How to Make a New Table Look Old

Old furniture has a warmth and charming patina created by years of use. Our designer tricks will help you recreate this lovely timeworn look on a new unfinished piece of furniture.

Making a New Table Look Old

Making a New Table Look Old

Old furniture has a beautiful wear and patina from years of use. This look can be simulated on a new piece of furniture with a few simple tricks.

Photo by: Marian Parsons

Marian Parsons

Materials Needed

  • unfinished wood table
  • stained furniture/antiquing wax
  • waxing brush or old paint brush
  • clean, lint-free cloth
  • nails, screws, metal chain
  • hammer

Distress Surfaces

Start with a raw wood tabletop or, alternately, old painted or stained finishes can be stripped or sanded off prior to this step. Usina a hammer, nails, screws and/or metal chain to beat and distress the wood's surface (Image 1). These marks, dents and dings should be somewhat random (Image 2). Tip: A nail point can be used to create a cluster of 'worm holes' to give the wood more character and an antique look.

Apply Wax

With wax brush or old paintbrush (one that has splayed bristles), apply stained furniture wax to table, working wax into gouges and marks made in step one (Image 1). Wipe excess wax away with clean, lint-free cloth. Buff wax by hand, in circular motion, until finish is smooth. Note: If finish feels sticky or tacky, too much wax was applied. Following manufacturer's recommended time, allow wax to fully dry before enjoying your new/old piece of furniture (Image 2). Tip: For a trendy look, consider painting sides and legs of table, leaving only the distressed surface stained (Image 3).

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Refinish a Dining Room Table

Easily refinish a dated or worn dining room table to give it a fresh look.

How to Make an Upcycled Coffee Table

Salvaged wood and architectural remnants are prime candidates to be repurposed as furniture. In the case of this table, pieces of an old rope bed and a beadboard door are upcycled into a functional and one-of-a-kind coffee table. 

How to Refinish a Kitchen Table

Give an old kitchen table new life in a weekend with these simple steps for refinishing wood furniture.

How to Make a Mosaic Tile Table Design

Make over an old tabletop with a unique mosaic tile design and breathe life back into dull furniture.

How to Build a Dining Table From an Old Door and Posts

An old entry door and retro-style balusters come together to make a dining room table.

How to Clean a Wood Kitchen Table

Got half an hour? Make your wood kitchen table spotless and germ-free.

How to Make Toadstool Table and Chairs

For a playful spin on outdoor furniture, make toadstool table and chairs using a tomato cage, wire bases and concrete.

How to Build a Pool Table

Follow these step-by-step instructions for making a billiard table you can call your own.

How to Make a Recycled T-Shirt Rug

Don't throw away those old T-shirts — they can easily be turned into a one-of-a-kind doormat to decorate the inside of your dorm room.
More from:

Thanksgiving Ideas

On TV

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.