The layered look
When a piece has several layers of finish or paint, each of those layers will show through in varying degrees at naturally worn areas. Think of where items were set down too firmly, edges that were handled or rubbed against a wall, surfaces around door and drawer pulls, and where legs and stretchers were kicked by shoes and bumped by brooms or vacuum cleaners.
You can re-create years of distress in minutes with sandpaper. Note that when doing this, dings, dents, and scratches retain the topmost color, as sandpaper doesn’t reach into them. Conversely, flat areas and raised grain, as well as brush strokes and paint glops in base paint layers, will buff away to reveal the color below.
After the paint dries, you can add some light distressing, as shown in the first two photos on page 63. Then, sand areas that would have received wear. Varying the sandpaper between 100-, 120-, and 150-grit prevents the wear from looking too uniform.
A coat of yellow (Sherwin-Williams no. 6667 Afterglow) applied over a darker base coat (Sherwin Williams no. 9059 Silken Peacock) provides high contrast, emphasizing the distressing done in the next step.
If you like, apply a third color (Sherwin-Williams no. 6043 Unfussy Beige shown), brushing or rolling on, as you would for a typical piece. Sand wear areas again after the paint dries.