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How To Make White Paint Look Old The Easy Way

I get a lot of questions about how to make white paint look old or aged or antiqued. It’s a popular look. White furniture, especially if the paint is white white,  is kind of blah without some kind of special finish. I can show you how to take the blah look to an AH look. I have a very, very, short video on the antiquing process.


small table for makeover

The small table project for today has a painted top and the original stained legs and base. I liked the original stained finish so I cleaned it up a bit and then shined it up. But the white top had to get better or go. I decided on a plan for the top but some plans go out the window as this one did.

before and after how to make white paint look old
Before and after table makeover and how to make white paint look old

This is how the table looked when I purchased it. I bought it from an acquaintance who was downsizing her stash of to-do projects. I paid $12 for the table. I did more work to this table than I needed to but I’ll get into that later in the post.

How To Make White Paint Look Old

new table top

The table top was either missing or a mess because Debbie had put a new top on the table before I bought it. The top is just a basic piece of wood painted white.

How To Make White Paint Look Old The Easy Way

The spindle legs and feet were missing a bit of the original stained finish but I decided to work with that instead of painting. The table was too pretty to change it completely.


Paint The Table

How To Make White Paint Look Old

The Just Duckie color from Miss Lillian’s No-Wax Chock Paint I’m addicted to was my color choice for the tabletop. That was the plan but after painting the top blue I decided white was a better contrast to the base of the table. I could have left the top as it was and moved on to the next step. I went through 2 paint steps I didn’t need to do.

Distress The Paint

distress white paint with sandpaper

Next, I distressed the white paint just a bit using my favorite 3M flexible sandpaper. I like to use a power sander for distressing paint but I have more control when by hand using a small piece of sandpaper.

using toner to age or antique painted furniture

Make The White Paint Look Old

To age the white paint I used Caromal Colours Toner. This is one of my favorite DIY products. The process to make any paint color look old is as simple as brushing the toner onto the paint and then wiping it off with a damp rag until you get the desired effect. Easy as pie. At one time I sold the toner on Etsy but had to let that go to concentrate on projects. You can buy the toner at Caromal Colours here .

You can see how I use the toner in the video tutorial. And just to be clear, you can use the toner on any color paint, not just white. I have a great project here where I used toner on black paint….5 Steps To Antique Painted Furniture.

clean the stained finish with Howard's Feed n Wax

Refresh The Stained Table Base

For the base, I just did a quick cleaning with Simple Green and then I freshened the finish with Howard’s Feed n Wax.

Painting The Top Of A Vintage Side Table

The table top turned out great and I’m glad I didn’t paint the base. It’s not perfect but that’s okay…..because the table is old and the little imperfections add character.

How to make white <a href=

A two-tone furniture look that includes the original stained finish highlighted with a bit of paint is one of my favorite furniture finishes. I’m taking the table to my booth to sell and the price is really cheap. There are so many of my projects I would like to keep. But that means if I bring a piece in it replaces another piece that has to go.

How To Make White Paint Look Old The Easy Way
How To Make White Paint Look Old The Easy Way


I took photos of the table in the orange and turquoise bedroom. Be sure and watch the video showing how I used the toner below….

How To Make White Paint Look Old The Easy Way

How To Make White Paint Look Old The Easy Way
How To Make White Paint Look Old The Easy Way

You can also age, antique, or make the paint look old using dark wax. I painted an unfinished wood chest with red paint and used dark wax to make the paint look old. The wax also gives the paint a nice patina. Take a look at the photo of the red chest above. You can find the red cedar chest makeover here…..The Secret To Antiquing Furniture The Easy Way

How to make white paint look old or antiqued


Find the products used in both makeovers on the Petticoat Junktion Amazon page here. As always, thanks for being here and have a great day, Kathy  (p.s. leave a note, I read them all)

Kathy Owen founder of Petticoat Junktion
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Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

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  1. Is toner like a nail polish remover. Can it be bought at Walmart mart or Home Depot.

  2. Background on your table…
    It was sold about 40 years ago by a mall homegoods store called “Bombay”. The table was a plant stand with real dark stained wood & a real marble top. I still have 2 tables & have painted &/or removed or shortened parts over the years.

  3. I love the light/dark combo for this little table! Thank you for posting the Caromal Toner link–I couldn`t remember the name, but it is what I am looking for, after several days of needing it. I just ordered it.

    I learned a valuable lesson in purchasing supplies. I hadn`t done any painting for a while, so when I decided to (finally) paint a small table with turned legs and stretchers, I thought that one bottle (large) of chalk paint would be enough for two coats. Now I`m stressing that I will have enough for the second coat, I tried ordering the paint at Joann`s, only to learn that they no longer have the color I need and it has been discontinued.

    I remembered that you always keep the leftover paint, and also that you look for the mix-errors at the store. From now on, I am going to buy at least two bottles of paint. I`m sure that a small project will come along in the future on which the left over paint could be used. 🙂

  4. Table turned out great! I am going to try some the products you use in your projects…been using the same chalk paint for a long time and it would be good to try something new. thanks! oh yeah…the paint brush you love? where did you get that?