How to Whitewash Wood Furniture

A white bedroom with a whitewashed headboard above the bed.
What You'll Need
Pieces of wooden furniture to be treated
White vinegar
200-grit sandpaper
White latex paint
Stirring stick
Sealant (optional)
Eye protection
Protective clothing

Whitewash wood furniture has a unique appearance and aesthetic that is versatile. It can be used in both indoor and outdoor settings and gives a piece of wooden furniture a simple elegance. Best of all, whitewashing is a very easy process you can complete at home. Also, the process of fixing any mistakes, or sloppy sections, is straightforward. You can whitewash your wooden furniture in just a few hours, with inexpensive supplies. Follow these steps to whitewash your own wooden furniture and to avoid common mistakes.

Step 1 - Clean the Furniture

The first step to creating whitewashed wooden furniture pieces is to clean the surface of the wood itself. Use a diluted vinegar solution with 50% vinegar and 50% water to do this. This solution will gently rub off any dirt and stains from the surface of the wood and allow the wood to better absorb the white paint in the subsequent steps of this procedure. Be sure to allow the vinegar plenty of time to dry once you've rubbed down the furniture.

Step 2 - Sand the Furniture

After the vinegar solution has dried, use your sandpaper to sand off any existing paint or sealant that may be on the furniture. This process will also help the wood to absorb the paint later on as well.

Step 3 - Mix the Paint

Mix the white latex paint with water according to the instructions on the paint can. Typically, you'll need to use about three parts paint and one part water, but the exact ideal mixing solution depends somewhat upon the type of paint and the brand that you select, so be sure to follow the instructions carefully. Use a stirring stick to mix the paint and water thoroughly before applying it to the furniture.

Step 4 - Paint the Furniture

Carefully paint the furniture using a brush that is comfortable for you. Once you've completely painted the furniture, you may notice some brush strokes on the surface of the wood. If this is the case, carefully rub the brush strokes off and smooth them down using a rag, taking care not to remove too much paint. If you do, simply paint over the area with a small amount of your paint mixture.

Once the entire chair is painted, be sure to allow several hours for the paint to dry completely. After this, you can use a sealant layer to protect the paint if you wish; this will help to ensure that your whitewashed furniture retains its color for many years.

All of the different materials that are required to complete this do-it-yourself project are available at your local hardware or home improvement store and are inexpensive. Many home improvement centers will also have special classes that will show you the best techniques for many different paint styles.