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Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Furniture Makeover: How to Age Furniture With Paint

A small dated dresser gets an aged industrial makeover with paint and black metal castor wheels!

Small Ethan Allen dressers are some of my favorite pieces to update. 

They're solid wood, versatile, built with dovetail joints, and perfect for customizing and transforming. 

I've updated quite a few of these small colonial-style dressers in the past, but this latest makeover is a little different from anything I've done before. 

Instead of just simply painting or refinishing, I decided to try something new and create an aged wood look with paint.

how to age furniture with paint

You can give wood furniture an aged look by layering dark wax or glaze, but you can also age furniture with paint.  I was going for an aged industrial look, so I also added black metal powder-coated hardware and black industrial castors. 


- Old piece of furniture
- 1"x5"x8" pine board (if needed)
- 80/150/320 Sanding pads
- Spray bottle 
- All-purpose cleaner
- Plastic cup
- Water


I started with a small Ethan Allen dresser that I found at Goodwill for just under $18.00.  It was the perfect piece to experiment with and try out a new painting technique.  

Last week, I talked about inexpensive ways to make furniture look expensive and today I'm incorporating many of those ideas to create an aged industrial chest. 

Goodwill furniture tag

Dated Ethan Allen dresser before

I began by removing all the hardware and sanding the dresser down to raw wood.  I started with 60-grit sandpaper and then worked up to 320-grit.  

sanded Ethan Allen wood dresser

After the dresser was sanded, I wiped it clean to remove any sanding dust.

I searched my garage for paint that might work for the look I was going for and settled on General Finishes Dark Chocolate and Lamp Black

I started with Dark Chocolate and made a wash of about 2 parts water, and 1 part paint.  I painted one coat of the paint/water mixture on the dresser then wiped off any access with a shop rag.   After the paint was dry, I gave the dresser a light sanding with 320-grit sandpaper. 

Brown paint wash over dresser

The next part was total trial and error.  After a few attempts, I found the best method to "age" the wood was to spray a small section of the dresser with water, lightly dab the tips of a small natural bristle brush into the black paint, apply it to the wet wood then blend using a shop rag. 

I primarily applied the black paint around the edges of the dresser and then blended it towards the center.  Additional water can be sprayed over the black paint if too much paint is applied or it dries before it can be blended. 

Aging furniture with black paint

Aging furniture with black paint

Once I was done with the black paint I allowed the dresser to fully dry.  I wasn't crazy about the color, but I felt it would darken with the water-based sealer and thankfully it did.   

After the sealer was dry, I attached the black powder-coated cup pulls and then moved on to adding the black metal industrial castors.  
how to age furniture with black paint
Unfortunately, this particular dresser didn't have a solid bottom, but I had some scrap wood in the garage and was able to build a base under the dresser to attach the industrial castor wheels.

Adding metal industrial castor wheels to furniture

metal industrial castor wheels

I splurged on the black metal pulls (they are my absolute favorite!) and the metal industrial castor wheels.  Good quality hardware is always worth investing in and can make a dramatic difference in the overall feel and quality of furniture. 

DIY aged industrial chest

how to age furniture with paint

DIy aged industrial chest

How to age furniture with paint

DIY aged industrial chest makeover

Layering and blending paint is a great way to add depth, dimension, character, and age to basic and ordinary furniture.

What do you think?  Will you try aging furniture with paint?

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How to age furniture with paint

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  1. You totally gave it the lift it needed! Great job!

  2. That dresser never looked so good! Love it. I actually love everything I’ve seen you do, especially decorating your house. I want to live there!

  3. Hi Katy! I just painted this exact piece in sage with brass pulls and label holder hardware. I am always pulled toward Ethan Allen furniture. I wish I had known how to put in the caster wheels because I sure would have. It is sitting in my booth. Thank you for your inspiration!!

    1. The sage green paint paired with brass pulls is a great combination! I'm sure it won't last long in your booth.

  4. Absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for sharing