You've probably worn blue jeans that came already broken in from the factory, complete with bald spots in all the right places. Turns out you can take a similar approach to giving wood furniture an aged finish—fast. But instead of pumice stones and bleach, some matte paint and a little sandpaper do the distressing. The trick is to put down two coats of color—ideally a light one followed by a darker one—then selectively sand the edges, corners, and contours where natural wear would occur, revealing the paler base coat. Sand a little more to reveal glimpses of unpainted wood to further the effect.

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    Tools List

    • Sanding Sponge
      Medium-grit sanding sponge
    • Natural-bristle chip brush
      3 disposable chip brushes

    Shopping List

    1 quart of primer for the interior2 quarts of latex paint for the exterior