All natural (mostly) wood stains! A handful of pennies in vinegar will produce a beautiful pale Caribbean blue stain. A wad of steel wool will give you a rich reddish hue. A combination of tea and a metal object in vinegar will produce a black stain.
Long reach paint pad keeps tight spots neat: If you have a tight spot to paint, remove the pad from a paint edging tool. Hot-glue the pad to a stir stick, and you've got a painting tool that will fit behind toilet tanks and radiators.
This is how I distress my mantle and it's so easy! How to "distress" painted wood furniture. The technique she uses is a little different than what I've done. Looks easier.with a little less dramatic of an effect.
Link to good site for furniture hardware. 10 Spray Paint Tips: what you never knew about spray paint. This is a great post that gives awesome examples of things that were given new life with spray paint.