What is a Distressed Finish?

Generally speaking, a distressed finish refers to a style of finishing designed to give new or gently used furniture an aged appearance. One way to accomplish this is to apply a layer of paint to an already-painted piece and then quickly removing it. Doing so will smear the paint and make the furniture appear worn. A distressed finish can also be achieved by sanding or scraping a fresh coat of paint immediately after it has dried, as doing so will remove some of that paint and allow a bit of the furniture's original color to shine through. If desired, this effect can be enhanced through the usage of rustic hardware like iron hinges or tarnished pulls. Common to antiques, trunks, chests and cabinets, this style of finishing can lend an air of gravity and rusticity to an otherwise unremarkable piece of furniture.