Farmhouse rustic on the CHEAP!

For the last few years, farmhouse rustic/distressed furniture has been the desired trend.  Buying furniture pieces with this desired finish can be quite costly.  So, how can you get the same look for less?  I put my creativity to work and this is how I successfully gave my furniture pieces a farmhouse rustic look on the cheap!

When you think farmhouse rustic or distressed, you think chippy peeling paint and a tattered appearance.  Your desired finish should look old, worn, and weathered.  It’s easy to achieve this look even if you’re not artistic….I’m certainly not an artist!  For years I was a stay-at-home caregiver living on only one income.  I didn’t have the luxury of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a distressed piece of furniture.  Using my lack of funds as inspiration, I decided to test my DIY skills to achieve my shabby furniture goal!

1.)  Choosing A Project Piece

Trying to decide what type of furniture to distress is an important question.  Too big of a project….you may lose interest; too small of a project….it may require too many details.  As for me, when chosing my starter piece, I chose a functional piece of furniture that would serve a purpose in my home.  Unlike some, I don’t have a huge house.  Therefore, whatever furniture I decide to makeover needs to serve some purpose….storage, accent table, end table, ect.

2.)  Where To Find It?

Once you figure out the piece, GO FIND IT!  I visit thrift stores, yard sales, free classifieds online….you never know what you may stumble across.  Remember, the least amount of investment possible is preferred.  I set my limit at $10-$20!  Try to find a project that doesn’t involve a lot of fixing….missing legs, missing half of a tabletop!  Make a smart purchase!

3.)  Supplies

Now that you have project piece, what do you do with it?  Go to a local store and pick up some cheap primer (latex), paint (latex), brushes, sandpaper (160 grit and fine grit), and polyurethane (water-based).  These five basic supplies are all you need to successfully finish many distressed furniture pieces.  I prefer to use latex or water-based primers, paints, and sealers.  They are SO much easier to clean-up and you can wash and reuse your brushes!

4.)  The Process

Clean your project piece with a damp rag and remove any dirt.  Now, lightly sand your piece with any grit sandpaper just to rough up the surface.  This will allow your primer to adhere better.  After sanding, wipe down the piece again and remove any dust.

Ready to primer!?  Using any type of paintbrush, apply the primer to the piece.  Let the brush strokes show!  I prefer using only one coat of primer.  This allows for easier sanding and a better finish.  Let the primer dry for 24 hours.

It’s primed, so LET’S PAINT!  Again, apply your favorite paint right over the primer.  Go crazy here!  Paint in all directions!  Show a lot of brush strokes!  These techniques add to the distressed look of your piece.  After you finish applying the paint, allow it to dry 24 hours.  At this point, it’s entirely up to you if you want additional coats of paint.  I usually apply two coats, but it’s all individual preference.

Finally we can sand!  Using your coarse grit sandpaper, start sanding your piece until you get your desired look. Don’t worry about messing up, it’s only paint!  You may want to wear a dust mask when sanding….it can get a little messy!

Everything is sanded down and you have your rustic look. Let’s preserve it for years to come!  I prefer a water-based polyurethane.  Some people prefer other sealers, but again it’s personal preference.  For me….whatever is on sale or the cheapest!  Remove any dust from your piece and brush on your sealer.  This is the only time I recommend trying to reserve your craziness and take it easy on the brush strokes.  Try to be consistent and go one way with your strokes.  It gives a more finished appearance.  After applying your topcoat allow it to dry at least 24 hours.  At this point, I prefer to gently sand the entire piece with fine grit sandpaper, wipe down, and apply a second topcoat.  This ensures a nice appearance and better preservation.

All done!  Now step back and admire your farmhouse rustic furniture piece.  Let’s not forget, you completed this project on the cheap!  Using my secrets to achieving that shabby look, get creative and showcase your DIY skills on more projects!  Let me see those finished projects by commenting below.  Do you have tips to add?  Comment below. Talk to you soon!