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).

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