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Monday, July 26, 2010

And finally, do-it-yourself distressed furniture

I promised to show you how to cute-up your made-in-Cambodia-some-assembly-required furniture, and here it is.
I had to furnish my bedroom with furniture that ships flat because I have a tricky spiral staircase. It's really just a half-spiral, but it's challenging to get furniture up there without taking out the banister. Usually anything I decide to take upstairs is probably going to stay upstairs, or come down in several pieces.
When I graduated from pharmacy school, my adorable hubby bought me a sewing machine. Prior to this machine, I'd always used a table machine - the kind that comes installed in a wooden table. I couldn't reuse the table I already had because the new machine didn't fit into the old table's screw-on design. I ended up buying this small desk from Target since it nicely fit the available space (my bedroom has two windows, a door, a closet, and a fireplace, leaving very minimal wall space).
I put the desk together and stood back to admire my handiwork - and realized that the desk turned my hither-to cozy bedroom into a decrepit dorm room. Something must be done!

This easy "antiquing" simply keeps furniture from looking too new or plastic.
You need rough sandpaper and elbow grease - that's all. Simply sand the edges off without extending too far onto the flat surfaces. The particle board that shows through looks kind of like wood, right?

Tips for success:
- Use rough sandpaper
- Spend extra time rounded off the corners. They should get the most wear.
- Be a little sporadic in your sanding: Don't sand off every single edge and vary the amount you sand down as you go.
- Don't forget the knobs - or replace the knobs with something cuter. Replacement knobs go cheap on Ebay.
- This works on white furniture. If you use it on black fake furniture then the sanded areas will be lighter, which looks odd.
- Of you are worried about longevity of the furniture, you can swipe varnish over the sanded areas to keep moisture out. Or you can figure the piece won't last too long anyway and just shrug.

This look is not supposed to be country or shabby-chic, it's just a fast way to un-plastic your bedroom.
What's your best DIY furniture trick?

1 comment:

  1. The desk looks very cute! I'm definitely up for the swapping of blog posts for the first 20-miler. Sounds like fun. I'm guessing you'll be doing yours before I do mine because I think you are ahead of me. Looks like I have mine scheduled for 8/29. You can e-mail me at if we need to work out any details...thanks for the suggestion!!