How to Distress Wood Furniture

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 28, 2022
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Distressing is done on wooden furniture to give it an old, “weathered look.” It makes the furniture portray an antique and artsy vibe. A rustic, vintage look can often be what you strive for, and distressing helps you to achieve that unique look.

The distressed look has become a trend in modern furniture designs. Often, the old and vintage look can give your furniture a rich and premium feel. That’s why a distressed finish is a highly sought-after finish by many people. The final look achieved by distressing is called “Patina.”

It is basically the technique of wearing down a furniture’s finish manually. In a sense, it is contrary to a finished and polished look, as it is intentionally done by destroying a furniture’s finish. But this look is often more preferable over the squeaky and shiny look.


You can achieve this look on your furniture staying at home easily. With the proper equipment and tools, distressing a piece of wood furniture would be a piece of cake. We will now teach you how you can distress your wood furniture.

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Tools and Equipment Required

The required tools and materials to get started on distressing wood furniture are-

How to Distress Wood Furniture

Distressed look on your furniture might be a look you desire for. The vintage, worn-out look isn’t as difficult to achieve as you might think. In fact, it is actually quite easy to pull off. Make sure you are positive about distressing your piece of furniture as it would effectively ruin the furniture’s finish.

There are many techniques for distressing wood furniture. Some of them are-

These techniques are used in a lot of distressing works to achieve the perfect look. You can distress either pre-painted furniture or paint furniture and then distress it. Regardless of it, we are going to guide you through both processes so that you can do it effortlessly without any hassle.

How to Distress Already Painted Wood Furniture

To distress wood that has already been painted, you need to use the sandpaper to wear down the finish of the wood. Basically, you have to roughen the wood and scrape some color of the piece. In the end, it is the worn out, destroyed look that you desire.


We will now guide you step-by-step on how you can distress painted wood with sandpaper.

There you have it, you have successfully achieved a distressed finish on your furniture.

How to Distress Furniture with Chalk Paint

When you want to distress natural wood furniture, you can apply chalk paint and then distress it for a unique distressed look. In such a case, you need sandpaper to distress the paint.


Let us discuss how to distress furniture with chalk paint.

Now you can distress wood furniture using chalk paint as well.

Final Thoughts

A distressed look on wood furniture is a unique look. It is a unique form of art and aristocracy. That makes it renowned among designers and people who pay attention to home aesthetics.

Going through the process isn’t much hard of a thing to do. In fact, distressing wood furniture is really easy for a job. It doesn’t take much to pull it off. If you know the proper steps, you should be just fine. You can also let your creativity flourish by doing things like adding stains, scratches, etc.

We hope that after reading our article on how to distress wood furniture, you are confident about distressing your own furniture.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new equipment, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.
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