When a piece of furniture or object is lovingly used over time, it can develop a rich, distressed patina that tells its whole life story. Think of a wooden table from an old workshop with metal drawer pulls that are darkened from years of use, or a marble countertop from a decades-old hotel kitchen, discolored and buttery smooth from wear. These characteristic imperfections are often indications of a time when furniture and household items were handcrafted, when country life prevailed, and homey, rustic objects were used, handed down, and reused. Today, this type of "farmhouse style" – which, incidentally, blends easily with boho, shabby chic and industrial styles – has become one of our most enduring decorating trends. And, short of incorporating actual antiques into your home, it's easy to find new furniture and objects intentionally made to look like weathered antiques. The secret to distressed pieces is simplicity. They look and feel lived-in, comfortable, unpretentious – the opposite of slick and shiny. Furniture || The idea behind distressed furniture – and why it has such charm – is that each piece has subtle variations in surface appearance, so no two are exactly alike. Before the Industrial Revolution, variations were naturally occurring, but once items became mass produced, each one started out exactly alike with uniform surfaces and details. For today's distressed furniture, surface imperfections are desirable, with variations in color and finish intentional. In addition to wood, other materials, including metal, glass, stone, and plastic, can be made to look distressed. Area Rugs || Previously, the only way you could really get a "distressed" rug was from years of walking on it. Now you can find new rugs that have worn patches of faded color that truly look vintage, but are deliberately created in factories using special manufacturing and finishing techniques. Most rugs were and are built to withstand plenty of wear and tear, and can become more beautiful as they age. Finishing Touches || Mirrors, clocks, plaster busts (more popular than ever!), woven baskets, architectural salvage, metal gates and grates, stained glass window panels, books and other items, can all be found in true vintage distressed form. Or, you can buy attractive reproductions made to look as though you've curated them from years of global travel. Ideally, your home will look more unique if you mix true vintage items with newer items. It's even more interesting if you mix styles and time periods for an eclectic look that tells your personal design story.