How to Distress Furniture? | Step-by-step Guide

Furniture plays a vital role in the interior design of our homes. Choosing the right furniture and its style can make or break the entire look of your room decor. And when it comes to furniture choice, distressing is one of the most delightful activities to indulge in, as it works as a fundamental enhancement of the furniture.

The main reason for making distressed furniture is that you want to give it a worn-out and therefore classic appearance to it. This, of course, is a wonderful way of personalizing your furnishing equipment and making it look way more valuable and attractive.

Distressed furniture refers to the furniture pieces that have been damaged and give an older look while placed in your home. You can give an aged and classic look to your existing furniture and make it look distressed, with the help of different tips and tricks. In today’s article, we will discuss how to distress furniture.

Materials That Are Helpful For Distressing Furniture

We can distress painted wood to make it look aged or older by using materials like:

  • Glass
  • Plastic
  • Concrete
  • Plaster
  • Stone
  • Drop cloths
  • Polyurethane
  • Candle
  • Paint Brushes 
  • Paint 
  • Metal, etc.

6 Steps To Refurbish The Distressed Furniture

You can make your furniture look aged and worn out by distressing it using various methods. We will discuss the top 6 ways to distress your furniture. Let’s give the painted wood furniture a distressed look by using different methods so that you can enjoy a uniquely personalized approach to home decor.

1. Use Candle Technique

Distress Furniture by candle technique

How to get a distressed paint look? This method can also be called the most versatile technique for distressing wooden furniture. This will give the best results when you apply it to the surface of the furniture perfectly. You can also make a single or multilayer to apply this technique.

You must have to analyze which layer should be placed at the bottom and which one at the top. Now apply the paint at random places on the furniture surface. After this, take the candle and start rubbing it at random places on the wooden furniture.

Again, paint the furniture with another color for giving the next layer to it. After this, get a rag and scrub the surface by applying some pressure. This will make the paint visible at the places where you are rubbing the candles.

2. Use Sanding Technique

sanding techique for furniture distresstin

It is the most simple and easy technique for distressing furniture and it gives off a sanded paint look. This technique can be used on both painted and unpainted wooden retro style furniture. You have to sand some areas on the wood to scrape the paint off of it.

Sand at random areas on the wooden furniture to make it bumped and scratched which gives the natural look just like the old furniture. You can also repeat this process for painting the specific areas again and again and ensure leaving each layer to dry. You can also use this method for distressed cabinet painting.

3. Use Wet Paper Technique

Use Wet Paper Technique distressing furniture

Using wet paper for distressing the furniture is the best technique ever. You can also use vaseline for that purpose. Pasting the wet papers at various places on the surface of the furniture will the dampen paint and make it lift off easily. You can also use vaseline instead of these wet papers.

You can give different shapes to these papers and also cut them into various sizes for giving a unique look. Dip these papers into the water and place them at random places on the furniture surface.

Before the papers get dry, apply the paint to the wooden furniture and carefully take off each piece of the paper from the surface of the furniture. You can do it even if the paint gets dried or not.

4. Use Scraper Technique

This method is like the sanding technique. The only difference is that using sandpaper helps remove more paint to expose the raw wood grain of the furniture. It will remove the paint before it gets dry and will give a weathered look to the wood.

To apply this method, you have to paint the wooden furniture and leave it for a few minutes. Before the paint gets dry, take the scraper and scrape off some paint from the surface randomly or you can also make use of sandpaper for this purpose.

5. Use Rinsing Technique

Distress Furniture by rinsing technique

This technique is used for giving an elegant and soft-aged look to your wooden furniture in order to achieve a perfect furniture arrangement. This technique works best for the farmhouse’s furniture. You just need to paint the wood and give it a few minutes to get dry.

Before the paint dries completely, keep the furniture under the running water and gently wipe the surface with the help of a rag. Wash off a few places of the furniture to give it a unique texture to it. This technique is used for giving an aged barn style to the furniture.

6. Pouring Paint Technique

Distress Furniture by pouring paint technique

It is the easiest way, as it can be done by using a single step to distress your furniture for giving a worn-out look. It will give your wooden furniture a whitewashed barn look and can be easily used for the textures of a number of different surfaces.

This method is best for both smooth and textured surfaces. To apply this technique, follow these instructions:

  • Get the white paint.
  • Pour it into the bowl and dilute it with some water until you get a heavy-cream-like consistency.
  • Now take a rag and dip it into the solution you have made.
  • Then apply paint to the furniture surface by wiping the surface with the dipped cloth.
  • You can also use a paintbrush for this purpose.
  • After this, repeat the process by adding 2 to 3 more layers to it. 

Tips For Distressing The Furniture Perfectly

Here are some important tips for you to get beneficial results while distressing the furniture:

  • If you made a mistake and painted the surface with the finished sealer, wax, or lacquer, then you can use a little sand or apply fresh paint on it for giving a balanced look.
  • You should not be afraid of getting too messy while distressing the furniture because you will always have the option of painting new layers over these ugly spots to give it a new look. 
  • Keep practising on the wasted stuff for becoming an expert in distressing the bigger furniture pieces


This was all about distressing the furniture. We have discussed various methods for helping you to distress the furniture and enjoy an entirely new and mind-blowing version of it. After this, we also gave some amazing tips to follow while performing this task.

We hope this article will be helpful for you and you can distress your furniture without any trouble. But if you still didn’t understand something or have any queries in this regard, you can totally reach out to our professionals for getting all the required help.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed