Thursday, February 17, 2011

How To Make Furniture Look "Vintage"

Way back in  yesteryear, Nathan and I were yard saling one day and he stumbled across a small table with great lines, made of a sturdy solid wood.  He thought it would be the perfect piece for his "man room" (a.k.a. our home office).  We swiped it up for three bucks, and had high hopes of staining it a different color (it was a tealish green color).

As I'm sure most of you know and can relate to, other house projects quickly took precedence and staining the table got put on the back burner.  We decided last fall that it would make a great winter project, so a few weeks back hubby got hard at work on staining his new man table.

I should note that he wanted to also "vintage" the table up a bit -- he's going for an old world vibe in his office.  Since I know nothing about making furniture look vintage, I let him take the reigns on this project and he was kind enough to give me the low-down so I could share it with you! (Thanks, Hun!)

This is the color green the table was painted when we bought it.  Lovely, but not manly.  This does not scream man room in the least bit.

The first step in making your furniture look more vintage is to remove the paint (if applicable).  Start by sanding that baby down.  Then you want to apply a paint stripper to the furniture (make sure you do this in a well-ventilated area, using rubber gloves).

Using a paint scraper, start scraping your paint off.  You may need to apply more stripper if your paint is really old, or if it's really dark (like teal green dark).  

Nathan had really good success getting all of the paint off of the top of the table, but the legs were a bit more difficult.  

He finally decided the little bit of green paint on the legs gave it more character, so he didn't wrestle with getting the rest off.  That's the beauty of vintage . . .it's a little more forgiving. :)

After you've got most of your paint off, sand it down some more to get it all nice and smooth.  If you're going for a more aged look, then wear harder on some parts of the wood than others . . .you can really get creative here.

Wipe it down with a wet rag, and let it dry.
Then start beating it up . . .this is the fun part!  You can use a chain, the claw of a hammer, screwdriver, etc.  Anything that will put a good dent in wood!

After it's all beaten up, you'll want to apply Ebony (Black) Wood Stain. 

Let the stain sit for 25 minutes.  Then, wipe off and repeat until desired wood toning is achieved.

Nathan did this a couple of times, and then this is the color he stopped at . . . doesn't it look nice a rugged looking?  It's definitely screaming man room now!

And here's the finished project sitting pretty manly

And a close up of the legs . . .

Do any of you like vintage-looking or rugged furniture?  Do any of your men have man rooms too?  Do tell! 


  1. Great job! I have my great-grandmother's (Pepaw's mom's) chifforobe and it needs to be restained. Right now the girls are using it in their playroom but I plan on refinishing one day : )

  2. The chair looks really great!!! I helped my sister strip a church pew with about 7 or 8 coats of paint - what a job! It's sits in her family room now. I do get a sense of pride and accomplishment when I see it.

  3. Wow! You guys did all that yourself?! Nice work!

  4. Y'all did a great job, Rachel! In my old room, I had white, shabby chic furniture. I had big ideas on how to turn some old pieces into white and scruffy didn't quite work out that way. We ended up sanding (and saning some more!) painting it white and then we took a sponge brush and streaked black paint in places to get that "old rustic look". It actually turned out pretty well.
    Anyway, love the table! It is very manly now! :)

  5. i am so impressed! it looks fabulous!

    also, i am hosting a linky tool event on my blog about fish/seafood... If you have any recipes to submit, I would love it!


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