Print Friendly and PDF

Ideas and instructions for white washed furniture

You either love or hate whitewashed furniture but it is just one of the ways to decorate a home to suit your personal style.


Whitewashing is an affordable and easy way to lighten dark wood or add a custom finish to pine furniture without destroying the piece. Whitewashing is a simple painting technique to master and doesn't require any special equipment or fancy materials.

Rather than applying a clear varnish to inexpensive pine furniture give it a completely new look by applying a whitewash.





Whitewashing paint onto furniture allows you to transform wood furniture that has been prepared beforehand. All that's required to apply a whitewash finish is to add a little water to your paint. The amount of water you add determines the whitewashing effect - the more water you add the less the effect.

Pour your paint into a paint tray. Have a piece of scrap wood handy as a tester piece. Start adding water to the paint and testing inbetween until you are happy with the finish.

For a perfect whitewash finish

6 parts paint to 4 parts water

You can apply the watered down paint to your furniture using a foam paint roller or paintbrush, whichever method you prefer. The only essential thing to bear in mind is that you work on a section at a time. This can be a side, a top, a drawer front, etc., as you have to wipe down the painted area before it has time to dry.

You don't need anything fancy to wipe off the paint - a kitchen sponge or old rags will do the trick. Work in the direction of the wood grain and gently wipe away the paint. Try to wipe from one end to the other in a single stroke for a more consistent and less patchy finish.

You have the option to repeat the painting and wiping process if you want a more pronounced whitewashed effect. Let the first coat dry overnight being applying a second coat. You can also use any colour of paint to whitewash pieces of furniture.

All whitewashed furniture needs to be given a coat of antique wax to protect the finish. You will find Woodoc antique wax at your local Builders Warehouse. Rub on a light coat with a soft cloth and leave for approximately 15 to 20 minutes before buffing to a satin finish.

You can also use a whitewashing technique on reclaimed wood or salvaged or secondhand furniture finds.