Try these simple techniques to distress bland new furniture and give it that popular rustic charm.
Take to the top, front and sides with the various implements at hand: swing a length of chain across it, hammer nails into it then rip them out, dent the surface in a random manner with any type of hammer.
It's better to distress the wood in a random fashion. Regular patterns look less authentic.
Note that if you're distressing a chest of drawers, you should remove the handles first.
This is the best method for newbies to the distressing process. First give the piece a thorough sanding — being careful to sand with the grain of the wood, not across it.
Second, apply a dark coloured water based paint. The darker the colour the better the finish. As mentioned before, brush in the direction of the wood's grain. Don't try to get a perfect finish — it's a distressed look, after all.
When the paint has dried apply a thin layer of furniture wax with a clean, dry cloth. Rub it over any raised surfaces and edges.
Paint the whole piece with a light coloured acrylic paint. Once it's dry use a rag to rub on the wood stain giving the surface an uneven finish and again leave to dry.
Sand random areas of the wood to reveal the colour underneath. Apply greater pressure in places that would naturally wear first such as edges.
And there you have it. A day before it was pristine, new and boring. Now it's beautifully distressed, aged and appealing.