25 February 2016

4 Tips to Give Furniture a Rustic Look (or, that time I painted a table)

It's been since forever that I last did a guest post in this space, but a little while ago I was contacted by Chris Stanbridge who writes for Cristophe Living about doing this post on giving furniture a rustic look. And at first, I didn't think that would be such a great fit for my blog, but then the little voice in the back of my head whispered 'wait... you have a table that needs painting...' and I figured that this might be just the kick up the backside I needed to make it happen. And it was, and it did. Here's Chris' article to help you if you want to try it!

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4 Tips to Give Furniture a Rustic Look 
Vintage furniture is back, so it is time to visit your grand parents' attic to find a few hidden gems. Many of you might have pieces of furniture that need a little touch in order to look perfect. Here are four tips that can help you in the process.

1. Distressing
You would initially have to start with distressing your furniture. This means you would have to scrape off any old paint that is currently on the piece. You can either use an electric sander or sandpaper to wipe off the paint. You might be required to use a chemical cleaner if the paint is applied quite thickly. Once you are done with the cleaning part, dry the furniture using a rag to remove any dirt that is left.
My table didn't need much extra distressing.

2. Painting
The next step is to paint the furniture in a manner such that an anti dilutive look is achieved. Do remember that rustic furniture does not have heavy coats of paint and therefore you must dilute the paint. You can choose any kind of paint such as oil based paints or water based paints. Apply the paint by using a rag or brush although a rag results in better effects. Once the first layer is applied allow it to dry off and then apply the second layer. You can add more layers if you want to but do remember that rustic furniture is all about less paint and have a more worn out look. In case you have applied more paint than you want, you can use a sandpaper to wipe off the excess paint. You can also apply opaque colour paint directly and then wipe it off the cloth immediately after applying. This way any excess paint would be removed immediately and you would need to spend less effort and time.

3. Drying
Although this might seem quite obvious, this is nevertheless an important step. If you do not allow the paint to dry off and move to the next step, all your effort would not be realised as the furniture would fail to achieve the desired look. You need to make sure that the furniture item is allowed to dry off in a ventilated area, away from people or pets who might ruin the paint job. 

4. Sealing
Once the paint has dried off, you would now need to seal it with satin polyurethane that would act as a sealant and protect the furniture. However, do not apply the sealer with a rag but rather with a brush to ensure smooth application.
A rustic white table - do you think?

The simple process of whitewashing can allow you to bring a rustic charm to the interior of your room. The process is quite simple and does not require a person to master any specific technique and therefore is a must do it yourself project.

Chris is an experienced interior designer and craftsman. Chris regularly writes for Christophe Living. Over the last 4 years, Chris has written numerous articles and is an active forum contributor.

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I'm not sure that my painted table achieved quite the 'vintage' look, and to be honest it was probably more rustic before I painted it (it is made from recycled timber, electricity poles I think). But, for the purpose that I wanted it is great. Having it white brightens up the dull light in the lounge room, and it has given me the white background I have been wanting just for taking photos on (without building a separate photo board). So I'm happy. I'm now looking at those bedside tables desperately in need of some updating... I would also add that I am totally not a DIY person (I'm like a fish out of water in the inside part of any hardware store, I'm more at home in the plants section). But it was very satisfying to do this little job and if I can do it, anyone can do it.


  1. Some really great tips! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great to see this furniture design I like it very much. Added I’m going to follow this furniture design ideas.

  3. I think painting and sealing can give any old furniture to a new look. Btw your rustic table look great and your tips are kind of effective. Thanks for sharing.


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