How to Paint Distressed Furniture an Antique White

With age comes beauty, and distressed furniture can add beautiful antique appeal to your home. With the mottled and damaged look of older wood furniture, painting can be a challenging task. But a lot of sanding and multiple applications of paint will create a pleasing antique-white piece that will be a home-improvement project you can be proud of. With a few simple steps, you can create an antique-white distressed cabinet, hutch, table or chair that is the showpiece of your home.

Sand the entire piece of furniture using 300-grit sandpaper. Rub with some pressure to make sure the rough grain of the distressed wood has become relatively smooth.

Paint your distressed furniture piece with antique-white paint. Apply the paint in even strokes with a 3-inch paint brush. Brush all strokes vertically, and let the paint drip and streak as you apply it. Allow the paint to dry completely.

Using 200-grit sandpaper, lightly sand the surface of the furniture again in an irregular pattern. Some areas should have a smoother surface than others. Sand some spots so the unpainted wood can be seen--a desirable feature of distressed furniture.

Pour white or clear glaze into a mixing container, and apply the glaze with a 2-inch paint brush to the surface area of the furniture. Streak the glaze onto the furniture with long even strokes. Keep all strokes in line with the grain of the wood.

Continue drying, sanding and glazing until you have reached the desired colour and texture.


Glaze is more runny than paint, so you will need to use less. For an added antique effect, use two different shades of white paint. For a deeper antique-white hue, choose a tan or beige paint. Use white or clear glaze as a topcoat. A latex base coat will adhere to the surface area better than an oil-based paint.


Incomplete drying time will cause the glaze to congeal.

Things You'll Need

  • Furniture piece
  • Antique-white paint
  • Paint brushes, 2-inch and 3-inch
  • Translucent glaze
  • 300-grit sandpaper
  • 200-grit sandpaper
  • Mixing container
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About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.