This pergola is a favorite of mine. It originally had shorter legs so only a kids table could fit under it. I really wanted an outdoor eating area by the fireplace so I had 6 new posts put up that were 8 ft tall each. I had the post painted with a white, semi gloss latex paint. As you see in the picture the top of the pergola has a natural distress and the legs look brand spankin' new.
Over the past ten years I have played around with many different ways to age my furniture and to me the easiest and most economical is the old school way.
Semi-gloss or satin paint, a hand sander, heavy sand paper, staining pad, gloves, mask, and Minwax "dark walnut" stain.
The first step is to sand some of the paint off the post (this works the same for coffee tables and all types of furniture).
Sand it enough so the original wood grain comes through.
Now it is time to wipe on and wipe off. Dip the tip of the sanding pad in the stain and wipe it on and then take the other side of the pad and wipe it off.
It will look very dark to begin with but the more you rub the stain off the lighter it gets. Do small sections at a time. With the posts I did half the length of each post at a time. If you mess up, don't freak out- just paint it and try it again.
Here you can see the difference between the new and the now "old" posts.
It is pretty hard to tell that these weren't original to the pergola
Now I just need to get my Magnolia Farms table and benches and then we are ready to eat under the canopy of happiness
One thing I have found with distressing furniture is the more and more you practice with it the better you get. With table legs and furniture, the more detail each piece has the better. The stain will stay in the cracks and grooves and really highlight the character of each piece. Find a piece of furniture you'd like to give a makeover to and try it out!