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You Can Age Clothes and Furniture, but a Room?

Updated on August 14, 2014

Aging a Room for a Special Occasion

Halloween will be here faster than you know and with a few more months to plan a party, I thought I'd share this tip I taught myself on how to age a room.

While it wasn't for a Halloween party I lent my house out for a TV shoot a few years ago. The location called for a dingy small apartment above a dive bar. At first it didn't seem like a problem.

Then I thought about it.

All of the walls in my house are beige as opposed to white so the problem was to change the color (without changing the paint) since both the living room and kitchen would be used for one location and my bedroom would be the "apartment."

I searched websites and couldn't find anything to distress a room. Clothing and furniture yes, but walls no. So I started thinking (and that can be a dangerous thing when I get an idea).

What I did was to use ash from the fireplace and test it in one spot. I dabbed a feather duster in water, then into the ash and with the duster acted as though I were painting. It was light at first but then it did get darker as the ash became clumped and adhered to the wall. I used a regular white feather duster and I noticed a smaller feather had been pulled out and was sticking to the wall. The closer I looked it became "chipped paint" (this could also work with smaller feathers) due to the ash.

When I had one wall completed, I put a couple of older pictures I had on the wall and it became an instant success. I also used charcoal to rub into my untreated moulding and used the feather duster over it again. Anything that looks old and beat up should look great on walls and on table tops.

But something was missing and then I thought it needed a water stain.This was another brainteaser since I wasn't sure how I could accomplish this. Once again problem solved. Water stains really don't have a set pattern, so, I started with yellow chalk (which didn't work) and orange (still no luck) and added some charcoal as a line. With no luck, I started to rub it off the wall and as luck would have it the beginning of a water stain started. I then went over the area with the ash mix (which does clump very fast) and presto an instant water stain.

If you're thinking of changing wallpaper, do it after your party. Partially tearing down and leaving strips on the wall will make a great effect.

For the windows on my door, I used regular (white) scouring powder to give it a waxed look and took the curtains off of the window and added yellowed newspaper. Tattered curtains could have done the trick, but the "apartment" was supposed to be a store room as well. I also needed to add "spackle" to the walls so white toothpaste did the trick (and I did use some ash on them to bring them out a bit after the "spackle" dried a few days later).

Since I'm more neutral when it comes to colors, I used darker furniture and placed black tape on an arm of the sofa bed I moved into the room and for stuffing, I used store bought cobwebs.

My cat loves to use a couple of chairs as her own personal scratching post so those chairs were tested in the room and then I settled on an updated version of a chair from years ago. It has no arms but a friend of mine did spill some red pop onto it so with the stain and dust it fit perfectly.

Lighting is also a key so keep the bulbs at about 40 watts and try to use darker, older lamp shades. If they're dusty it'll add to the effect you're trying to accomplish.

I should have done this- call someone who knows special effects from a community theater for advice, but in reality when you do clean up the walls use Murphy's Oil Soap and within minutes your room is back to it's original finish (and smells fresh!).


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