How To Antique Furniture

Want to make a piece of contemporary furniture look older than it really is?  Read the following article on "antiquing" or "aging" furniture.  The steps are simple to follow and almost anyone can do it.  You just need the right knowledge and the right materials.


Materials Needed


Base coat of paint, primer, stain, brush, graining tool, paint brush & roller, paint tray




  1. Sand the furniture using 180 grit sandpaper.
  2. Clean the piece of furniture using TSP (tri sodium phosphate) or another general purpose cleaner.
  3. Apply a coat of primer to the furniture using either a brush or roller.  This primer should be a bonding primer that can stick to either previously painted furniture or polyurethane.
  4. Apply a coat of your base coat color.  This color is usually a tan, brown, or mahogany color.  Most of this paint color will be covered up by your stain color, so only a bit of it will show through. 
  5. You can either dry brush (dip the brush into the stain, then pat off excess paint on a rag before applying the stain to the furniture) or use a graining tool to complete the staining step.
  6. Once the base coat and stain are applied, your furniture should have a unique antiqued look.  If you like the look of the furniture you can move onto the next step.  If not, you can always apply another coat of stain, keeping in mind that it will darken the look of the furniture and cover up more of your base coat.  If there is a major problem with a section of the furniture, such as the top of a table, you can prime over the stain and put another base coat on to start over.
  7. Apply at least two coats of polyurethane using only a brush.  Using a roller with polyurethane can cause bubbles to form in the finish.




  • Practice on something first.  Get a large piece of wood and go through all of the steps as if you were working on your piece of furniture.  This will let you see how your technique looks and if you need to make any changes to the way you apply the stain. 

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