How do you feel about distressed painted furniture? Is it a definite yes, a no, or does it depend on the piece? I love it myself but you already know that. Furniture with a distressed paint finish has so much character. Distressing can hide flaws or play them up. Even if you are not a big fan of distressed paint there is something here for you…..I promise.

The whole distressed paint thing may not be your cup of tea but you might spot a piece or two you like in this list of distressed furniture projects from my early painting years.

painted furniture with stenciled numbers

1. Beach Inspired Dresser With Distressed Blue Paint

The numbered dresser is one of my favorite projects I just wish this photo was better. I was taking photos for the blog in the shop at that time and the photos are not the best. The dresser was pretty cool though and I enjoyed painting it. The heavy distressing and stenciled numbers scream beach to me. I love beachy stuff.

(click on any pink text links for makeover details)red white and blue furniture

 2. Red, White, and Blue Distressed Chest 

The red, white, and blue chest didn’t need painting at all. Just distressing. I bought the chest at the Nashville Flea Market for a little bit of nothing. The chest was white and there were places where the paint was chipped and I saw red paint in spots and blue paint in spots. I grabbed my sander and went to work. I distressed the paint until the red and blue colors were revealed in just the perfect ratio. The original knobs were a dull pink. I found new ones in my stash and spray painted them red. Perfect.

distressed dresser red knobs3. Blue Distressed Dresser and Red Knobs   

The blue dresser with red knobs is kind of the same story. It was blue when I purchased it so a little distressing love and new knobs made it beautiful. I distressed the drawers really heavily then wiped the entire piece with dark wax.

white shabby chic dresser

4. Heavily Distressed with Turquoise Knobs 

This piece is my most controversial piece ever! You can read the story here…Shabby White Dresser.

distressed furniture

5. Shabby Chair Love

The chair was also originally painted blue. I didn’t realize how many projects I bought painted and just distressed. I tell you guys I’m lazy. You might believe me now. But really, why do extra work when you have the basic stuff to work with. 
grain sack stripe furniture

6.  Grain Sack Inspired Table 

The grain sack table is one of my favorite projects. The table on top is one the JTS and I pieced together. The turquoise paint was too blah and needed roughing up a bit.

10 boldly distressed furniture projects7.  Winter White Hutch 

The simplicity of the heavily distressed white paint and the plain brown knobs says shabby chic in the best way. You really need to use an electric sander to distress paint this heavily.

10 boldly distressed furniture projects8. Blue and Red Chest Distressed with a Wet Cloth method  

I tried a new technique (at least new to me) on the chest to show layers of paint. It turned out pretty darn good.

black distressed furniture9. Black Distressed Table and Chairs with Drop Cloth Seats

I still say there is nothing better than black paint lightly distressed. The table and chairs were a custom project for a favorite client. The seats are covered with drop cloths…..inexpensive and the neutral color can be used anywhere.

Distressed painted furniture 10.  Shabby White Table  

More white shabby chic goodness for this drop leaf table. Next best thing to black distressed paint is white distressed paint. How about an extra furniture makeover thrown in?? You will love this knock-off Pottery Barn piece…

Pottery Barn Knock-Off

Pottery Barn Knock-Off

Painted and Distressed Furniture

I hope you guys enjoyed the tour of distressed furniture projects. Most of these are older projects and if you’re new here you may have missed them. Did any project in particular catch your eye? How do you feel about distressed furniture? Thanks for stopping by and have a great week. Kathy

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. Thanks Naomi. The red, white, and blue chest of drawers is one of my favorites. I kept it for a while in one of our bedrooms. If I tried to recreate the look it would never turn out right!

  2. Thank you Deborah! The white dresser has had its ups and downs on Facebook and my blog. There are those who hate the look and I understand that.

  3. I love all the pieces! The different colors that peek through the top coat are my favorite part of each piece. I`ve painted many picture frames with this technique, and even a few small pieces of furniture. My favorite piece? The shabby white dresser. It is very popular on Pinterest. 🙂 <3

  4. I like the blue and red chest that you heavily distressed and that beautiful white drop-leaf table at the end. The other items, not so much. I think the little table with the blue top sitting on top of the other piece would look great if it were all painted greenish and moderately distressed. The legs are great but don’t show up well with the bright turquoise top.

    All in all, though, it is an interesting and provoking post show-casing your wonderful eye and imagination.

  5. Wow you always did a great job you are such a talented person.I always read your article and feeling proud after reading these article.Thanku for posting such a good article.

  6. I always love everything you do…fabulous round up! I’m like you, haven’t painted anything (fully anyway) in forever!! I need to get back in my groove. 😉


  7. Oh I love all of your distressing, Kathy! I’m a sucker for the ‘chunkier’ the better. Beautiful work. Even your turquoise frames…I’m swooning.
    Cheers to you and yours, my friend. Have a great week!

  8. Great projects in your round-up that are sure to inspire your readers. My favorite is the table that you painted black with the chairs that have drop cloth seats.

  9. Wow! You are one talented chick! Love the highly distressed look!!! ~Christy

  10. I love the distressed look. I have a desk that is just waiting for me to paint and distress it.

  11. I am fondest of the turquoise knob dresser- there’s something graceful about it- despite the heavy distressed look.

  12. Hi Kathy~~~Well, I love them all!! Even the “controversial” piece. The more you look @ it~~~the more it grows on you :0). Have a good week & I hope you get a chance to work with some paint.