Nothing bothered me more than a lack of needy furniture. With all-inclusive stores like IKEA, there is no shortage of well-designed, stylish and affordable furniture. The other side of this coin, however, is that your apartment stops looking like a showroom. My wife and I have decorated carefully and tastefully, but in addition to the old socks hanging on each surface, nothing about our furniture suggests age.
If you are like me, I appreciate the look of vintage furniture. It provides an air of sophistication and rustic appeal to all residential areas. If you are really like me, you are also scared of the prices that genuine vintage furniture may require.
So, what's the best way to fill your home with picking vintage furniture without taking out a second mortgage? Why buy some of the above-mentioned quality-friendly pieces from IKEA et. al., and makes it vintage. It's not just that easy and fun, it leaves a lot of space for personalization. Read the following steps to create custom, unique "vintage" furniture and stop having a living space that looks like it belongs to Ernest Hemingway (without cheetah mounted over bookshelf).
Step 1: Let's get soft - Age does the same as furniture like it does for everything else: it mows edges, rounds corners and makes it usually "softer". With this in mind, there is no better starting point than softening of all your hard edges. Take a hammer and hit all corners and edges, including the legs. Then take some sandpaper (a good coarse grain is a good idea at this stage I recommend 60) and go over all sides. However, do not do this in a consistent way. You want the furniture to look hot, not systematically ground. A perfect level of wear is what you want to avoid, so try to go harder in areas where more action is likely to have occurred, such as leaning your feet or arms on it.
Step 2: Wham Bam as furniture looks antiques - This is one of the nicer steps to "vintage-izing" your furniture. Take the hammer that you used in step 1 and drop it a few times from a height of about 15 cm across the entire piece. Provided you do not use Gravity Hammer from Halo, this should give you some nice nicks, gouges and scrapes, and suggest that it's of high age. Also, do not be afraid to turn the hammer around and use the clone to add some longer scratches along the surface of the piece. How hard you get rid of and scratch depends on what kind of wood you work with, because softer forests like pines are more easily damaged than cherry or oak.
Step 3: True Colors - This is where most people are wrong when new furniture looks old. They have followed the first two steps, but then they apply a little lovely fresh color. This makes the furniture look bad as opposed to vintage. So, how can you avoid this? Choose two contrasting colors and paint one over the other to make it look as if the original color has been painted over. The color selection is up to you, but be sure to let the first coat dry before putting on the other because you do not want them to blend together. When applying the second color, do not paint over each inch of the paragraph. Leave a portion of the first color exposed, to give the impression that the color has been dulled in the years / decades / centuries (how old do you say these furniture is by the way?).
Step 4: Emergency Test - You need some sandpaper again, but not the coarse grain from Step 1. Use a much finer grain (preferably around 220) and easily pass the whole piece to take some long-lasting "new color" away. When you have aged paintings, take the same fine sandpaper and sand down your edges, corners and all stains that would look more wearable (as explained in Step 1). You can also sand through to the first color to improve the whole "this table has been here since Plinius the oldest day's" feel.
Step 5: Older Wipe - When you feel that you've really achieved the vintage look, wipe the whole piece with a dry cloth to loosen it from abrasive dust from grinding. Paste wax is recommended if you want to coat it, but I say to skip it completely and leave it as it is. You have only spent the last few hours showing wear and tear, why not let things evolve as they can? Any wear and / or damage will only increase the appearance of age and hard use.
If you have followed these steps correctly, you have turned a furniture from a mass-produced item into a unique antique vintage. Now nobody needs to know that the chest in your living room that was "recovered from Queen Anne's Revenge" was actually purchased from Mio on Saturday.