January 6, 2013

Tips for distressing furniture: Bench Redo

Do you ever wonder how people get that perfect aged, worn, distressed look on furniture? I've had quite a few people ask me how I do it. And I don't think that there is necessarily a "right" way to do it.. just "my" way. I personally feel that a more natural distressed look which I will show you in my video tutorial looks better on furniture rather than random distressed lines from a piece of sandpaper where you can clearly tell someone just ran a piece of sandpaper over the paint. Again, I don't necessarily think that my way it is right, it is just the way that I prefer to distress!

Here is a bench that I picked up a few weeks ago. If you follow me on Instagram (@Allyschmidheiser) you might have saw the first photos of this little beauty. She had no seat, only the holes for upholstered seats. Well that's not really the look that I was going for so we improvised! We had wood from an old solid wood futon we had and cut it to size to form the seat. Talk about repurposing right? I picked it up from a thrift store and did I mention that I had been looking for one for MONTHS to go in our dining area. I planned to put it where our computer once was. I hated having a computer in the dining room but we needed to go through some things before we could make room for an office. PS, that reveal is coming soon! But there will be a few more posts before it...

Here is my little side kick loving the new bench. He immediately jumped up and made himself comfortable while we were cutting the wood slats to size for the seats.

And here is the final result. I am obviously head over heels. I first prepped the bench by giving it a great sanding all over. I then started with my first coat of yellow paint. At first, I thought I wanted it butter yellow but then I realized I how much I loved this grey blue so I did a layered look for that perfect naturally aged piece. You can see the yellow peaking out on certain areas where I distressed the bench which I love and I do think that it gives it a bit more character. Have you ever tried to layer your paint to give your piece just a little bit more depth? A tip I would give for this would be to make certain that your colors compliment each other so when do you go to distress it, its a pretty final look.

Now! Something I've only done a few times before but here's a video for a few tips about distressing furniture from Home by Ally. I figured that it would be a lot easier for me to video this for a tutorial rather than trying to tell you.

Keep in mind like I said in the video and I've heard this multiple times and it is somewhat true. Anyone can distress and anyone can run a piece of sandpaper over a painted piece of furniture but is it a natural look? Does it look like it's been there naturally and something that would have happened over the years? Look for quality pieces while shopping that looks like the painter took time and effort to make this piece as naturally aged as possible. And the same goes whenever you are doing your own furniture, take your time and don't rush it. You can always tell when someone is rushing and takes no pride in their work. Just a few tips that I always take into consideration when I am doing furniture. I try to provide clients with the best furniture quality that I can which includes fixing certain imperfections while leaving others which sometimes can create character in a piece. Providing a nice finish and a clean finish with natural distressing and a great seal for a long life. I've learned all that I have by just doing furniture and and it does come after trial and error. Some pieces I look back on and wonder what I was I thinking? Or I wish I would have known to do this, blah blah blah... but at least I know now!

Please enjoy a few photos of the after and also a few photos of a few items I've picked up that will be at the first repurpose sale for HOME BYALLY in Florida! Mark your calendars for Saturday,March 2nd, 2013! Be there or I guarantee you are missing out!

I adore this old yellow coke crate. What a great aged piece for a centerpiece to a dining room table or to put at the top of your kitchen cabinets. You could even use it as a coffee table tray in the living room.

Notice how I hit the edges and corners and it is not just straight lines but rather more random and thicker distressed edges, etc. 

I love this butter yellow vase with my hydrangeas. I just purchased the vase at TJMaxx here in Florida for $12.99. It's huge and I love that it is not the typical white vase. The hydrangeas are faux from Hobby Lobby. I have these in this cream color, a sage green and a beautiful purple. You can never have enough fresh greens and pretty hydrangeas in my opinion!

Here is a sneak peek below of our new curtains. I'm still trying them out in the dining room but I love how the colors of the curtains are picked up on this bench. I took a very unconventional approach to new curtains for this room and the total cost for four 120" panels was $32.00. Ready for that blogpost yet? It's coming but I am still working on the panels! I promise it's coming!

These two crates below, one Pepsi & one Coke will be available at the repurpose sale on March 2nd, 2013! The Pepsi is an original from Minot, North Dakota and is in EXCELLENT condition! The other is a yellow Coke crate that has aged wonderfully and invokes that perfect vintage look for your home!

If you also noticed the blue masons, I will most likely have a few of those at the sale as well. They are perfect for fresh flowers and little accents in your home. And the blue ones are becoming harder and harder to come by I have found! So get them while you can!

Beautiful, original and old! I love it! Original lids!

Well I'll hope that y'all enjoyed this post and the video tutorial and I hope it has helped at least a few of you! I gave you a sneak peek of some upcoming blog posts and items that will be at my sale so I hope you guys are getting excited for it! I know I am! Remember to follow me on Pinterest by clicking here! And help me help others by pinning this post here!

Talk to y'all soon!


Liz Marie Blog


  1. I just have two words for the bench work. Amazingly done! Wow! Thanks for your take on furniture management or designs. I appreciate everything that you have done here so far. Great job!

  2. did you use vaseline technique? Also the chair looks like black under the paint, maybe its just the camera shot.
    Your blog and furniture is so distinct. Glad I found it.

  3. Your curtains look like tablecloths from Target! I did the same thing for curtains in my bedroom, white tablecloths from Pottery Barn!

  4. I love your style in distressing your pieces, and I absolutely agree with you when you say that there is no "right" way to distress furniture. The personal touch not only adds your personality to the room, but the inevitable imperfections actually tend to make the furniture look even better. Great work and thanks for the tips!

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  16. I am certain every DIY artsy in us wants to know this! If I may add, adding wax application in the process can make distressed furniture even better. You can make that dip-dyed effect possible with it. Got the idea here: http://janiceaileen.blogspot.com/2013/03/chalk-paint-wax-and-distressing.html. :D

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