Whitewashing furniture is a great way to revive an old piece of wooden furniture while keeping the wood grain visible.
That's exactly what I had in mind when I acquired this antique pine dresser. I loved the original wood key holes and appliqué. I did not want to cover up the great patina it had acquired over the years but just wanted to update it a bit. Although it is not apparent in the picture below, the wood was uneven in color and whitewashing was definitely the way to go. Here is the "Before" picture.
There are different ways to go about whitewashing furniture. I used a combination of watering down my paint quite heavily, wiping, dry brushing and sanding.
This technique requires so little paint, so if you are left with just bottoms of paint in your cans, think of using them up this way. I used Country Chic Paint in "Simplicity", a pure white color, and watered it down quite a bit. I did not measure it out but it was a lot more water than paint.
So I started by painting the watered down paint and wiping most of it off with a wet rag. This forms my base where the white paint settles into all the grooves and nicks. (I'm sorry I don't have much work-in-progress pictures. It was too difficult balancing a wet rag, brush and camera at the same time!).
I let that dry slightly then I took my brush and dipped it into the watered down paint, blotting off the excess and painting long, quick straight lines and filling in some of the naked spots.
After I let that dry again, I found that there were some uneven thick spots. This is where I took a wet rag and gently brushed the thick spots into their surroundings for an even appearance.
There is no art to this, it is just a matter of playing around with it, adding and subtracting and keep your brush strokes long and straight.
Still not satisfied with the results, I went in and sanded down in certain areas.
I did not like the brass handles so I just sprayed them with Rustoleum Oil Bronze spray.
Whitewashing obviously works better on rougher woods like oak and rough pine where your paint can settle in the grooves. I personally have a preference for furniture that has a lighter base color, like blonde wood.
The interior drawers and sides all got the same treatment.
So, as I mentioned above, this requires so little paint. After I finished the dresser I still had some watered down paint left, so I decided to paint this chair. I went about it a little different for the chair. Since there was not much surface for brush strokes, I painted the whole chair and when it dried I just simply used a 180 grit sandpaper and sanded most of the paint out. The results are almost identical. Both pieces were then sealed with wax.
I reupholstered the seat with drop cloth and painted some grain sack lines.