Antiquing kitchen table is easy. Here’s a simple step-by-step tutorial on how to transform a basic yard sale table into something amazing. 

how to faux finish furniture

In other news here at the farm…..

….my mother has discovered emojis.


You know. All the little smiley faces and winking smiley faces and dancing turkeys and grinning pumpkins that you add to your text or e-mail.

And I love my mother.

She raised me.

And just in case you were wondering–she’s always right.  

But Nana, it’s time to calm down and remember….

….a little emoji goes a long way.

Today is all about emojis and a simple distressed paint tutorial for furniture. 

antiquing kitchen table diy

A long time ago in a land far away back when sponge painting was king I had a faux finish business called “How Great Thou Art.” It was a brief moment of Venetian plaster layered with glaze glory.  We painted walls and rooms and kitchen cabinets and added distressed paint to furniture.

Back then people actually remembered that garage sales were not retail spaces in disguise and they would sell things like tables and chairs and picture frames for almost nothing.

I would buy tables for $5.00 and transform them into pieces that looked like a million dollars.

Kitchen tables were my specialty.

Here are my best antiquing kitchen table tips and how to make wood look distressed with paint.

Antiquing Kitchen Table: Distressed Paint Tutorial

Antiquing Kitchen Table: Distressed Paint Tutorial

Step 1:  Start with a table

Thanks, Captain Obvious (insert a winking smiley emoji here).

The thing is—the table totally can make or break the finish.  You don’t want a boring table.  Look for one with curves and legs that are interesting and edges that you can sand.

A table that could work a runway.

It makes the whole distressing thing so much easier.

Here’s how to create that amazing table. Here’s how to make wood look distressed with paint.

antiquing kitchen table tips

Antiquing Kitchen table tips: Step 2 Prime the table

DO NOT skip this step.

I repeat. Do not think you are clever and a time-saver don’t really need antiquing kitchen table tips and skip this step.

You don’t know what they put on the table before.  You don’t know what finish you are starting with.

You want to make sure your paint has a surface it can adhere to.  I use brand primer in latex.  You can get it at any home improvement store.

Follow the directions and paint a coat on your table.

Let dry.

how to paint a table diy project

Step 3:  Paint the table

Here’s the table with a layer of SW Mindful Gray.

Nice.  Pretty.  Simple (insert an emoji heart here).


A little boring. How to make new wood look old the next chapter. Been there seen that.

No worries. We are just getting started.

how to finish a table brush

Antiquing Kitchen Table Tips: Step 4 Drybrush table with white acrylic craft paint

This step is easy, but it takes a little practice.

Pour a little white craft paint into a tray and take a dry brush and lightly dip the edges into the paint.  Then blot the excess paint on a paper towel.

Before you paint you want your brush to look just like this.

Kind of dry without a lot of paint.

how to paint a table dry brush

Then take the brush and lightly drag it across the tabletop in the SAME DIRECTION.

Don’t go all wild and start brushing all over the tabletop in different directions.

That won’t look distressed.

It will just look messy (insert a sad emoji face here).

antiquing kitchen table tips and ideas

Drag the dry brush across the edges and on the legs until it looks a little like distressed paint.

You will need to re-dip it in paint and blot it again several times.

No need for perfection.

If you paint too much white you can always go back and dry brush a little gray to even it out.

antiquing kitchen table tips with gray table

Step 5:  Dry brush burnt umber craft paint

Put a little (and I mean a little…you won’t need much for this step) onto a plate and dip the brush and blot as in step 4.

Then lightly dry brush the burnt umber craft paint.

In the picture above you can see the streaks of burnt umber on the tabletop.

Go lightly with this step.

You are trying to lightly age it…not apply thick foundation as if you were a television star.

Again….if you brush too much burnt umber, just add a layer of gray paint with a dry brush.

furniture faux finishStep 6:  Sand the piece

You are almost done.  This is the last of the antiquing kitchen table tips (insert emoji of hand clapping).

To truly get the look of distressed paint, you want to sand it. Take a piece of 60 grit sandpaper and lightly sand the edges of the piece.  Sand anywhere there is a raised edge.

Then take a tack cloth and remove any excess wood dust and seal the entire piece with a coat of acrylic sealer, like Polycrylic.

Just follow the directions on the can and let dry.

That’s it.

Your table is ready for prime time.

PS I just posted a video with another fun paint technique you can see here.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Marian@CMShawStudios Marian@CMShawStudios

    Wow! Am I the first to comment? Well Happy Halloween lady! And I love how old school this technique is. Free of high end craft supplies and warring chalk paint companies. Well done. Thanks for keeping it real. What are you going to be for Halloween tonight? I think I'm gonna be a Jersey girl with a store's worth of bling and a mile high bump it. The Other Marian

  2. Image for The Gypsy Magpie The Gypsy Magpie

    Your posts ALWAYS bring a smile to my face... it doesn't even matter what the subject matter is (although I find it ALL interesting!) Thank you for sharing your 'gift of gab' in your ever fabulous style (insert big emoji heart here). Happy Halloween!

  3. Image for Becky Becky

    A really pretty look. I have a table that is similar to yours that I've been wanting to paint and I love the colors you used. Thank you for the inspiration and have a safe and Happy Halloween.

  4. Image for Catherine McD Catherine McD

    Your blog is the first blog I ever followed, and I am always looking forward to your unique, natural, and so approachable writing style and wonderful decorating presentations. I had been in a rut for so long and had become completely uninspired, maybe just burnt-out. I had always relied on doing a lot with a little, and creativity flowed easily. Until recently though, I really believed I had lost my design ability, and my projects and ideas just didn't seem to work out. Within the past few months, my approach has changed, my attitude has shifted (perhaps turning 50 really has been proof that wisdom and a new perspective comes with age, and we realize what truly matters in the world :)!), and a renewed motivation , inspiration, and happiness has allowed me to take on fresh projects, and I am back doing what I love. What I need to convey to you is that your blog has been the first "so-happy-to-have-stumbled-upon" tool to get me back on track, and I want to thank you for being that unique voice!!

  5. Image for Kerry Kerry

    I'm just getting ready to paint a dresser for my new craft room. How did you know? You are such a rockstar, my friend! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  6. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Well!! Here is is Friday and I learned something new -- I didn't know it was called emoji. See -- you're never too old to learn. And I am still learning about all of this technical stuff and I simply cringe and my kids kinda chuckle. Today I have to switch our modem :-( I am terrified! I don't know if I should drink some wine first to relax me and give me some courage. Some yoga and deep breathing first might help. Just think of my fear when I approach my camera. I pray I won't break it or really goof it up. Well -- I guess I'd better get started. Happy Halloween !!

  7. Image for Jae Jae

    Happy Halloween. I have some pieces needing a facelift, and i didnt want to use chalk paint. They are curvy and would be perfect for your technique. Thanks for sharing! Quick question....what is the shrub with the gorgeous leaves you use as background? We are guessing blueberry or crape myrtle? Would love to plant one.......

  8. Image for Linda Chauvin Linda Chauvin

    It's been a week since we met at Chapel Hill and I'm still having great memories of you and your exuberant smile. (I SO want to use an emoticon here, but will defer for the time being, as I am a Mom). The market was fantastic ! I saw (and bought) lots of wonderful things, got tons of ideas and met fantastic talented ladies..... My friends, Maria and Melinda, and I are planning to be there again next year and hope to have our own spot....maybe next to you (another emoticon) ! Have fun with your kiddies tonight .... and don't snitch too much of their chocolate...... Linda Chauvin Savvy Home Staging & Resesign

  9. Image for Miss Kitty Miss Kitty

    Learning so much here today! What those little smiley faces (etc.) are called and a VERY easy looking way to paint furniture to look distressed. Thanks for sharing all that with us.

  10. Image for Judy MacDonald Judy MacDonald

    I love this post and your easy-to-follow instructions, Karianne. I'm definitely going to try this technique. By the way, your mom has an Emoji kindred spirit in me. I also LOVE clip art and I drive my grown kids nuts using it. I just think it makes things more festive! Happy Halloween!

  11. Image for Sondra Sondra

    Oh, but I AM painting today!! Ha (imagine an emoji here)! Wonderful tutorial, and very similar to the way I painted my kitchen table. Have a wonderful day!

  12. Image for Sherry Sherry

    Lovely! I'll try this technique with the dry brushing. I usually just distress by sanding. I like how the white looks on the gray! Pretty pretty! Sherry

  13. Image for Felipe Felipe

    If you're happy fireplace ethanol safety with your current provider, it's worth inquiring about having them do it for a while now. So now that I m all grown up, does that mean I no longer have the formula for this discontinued color in their computers. You need to clean the home and its fire baskets, might have nowt to do with their fireplace and find it nothing but an ugly nuisance.

  14. Image for Barbara Neubeck Barbara Neubeck

    ... I love your distressed look KariAnne...... Some people take it too far for my liking and the piece looks likes it needs repairing.... not just a lovely worn look... It's a pretty shaped table too.. Hugs .. Barb xx

  15. Image for kipper kipper

    I misread this blog post's title at first glance. Thought it said how to paint a table AND look distressed. For me that would be quite easy----before reading your tutorial. Thanks for the tips!

  16. Image for Amanda Amanda

    Just wanted to say thanks for the tutorial…I just stumbled upon your blog and I gotta say that I love it!! You are so funny too….thanks for making me smile today (insert emoji smiley face here!)

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