Distressed: A Finish that gets Better with Time

Distressed finish is one my favourites. I like that it’s really versatile, it can be easily dressed up or down, it goes with almost all themes and decoration styles and it can be used on various kinds of furniture items!
BY Nandita Agrawal on November 21, 2019

People who love white shoes always say that new shoes look good after a few days of wearing them. It is true! Isn’t it? They are too stark and perfect when we first buy them.

Even when it comes to furniture, I prefer subtle stains and finishes as compared to the super shiny ones. I feel that the natural texture of wood is exquisite & elegant and the glossy finishes don’t do justice to it. Distressed finish is one my favourites for this reason. I like that it’s really versatile, it can be easily dressed up or down, it goes with almost all themes and decoration styles and it can be used on various kinds of furniture items!

kernig krafts furniture distressed table carving
Distressed furniture looks beautifully aged and worn.

What is Distressed Finish?

Also known as the weathered look, distressed finish is used to make a product look like it has been in use for a long time. This finish is basically a second finish as the first finish is scratched off or removed strategically from a few areas with a paint stripper to make the product appear worn and aged. 

Why should you go for Distressed finish?

  • It becomes better with time : Other finishes can make products look dated after years of use but distressed items only look better! The natural wear and tear combines with the finish and adds character to it instead of making it appear shoddy.
  • One of a kind : The unique look this finish imparts to the product cannot be replicated. Since it is done by skilled artisans and not machines, every distressed finish item is different from others. 
  • It blends in or stands out (whatever you prefer) :  You can effortlessly make an accent piece with this finish if you are looking for one, or you can make a piece that compliments your interiors to a T. The finish can be subtle or loud to suit your taste and ambience. 
  • It makes your interiors look “natural”: A lot of times we enter a space and it feels too stiff. Distressed finish makes the room feel and look warm and welcoming. It adds that human touch to interiors that is not present in freshly designed spaces. 
side table coffee table distressed kernig krafts
Coffee table and side table distressed to give a unique appearance.
  • Adaptable : While designing a café, restaurant, bar or even a room, distressed finish is quite easy to work with. Since it makes the product look old, you can even get away with bright colours! For example, in the color scheme below, teal color is used as an accent, on cushions and chair upholstery. This color, used as duco on wood can look very bright and unbalanced. This gorgeous finish when used on this color, dulls the color slightly and creates a cohesive look.  
Interior design color palette kernig krafts
Color Palette for Interiors

How can you use Distressed Furniture to match your theme?

  • Farmhouse style : or Barn style as it’s popularly known, is becoming very trendy these days. This style is primarily based on distressed finish. The warmth of spaces done in this style is achieved by using cozy neutrals, distressed finish furniture and decorative items. This style celebrates distressed finish so go crazy with it! It can be done on your bed, chairs, tables, picture frames, benches, desks etc. Balance the look by combining this finish with natural stain. For example if you are going with this finish on the legs go for a simple table top. 
  • Rustic : Distressed finish is a must for achieving the rustic look. This theme usually has a neutral color palette. A distressed finish coffee table, benches and/or chairs can make this theme look even more interesting and add a little color to it as well. Rustic cafés, create intriguing interiors by using elements like exposed brick walls, distressed finish chairs & tables and dim lights. Bars decorated with this theme add a few luxurious elements like chesterfields upholstered in leather and swanky bar stools to complete the look. Distressed finish furniture looks good in either of these spaces!  
  • Shabby Chic : Creating the magic of this theme is impossible without using this finish. This look is basically a blend of two contrasting elements, delicate carving and florals mixed with the rawness of distressed finish. White is the preferred choice of color for furniture but pastels are also often used. This whimsical look is created by using distressed finish on carved cupboards, sideboards, benches, bed sides, picture frames, shelves, planters etc.  Dainty florals are often hand painted on furniture or added in the form of dried flowers, wreaths, cushion covers and bed covers.
shabby chic kernig krafts distressed furniture
Distressed finish looks gorgeous on furniture. Shabby Chic look is created with carved furniture done in this finish.
  • Colonial/ Vintage : This finish plays a major role in creating a vintage look. Vintage furniture is available in stores but it can be really expensive. Distressing is used to give furniture an antiquated appearance. Make sure you don’t go overboard with distressed furniture. Keep only two-three distressed pieces while decorating in this style to keep the interiors soothing and fuss free. 
  • Industrial : Distressed finish is a great accompaniment to Industrial interiors. It enhances the warehouse feel and works well with other materials like metal, cement and exposed bricks.  To achieve the industrial look distressed finish can be done on furniture items such as trolleys, tables and cabinets with metal edgings. 
  • Contemporary : Live edges, bamboo wicker, clean minimal lines and neutral colours with or without accents define this look. I would suggest  that you use only one item with distressed finish to beautify this theme. Place a subtly finished wooden coffee table or a side table in your living room. For contemporary cafés I love wooden planters and tables in distressed finish. 
contemporary interiors distressed furniture kernig krafts
Even a single item with distressed finish can upgrade your look.
  • Bohemian : Bohemian decor is a mish mash of patterns, colors and materials. Sticking to a color palette can be tough while decorating in this style, but I would still recommend having one.   Having a piece or two done in this finish can really make the look pop. Since you will be using a lot of bright colours, go for  neutral colors like white or ecru for this finish. Bamboo wicker chairs with distressed finish will look very stylish if you have a bohemian themed bistro!

What item can be distressed? 

Anything under the sun can be distressed! Chairs, accent chairs, bar chairs, patio furniture, dining tables, coffee tables, side tables, benches, sideboards, cupboards & closets, beds, bed sides, dog houses, animal hutches, doors and windows, display units / étagères, wine cabinets, décor items like medallions, lanterns, wall art, table lamps, wall clocks, wall mirror frames, picture frames, chandeliers, pendant lights, lamps, bar carts etc. 

You can get products customised or even the products you already own can be distressed! To see an alluring collection of distressed items click here. For those who want more information about this mesmerising finish write to me at info@kernigkrafts.com

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