How to Faux-Age Painted Wood Furniture
If you can paint and sand, you can create this timeworn look on any new or old piece
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.
Overview for Faux-Aged Paint Finish
Here, decorative painter Ingrid Leess used the technique to add depth and interest to a big blank armoire. "It works best when there are finish details, like molding, which suggest the piece has a past," she points out. In other words, it's easy to make an ornate mirror look timeworn but less convincing to turn a streamlined Parsons table into a find with a treasured painted patina.
Another plus: There's no need to prep the surface before you start painting. Any imperfections that could cause the paint to flake off will only add to the piece's authentic history—as faux as it may be.
Shown: Two coats and two colors of paint—Behr's Sonata over White Truffle—cover the exterior of this armoire. Sanding the finish in spots lets the lighter one show through.