Getting That Antique Look

Trim that is added to the lower quarter of a wall is called "wainscoting." Wainscoting can be crafted from wood paneling, detailed molding, or trim. Homeowners have used wainscoting in their interior décor for its visual appeal and architectural interest since the late 16th century.

Wainscoting serves no structural purpose but acts as a design feature, lending contrast and a point of interest to walls. Most often, wainscoting is painted to match the trim of a home, but it's acceptable and often useful to experiment with color and treatments to perk up the look of your home interior.

Aged Look

One way to add character to your home is to use techniques that add an aged look to wooden wainscoting. The antique look can make your home look like an ancestral estate or give it a funky, down-home country look. The general technique is called "distressing."

To distress wood, you can use hammers and nails and all sorts of materials that can create nicks and dings on the surface of the wood. The wood is then given a base coat of color. When the base coat is dry, apply a contrasting color for your second coat. An example of base and secondary colors to use include black, followed by blue. After the second coat is dry, take a square of rough sandpaper to remove the secondary color at corners and edges, so that the base color is revealed in strategic areas.

Here is another step by step technique to get an aged look on wooden wainscoting or any other wooden item, such as beams or furniture:

Uneven Surface

*Apply a flat latex paint in off-white, using a clean rag made of cloth. This process leaves an uneven surface that looks filmy. This is desirable

*Have a go at the paint with a pull paint scraper or with coarse sandpaper (C or 60-grit).

*Take a tablespoon of the off–white paint and add it to a pint of glaze (acrylic). Next, tint the glaze with pigments such as yellow ochre for a warm look or raw umber for depth. These tints can be found in all paint stores. Apply the glaze to your distressed paint job with the help of a paint brush.

Rub Down

*After ten minutes elapse, rub down the glaze with some superfine (0000) steel wool. This will remove a bit of the glaze from the higher areas of the texture you've already created, but leave the glaze in the lower parts of the surface making the wood appear to have aged in spots.