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Distressed Furniture Painting in High Demand and Cost

distressed furniture painting

By Les Yoder, Account Executive

Getting furniture to look like it has been passed down for generations with distressed furniture painting  has become a full-time profession for some people in the wood industry. Paint manufacturers such as Becker Acroma have even gone as far as setting up dedicated paint labs with teams working to find new techniques to make the new look old.  With websites like Houzz, paint contractors and wood furniture builders have grown to expect their high-end clientele to come to them, pictures in hand, asking to mimic the look.

Whether it’s distressed hardwood flooring, distressed cabinets or distressed furniture, the main goal of distressed furniture painting is to produce that timeless, aged look by beating up new materials before artfully applying paint, glaze or stain.

But first, be careful not to underprice the job. Oftentimes, contractors ask us how to achieve a look from a picture they promised a client they would create. One mistake I’ve seen contractors make is failing to realize how labor intensive this type of work can be and underpricing the project. If you aren’t sure you know what it will take to get the look your client wants, find out before you quote them on the job.

Most of the time, distressing furniture requires physically altering the look. Sometimes this is done by filing the edges of the furniture to get the worn look, using a hammer to beat the wood, drilling to create a “worm hole” or even filling a bag with nuts and bolts and beating the surface with it. From there, the paint, stain or glaze is applied.

If you want it to look as if the piece has been painted many times over, you’ll need to paint two colors. Consider a brighter color for the base coat so it shows up well as it peeks through the topcoat. If you want the rubbed-off areas to reveal bare wood, the technique requires only one coat. You also need to decide whether to add a stain to it afterward, which will mute or age the color(s) you’ve selected.

To retain the integrity of your color choices, you may want to paint clear polyurethane over the finished project. A water-based polyurethane that won’t yellow over time is a good choice.

With distressed furniture painting, always keep in mind that it has to look authentic and not contrived. You are trying to recreate something that looks like it has been used for years. If you have a worn mark, make sure it is in a spot that would have been worn.

As you can see, the range of time, energy and materials can vary from onelook to the next. The first step is to know what you need the finished piece to look like. If you aren’t certain how to achieve the look, Accessa can teach you. That way, you will know exactly what you are getting into before you start the job. 

Contact me at 317-879-2055 to learn how to achieve the distressed look your client dreams of. 


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