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Distressed furniture can add color, texture, warmth, and character to your home. If you’re a fan of antique furniture, distressed country furniture pieces can tell more of a story than you could ever put into words- they tell the tale of lives gone by, of stories shared, and more.

However, most distressed country furniture pieces are not actually “antique”, but merely painted to appear that way. This isn’t an opt out, but rather a creative way to achieve a desired look in your home without digging through antique shops or vintage thrift stores in the hopes of finding the one piece of furniture you want

Admittedly, it’s easier to purchase a distressed wooden chair or table from a big box store rather than hunting through estate sales, but if you really want a sense of authenticity, there are a few ways to achieve it. It may involve a bit of elbow grease, but making your own DIY distressed furniture piece can be a fun weekend project that will completely transform a space, and it’s cost-effective as well. Below, you will find some ideas and inspiration if you’re searching for the perfect distressed decor to bring into your home.

Common Distressed Country Furniture Pieces

Before looking into buying distressed decor, you need to know what’s out there. The same applies to whether or not you want to attempt to distress your own furniture. Some pieces are larger than others, which promise more of a challenge, but the end result will be well worth it. Some of the most popular, and common, furniture pieces that often feature a distressed look are:

  • Side tables and nightstands
  • Chairs
  • Headboards
  • Cabinets
  • Chest of drawers
  • Dining room tables
  • Shelving
  • Desks


How to DIY Distressed Furniture

All you really need to transform a common furniture piece into an antique statement piece is paint and some elbow grease. Distressing your own furniture is a modern technique to “age” new furniture without having to dig through antique shops.

After choosing a piece of furniture you want to distress (whether you bought it at a big box store or a thrift shop) follow these steps to give it the perfect distressed appearance.

Wood stain (color of your choice)
Unfinished piece of furniture
Bristle brushes
Steel Wool
Latex Paint of your choice


  1. If the furniture piece has a finish on it, use the sandpaper to completely remove the finish until the original wood shows through.
  2. After the entire piece is sanded, cover the piece with a generous coating of wood stain. To ensure each coat is dry, wait the recommended amount of time as listed on the stain container – even if it’s up to 24 hours before adding another coat. Paint with the grain of the wood for a more natural appearance.
  3. Mix together the desired paint color and water to thin the mixture, and spread a thin mixture onto the desired areas of the furniture piece. There should barely be any paint on your brush – this will allow for a more distressed look.
  4. Once the furniture is completely dry, go back over select areas with sandpaper and steel wool to distress the furniture and immediately age it.
  5. When the furniture piece has reached your desired level of distress, you have the option to wax the wood to seal in the color, but be careful- using too much will reverse the aged appearance of the wood. Matte paint colors will appear older than glossy colors.

Enjoy your new DIY distressed furniture piece!