How to Change Whitewashed Furniture to White

How to Change Whitewashed Furniture to White thumbnail
Update your whitewashed furniture with white paint.

Whitewashing gives a transparent, aged appearance to wood furniture and allows the grain to show through. Whitewashing paint contains lime and chalk, resulting it a bright-white color, but it is thinner than regular paint. If you have tired of the whitewashed look, you can update your furniture by changing to white. Doing so will require a good prep job, as simply painting over a whitewash finish with regular paint will likely result in peeling or flaking.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Dust mask
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Sander (optional)
  • Tacky cloth
  • Water-based primer spray (optional)
  • Water-based paint
  • 1-inch and 3-inch paintbrushes
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    • 1

      Use a screwdriver to remove from the furniture any hardware, such as knobs, drawer pulls or hinges.

    • 2

      Put on a dust mask to protect your respiratory system from the fine powder that will be produced during sanding. If possible, move your furniture to an open area outside.

    • 3

      Sand the furniture using a medium-grit sandpaper, rubbing in the same direction as the wood grain in straight lines and using moderate pressure. Sand away all of the whitewash finish. You can sand by hand, but using an orbital sander will make the job easier.

    • 4

      Dust the furniture with a tacky cloth, removing all traces of dust, grit and wood flakes.

    • 5

      Apply a coat of water-based primer if necessary, spraying continuously and moving the can in short, even passes over the entire piece of furniture. If you sanded thoroughly and your furniture is in good condition, it will not be necessary to prime. Let dry for at least three hours.

    • 6

      Load your paintbrush evenly with water-based white paint, then smooth the paint on with short strokes all going in the same direction. Use a 1-inch paintbrush for small areas, such as edges and trim, and a 3-inch paintbrush for large surfaces. Let dry for at least three hours.

    • 7

      Brush on a second coat of white paint, following the same technique given above. This will provide an even, smooth appearance to your finished piece of furniture. Let dry overnight.

    • 8

      Reattach any hardware.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use good-quality paint and paintbrushes for the best results.

  • You can save time by wrapping your paintbrush in plastic wrap and leaving it in the refrigerator between coats of paint. This will prevent it from becoming stiff and hard with dried paint.

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  • Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

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