I have long been a fan of whitewashed furniture; I think it gives some pieces character that you just can’t obtain with a regular painted or stained finish. So, when I scored two oak pedestal tables for $19 a piece at my local Habitat for Humanity store during one of their 50% off sales, I decided to paint them charcoal gray and then whitewash them. The result is soft, yet dramatic. Here's how I did it:
The most time-intensive part is prepping the furniture, but it’s also the most important. I used my orbital sander to get to the bare wood (which took me the better part of an hour and a half for each table); then, using a clean tack cloth, removed any dust and dirt. Here is what the table looked like before and after sanding:
Next, I painted a coat of Benjamin Moore's Kendall Charcoal and let it dry completely.
For the whitewash mixture, I combined 6 parts paint with 4 parts water. I used White Dove by Benjamin Moore that I had leftover from a hutch I recently refinished for a client. Using a paint brush (I’m a Purdy fan, myself) and some rags, I brushed the paint on, then used the rag to wipe it back and really get it into the grain. Let it dry completely. Don’t worry about being uniform with your brush strokes; you’ll actually get much better results if you’re a bit on the messier side.
I wanted to give it more of a driftwood finish, with lots of subtle gray layers, so I dry-drushed more white paint to highlight the grain and contours of the wood. And here is what it looks like now:
Dry-brushing the white really highlighted the wood grain beautifully:
Last, but not least, I rubbed Minwax paste wax all over to protect the wood. This really is an easy way to give new life to an old piece of furniture. Just remember, it's all about trial and error, so if you're not happy with the way it turned out, re-paint it and start again!