Creating the Imperfect Look

Allison Beatty

The beauty of many antiques is their subtle imperfections - the scratch from the movers, the faded finish from years near a window. As you design a new house, here's how to refinish a few furniture pieces to achieve a similar look.

Finding Furniture

The key to achieving this distressed look is to find the right furniture pieces. You might want an old hutch for the kitchen, or a sideboard for the dining room. After looking through your home, consider attending a few local auctions or estate and garage sales.

The Style

Ideally, you want furniture that will blend with your existing furniture while still standing on its own. It works well to stick with the same time period or style, yet refinish the piece in a unique way.

If you have Mission-style furniture with simple, yet traditional lines, look for a hutch or sideboard with a similar style. Then refinish the piece with a darker stain for a more rugged look to give it that distressed character. You can do this by rubbing off some stain as you refinish, using special glazes, or even hitting the furniture with a chain or small hammer to make marks.

Getting It Done

If you take on this project, you'll need to decide who is doing the work. Are you handy enough to try refinishing, or would you prefer to hire a contractor or handyman? You may want to experiment with a few pieces of scrap wood to get a feel for it.

Either way, it helps to narrow down your goals and decide on the color, finish, and desired look. Then, take out the hammer and get a little exercise!

About the Author

Allison E. Beatty is an avid old house enthusiast who has been renovating houses and writing about them for more than ten years. She contributes regularly to national newspaper, magazines, and Web sites. She lives in an 1888 Victorian-era home.

About the Author
By Allison E. Beatty

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