Rustic Furniture Painting Techniques


Rustic interior designs work to create calm and relaxing environments that take their inspiration from nature itself. Rustic designs incorporate the rough side of nature, utilizing its irregular and coarse appearance to create a warm, cozy feel to a room. When considering using a rustic furniture paint technique, the goal is to avoid shiny modern techniques and keep colors warm and subdued with rough or distressed looks.

Rustic Furniture Painting Techniques
(Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media)

While most rustic designs emphasize natural and unrefined materials, it is common to see wooden furniture painted. Rustic designs incorporate shabby chic and farmhouse decor as well as Western and lodge themes, therefore having individual color schemes to consider when painting. When applying rustic furniture painting techniques to wooden furniture, keep the colors serene by using tans, browns or beige. White is a popular color for country decor.

For a rustic paint technique on newer furniture, apply a base flat coat of paint directly onto the surface. Apply a wax sealant to the base coat, allowing it to dry. Then apply a top coat of a paint-glaze mixture or stain and glaze mixture, allowing this to dry as well. Rub gently over areas of the wooden furniture commonly exposed to wear and tear to create a rustic, distressed look. Seal with finishing wax or a coat of polyurethane to provide a protective surface for the furniture.

For a different type of rustic furniture paint technique, lightly sand the surface of a prepainted or primed furniture piece and using a glaze and paint mixture, apply thin coats of paint with a dry brush. Remember less is more for this technique. Then sand again to remove any obvious paint streaks and apply a protective top coat. Always paint and sand with the grain for a natural look.

Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media

Rustic furniture painting techniques on metal surfaces vary. Home improvement stores carry kits that include spray-paint applications that create the look and feel of rough metal or crackled wood. For metal applications, though, always look for paints designed strictly for bonding with metal materials. Also, consider materials designed for exterior applications to withstand weathering from the elements.

Common metals used in rustic designs are wrought iron, copper and tin. To transform a bright or shiny metal shelf into a rustic design, sand the piece to remove the protective glaze. Sometimes it helps to give it a light beating with a hammer or mallet to give it a rough appearance. Sand again and then remove any dust with a damp rag. Apply a coat of a dull gray, black or copper paint and a protective sealant. A brush adds artistic streaks, but foam brushes or rollers work well too for a refined cleaner edge.

For old-fashioned or rusty furniture, first apply a rust-enhancing formula, such as hydrogen peroxide. These chemical reactions stimulate rust production on the metal piece and once the desired level of rusting is achieved, apply a protective top coat to finish the process.

Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media

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