What Are the Different Types of Distressed Bedroom Furniture?

Erin J. Hill

Distressed bedroom furniture usually refers to any type of bedroom furniture which features worn, antiqued, or rustic characteristics. These can be accents which are added to newer items, or naturally occurring aging due to wear and tear. Distressed furniture is especially common in homes which have a cottage or farmhouse look, although it is becoming more popular with virtually any style decor.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Homeowners will often combine newer and sleeker items with one piece of distressed bedroom furniture. In this case the item would act as an accent piece and add character to the room. Other times entire bedroom collections may have distressed or rustic undertones.

There are varying degrees to the distressed look a piece may have. Some items have a slightly faded appearance on the outer edges of the wood or metal exterior, while others may feature cracking paint, worn wood, scratches, uneven paint or finish markings and other imperfections. In distressed bedroom furniture, these marks are usually there intentionally. There are various methods which are used to make a newer item appear distressed.

In most cases when someone thinks of distressed bedroom furniture, they typically think of items which are deliberately worn. Faded areas may be confined to certain parts of an item, or crackling paint may be used to add a certain effect. Naturally distressed furniture may also have stains, dirt, and other discoloration. Furniture which is severely damaged or worn is not the same as deliberately distressed items since only mild flaws are considered suitable. The term "distressed" is usually used when discussing furniture which is well cared, showing naturally occurring forms of aging but without unsightly blemishes or loss of function.

It is possible to make new furniture appear distressed by painting items with antiqued colors or crackling paint. This works best on metal furniture or real wood. Common bedroom items that can be distressed include headboards, dressers, wardrobes, chests, and nightstands. When creating distressed bedroom furniture, it is a good idea to stick with colors which are suitable for the style of the furniture so that it looks naturally, rather than artificially, distressed.

Other types of distressed bedroom furniture may feature actually worn and distressed wood but in a new item. For instance, old barn wood from disassembled barns is often used to construct new furniture. This gives items a worn appearance but with the stability of real wood furniture.

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