We moved into our home almost five years ago now but I’ll admit that I’m just now getting around to really putting my touch on our decor. It’s a very rustic home with lots of wood, sweeping ceilings and a stone fireplace. I guess in a lot of ways that’s why I never really did much with it because I just wasn’t sure what to do. However, I’ve recently become obsessed with Home Town on HGTV and as I’ve watched the transformations, I’ve found my style. I guess I’d call it a rustic farmhouse feel that I’m going for and piece by piece, I’ve been bringing it to life. These changes, some big and some small, have made me fall back in love with my home and I’ve enjoyed the process immensely by I’ll also admit that I’ve struggled to find the pieces I want for certain areas (like my coffee table). Thankfully, I was smart and married a man who used to work in furniture finishing so when I couldn’t find that perfectly distressed piece that I was so desperately looking for, he suggested we make it. At first (and throughout the process to be honest) I was skeptical but when I saw the end result, I was blown away. That’s why I had to share this process with all of you because not only was I able to get the exact piece I wanted for my living room coffee table but it has a sweet story of distressing it with my hubby. Read on to learn how to distress wood in five easy steps so that you can create the perfect piece for any area of your home.
When I started looking for the perfect piece for my living room coffee table, I kept coming up empty. I knew I wanted something that was a creamy distressed wood look but no matter where I looked I couldn’t find exactly what I had in mind. On a trip to TJ Maxx, I found the shape of what I was looking for in a wooden candle holder but it was just raw, unfinished wood. Of course I bought it because it was the closest thing I’d found to what I wanted (and it was a crazy steal) but when I got home and put it on my table, it just looked unfinished and not at all like I wanted. I tried adding greenery and flowers but it still wasn’t right and I was about to take it back when my hubby told me he could distress it for me. After I picked my jaw up from the floor and asked why he hadn’t told me this weeks ago (men, I tell ya!), we started the easy five step process of taking a raw wood decorative piece and distressing it to make it exactly what I wanted. Just for reference, her’s what we started with:
And here’s how we transformed it!
What You Will Need:
- Pre-built raw wood decor
- Sand paper
- Primer plus paint spray paint in the color of your choice
- Dark wood stain
- Matte top coat spray
Step 1: Prep Your Piece for Painting
The raw wood piece I had picked up was really rough so the first thing I had to learn about how to distress wood is that we needed to at least even out the surface a little bit. The hubs grabbed some sand paper and sanded it down until we were working with a somewhat smooth surface. Keep in mind, it’s OK not to be perfect because it will add character.
Step 2: Paint Several Coats of Your Chosen Color
Once our raw wood piece was sanded down, it was time to add some paint. I went with a light, creamy color because it matched the decor of my home but really any lighter paint color would work with this process. We chose a primer plus paint spray paint and sprayed on several light coats to completely cover the raw wood.
Step 3: Use Sand Paper to Create a Worn Look
Once our painted wood had dried overnight, we went back in with sandpaper and “broke” some of the paint up. In this step, be sure not to just uncover big patches of wood but to use the sandpaper on edges and turn it sideways on flat spaces to create the effect of just pieces of wood coming through. You can even use a razor or nails to create additional aged effects.
Step 4: Add Stain….and then Wipe It Away
Once we had sanded spots all over the wood to create a worn look, it was time to really transform this piece and give it an aged, antiqued look. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure how we were going to do this and I knew that I didn’t like the look we currently had because the raw wood was just so light and the paint looked to perfect. However, my hubby knew exactly what to do to make this painted, raw piece of wood look like it was a hundred years old, in the best way possible. He took dark stain and painted it on the wood, covering a small area at a time.
Then he simply used an old cloth to rub it in and whip off all the excess stain.
He continued this process till the stain had brought out the distressed areas and given the piece an old look.
Step 5: Seal It with a Matte Top Coat
After letting the stain set for about an hour, he simple added two coats of a matte top coat sealer to achieve a perfect, distressed wood look…and I do mean perfect. After him showing me step by step how to distress wood, our finished piece looked like this:
While the process of how to distress wood took at 3 days from start to finish, it was easy and the end result was exactly what I was looking for but couldn’t find. Even better, when I walk past this piece in my living room now, I remember how my husband made it and it’s a piece that will be treasured for years to come.
Pin this easy tutorial to find it later ↓↓↓
Whether you want an inexpensive way to transform wood you already have or are like me and looking for that perfect distressed piece you can’t find, I highly recommend you try this easy process of how to distress wood.
Let me know what pieces you would like to use this distressing process on!