DIY: Distressing Furniture

Remember when I said I wanted a desk (see here)? Well, my super sweet hubby surprised me last weekend when I got home from a work trip with this:

He found it on the side of the road at the end of June (way before I was talking about wanting a desk), and was going to fix it up for me for my birthday. But when I told him how much I wanted a desk, he gave it to me early! He took the icky brown finish off and took it down to the wood (I don’t have a picture of what it looked like before). He even made room for it in our office/dining room!

I love the look of distressed furniture. My dining room table is white distressed, so I decided to do the same with my desk (because it is going to be in the same room).

What you need:

2″ to 3″ paint brush
A flat color paint to go on the bottom (I chose a yellow- “Honey Toast” by Olympic). This color will go on first
Paste Wax
Old rag, for applying paste wax
A second paint to go on top (it needs to be mixed with glaze) I used “Betsy’s Linen” by Valspar
Sandpaper, nothing too terribly harsh

Step 1:

Paint your first coat on the piece of furniture

Let it dry really well (24 hours)

You don’t need to paint perfectly, or even do 2 coats. You want some wood showing through

Step 2:
Go over the whole piece with paste wax.

Let dry for 1 hour.

Step 3:
Paint with your second paint (the paint/glaze mix)

Let dry overnight, but not for a full 24 hours

Step 4:
Sand paper off some of the top paint to reveal bottom coat and wood. Do it in areas that would be worn down first- corners, edges, legs

Do see my yellow peaking through?
I didn’t do a lot of distressing for 2 reasons:
1. Over time it will naturally distress some
2. I had a lot of spots where the wood showed through, so I didn’t want to go overboard

I used these cute knobs from Anthropologie on my drawers

Ready for the big reveal?



I now want to distress every piece of furniture in our apartment… and my parents house… and anything else I can get my hands on! I still need to get a chair for it. Thats on my To Do list for next weekend.


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  1. says

    I love this! I am thinking about painting my desk (we just found) a light gray, with a black chalk board top.. but now that I seen your cute handles I might have to see what other kinds they have and change that up! :) This is adorable!

    p.s. Following from Mingle Monday :)

  2. says

    Hi, I’m stopping by from Mingle Monday.

    Your blog is so cute – and most of all I love the picture of your cattle dog…I have 2 myself. So cute! I hope yours isn’t as a big of a monster as my boys are.

    Great job on the desk btw…it looks fantastic.


  3. says

    Wow! I don’t feel like I could ever take that on and have it turn out so nice. The original piece was a little crafty looking for my taste but after the distressing, it’s totally cute. Nice job.

  4. says

    I love this project! I love how it turned out. The drawer pulls are fabulous. I’m totally inspired to work on a piece now! :)

    The Bellini Bunny

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