it's ideal to have around kids and pets if you are worried about keeping your furniture flawless and scratch-free.

Distressed Table


What You Need:

  • Wood Furniture
  • Sandpaper or Sander
  • Tack Cloth
  • Satin Latex Paint (base)
  • Satin Latex Paint (top)
  • Distressing Tools (Hammer, Chisel, Wire Brush)
  • Candle or Chapstick

1. Prep

Remove all drawers. Sand the furniture until the surface is smooth. Don't skip this step - sanding will make the base coat stick and last. Use coarser sandpaper for a more rustic look. If your furniture already has paint on it, you can sand it all away. Sand down any sharp edges and corners to make them look more worn down. Once you are finished sanding, wipe down the furniture with a tack cloth to remove any dust.


2. Prime

Cover the furniture entirely with your base paint. This is going to make your top apply with ease and last a long time. It will also bring out the most in your top coat's pigment. Your base coat will be the color that shows underneath the top coat. You can choose any color you like. We're seeing that brown is the most popular choice for this! Allow the base coat to dry completely. Read the manufacturer's instructions for drying time - it should be around 2 hours.


3. Distress

Have some fun with this part! Here are some different ideas on achieving the distressed look:

  • Create dents with a hammer. You'll see what a difference this makes after just a few! Focusing on spots where you think the furniture would naturally get banged up will make it look more realistic.
  • Create cracks with a hammer and chisel
  • Create scratches with a wire brush

4. Wax

Use your candle or Chapstick to go over the parts where you want your base color to show through. You can do this on the edges, corners and random spots all over.


5. Top Coat

Completely cover with your top coat! Make sure to get every spot. You can choose to add a second coat if you'd like, depending on the color. Let the paint dry completely. This is extremely important for your final step.


6. Final Sanding

Sand down the spots where you applied your wax. You will see that the paint will easily peel and show your base coat!


Editorial Assistance by Home Gallery Stores Staff