How To Get The PB Distressed White Finish

Potterybarn always gets it just right with their aged finishes.  A little bit old and crusty yet still refined.  Today,  I'd like to share how I used these PB finials as inspiration for a client mirror makeover. 

Last week,  I shared a before/after of a Foyer I decorated for a client.  We started the transformation by shopping her house and we found a gorgeous mirror stashed away.  It was beautiful as it was however, the color was almost identical to the wall color.  
So, I brought it home with me to my furniture studio and gave it a little makeover.  Here is how it went down...

It already had a great antique faux finish.  I wanted to keep the same look, just a lighter shade, more of a creamy white and less yellow. 

Less like this...


More like this...

So, I set out to recreate the exact same finish the piece already had.  

First, I geared up with protective eye wear and a face mask.  {Lookin' good}.   
Then, I took this project outside for maximum ventilation. 

 Instead of completely covering the old finish, in a mixing cup I added about two tsp. of water to 1 cup of white latex paint to create a wash.  I applied the wash to the mirror with a paint brush.  This technique allowed some of the old finish to show through.

To take the "white-ness" down a notch and to get the antiqued look, I used a combination of stain and glaze.  In a plastic cup, I mixed equal parts of dark walnut stain and clear glaze with a wooden skewer.  
Please ask your local paint professional for product recommendations before mixing products together.  Remember, water and oil don't mix :)

I used a cheap disposable brush to apply the mix to the mirror concentrating on the little nooks and crannies.  Using a cotton rag (an old t-shirt) I removed the glaze/stain mix.
Please read and adhere to the safety instructions on the product labels for use and for cleanup/disposal.  If you are using rags it's very important to dispose of them properly.

After the stain/glaze mix dried I polished the piece using paste finishing wax.  It not only protects the new finish but, it gives it a beautiful, low luster sheen. 

I applied the wax with cheesecloth.  I found that it works best if you put the product on the cloth and fold it over so you are applying the product through one layer of cloth.   

After a few minutes, using a new clean cheesecloth, I buffed the surface to remove the exccess wax and reveal the shiny new finish.

{After watching my neighbors house burn completely to the ground after leaving a pile of stain soaked rags sit overnight, I can't stress safety enough.  Luckily, no one was hurt.}


Thanks for stopping by. 

For information on my affordable design services, please click here

Linked up to:
Home Stories A to Z


  1. That looks the look and the perfect piece for her entrance foyer!!

  2. I just used a paste wax for the first time this week... I am in LOVE with the ease and the finish it creates! Great work on this piece and it's a super helpful tutorial!

  3. The entry looks fantastic and that was a great makeover on both the mirror and table.

  4. I recall that makeover. It looks fantastic!
    Thanks for the tips~You can never have too much information =)

  5. I don't think I've ever told you how much I appreciate your tutorials. You seem so genuine and caring with them. I appreciate your efforts.

  6. I would love to live near your house, so I could take some artsy class with you to be more of a multitasking lady!!!
    Love your blog and style, xo

  7. Really a lovely transformation. Enjoying your blog very much. I'm purchasing a new home that needs some love so your blog has been a huge inspiration.

  8. Beautiful finish! And loads of great tips and information. Thanks for sharing-- visiting from Tutes and Tips. :)

  9. I found your site last night & I am aleady addicted to it! I love this tutorial! I love the look of Pottery Barn's white finish but I hate the price!! I want to do this with some furniture for my daughter's room...If using a dark piece of furniture how would you recommend starting? It feels like a silly question...I imagine you would prime & sand more in certain areas to let the darker color show through? I'm totally new to this!

  10. Love this!! Just found your blog today through Pinterest. New follower here!

  11. where did you find the wire basket for the moss balls?

  12. I love your style. You do beautiful work. I especially enjoyed your black pottery barn paint tutorial. In there and again in here you say "access" wax, the word you are looking for is "excess". Access is a way of approaching or entering. Excess is too much. You are clearly smart and talented and if it was me, I'd want someone to tell me. You have another new follower here. Looking forward to reading over the rest of your stuff.

    1. Janet, thank you for bringing that to my attention. The entire PB black finish video tutorial is a comedy of errors (grammatical and spelling). Had I know it would generate so many views, I would have done a spell check. It's very humbling knowing it's out there generating so many chuckles.
      Best, Sarah

  13. I'm having fun reading about all of your projects but really want to thank you for the paint safety warning! I've often left stain rags sitting out without giving it a thought. Thank you!

  14. Sarah,
    I love this site! Thanks for sharing all your painting techniques. I have a question for you, I would like to use the PB white distressed finish on a washstand I have. It is stainged a light maple. Would I need to sand it first or would I do it the same way you did the mirror?

    1. Yes, I would definetly sand it first:) Have fun, and good luck!

  15. Love it! I just bought an awesome house with a not so awesome fireplace - I am going for white washed brick with a distressed black mantle... Keep your fingers crossed!

  16. I love the look of the entire entryway table and mirror. Can you tell me where you found the wire basket that holds the moss balls? I've been looking for something like that but can't find one with any height. Thanks.

  17. Beautiful, now come do my whole house, please and thank you! lol
    Thanks for the inspiration xox

  18. Minwax has a stain with a poly in it already. I use it on things I have distressed and finished, and it works great without any mixing.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...