Just when you thought you landed on a great bargain for an antique table, you get to read about distressed furniture and you feel cheated. Yes, that furniture you thought was old-age and probably historical, might just be another one of those pieces of distressed painted furniture that have become intriguingly popular everywhere.
Sometimes it is funny how some people want their old, rickety furniture replaced with brand new ones while others like their furniture old and rather abused-looking. The trend is to make brand new sets and make them look old, used, and distressed. But how did this begin anyway?
How distressing started
Distressing furniture probably started during the Victorian times when there was too much hype and fascination given to the past. Filthy rich people took it as a status symbol if they have tokens from the past. These tokens are in the form of pieces of furniture that are interestingly used by people who came before them. Every wealthy figure had to collect or own one or more and so there rose a need that was addressed by deliberate distressing of new furniture since there are not so many of these old pieces that can satisfy the big demand.
The truth finally surfaced in the 1950s that there was a dishonest practice of selling such furniture posed as antiques. The media exposed about this much to the surprise of the antique enthusiasts. From then on, many started choosing the look and design over history or genealogy. But, the manufacturers never really stopped producing this kind of furniture since there was still steady growth of demand for it.
What is distressing?
Old furniture, which usually takes on high reselling prices, have dents and worn edges that speak a lot about how used up it is. Some area appears more smoothened or shinier and some may have stains. Corners have bumps and some form of scratches. Chairs have flattened seats due to long use. Any marks that suggest it has been somewhere and used by someone qualify the set as old furniture.
Distressing is simply adding some wear and tear on the piece deliberately to make it pass as that ever-desirable and most-coveted antique or used furniture. Marks can be produced in several ways:
* Burnishing or adding burns – done by leaving burn marks on the furniture especially if made of wood, then painted on
* Adding fly specks – putting small dots of dark paint on random sections of the furniture to make it appear like some fly had landed and made a stroll on it
* Rasping or scraping – using a file to scrape off the edges of a furniture to make it appear more ruggedly used
* Making worm holes – hitting a heated nail onto the furniture so that a black hole is produced when the nail is pulled off
* Hand-rubbing for a worn look – rubbing random areas with different paint color before the finish dries off to create the worn out look
* Pumice-rubbing – using a white pumice to rub the edges so that there remains white marks or residues