A finish that makes materials look older than they are, which is a relatively new stylistic phenomenon, and perhaps a symbol of affluence–as we now have enough new furnishings in our homes, we want them to look settled and lived in, as though they have always been there.

* Stone washing knocks fabric into a softer cloth with worn-looking colours

* Distressing and bleach finishes extend this shabby chic look to wood and to textiles.

* We often tea- dye or coffee-dye pieces of cloth and trimmings to take the sharpness out of the colour.

* A slightly more extreme solution, but one that does work, is to bury whatever it is you want to age in the garden (soil) for a week or two.

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