How to Whitewash Beaded Paneling


Beaded paneling is a durable wall finish often found in older homes. Unfortunately, beaded paneling can make rooms look dark and dated. Whitewashing is a simple and inexpensive way to update and brighten rooms that have beaded paneling. There are several techniques for whitewashing; however, the simple method of diluting latex enamel paint works well for beaded paneling. According to designer and color consultant Rebecca Bushner, you can experiment with the ratio of water to paint to get the coverage you want.

Things You'll Need

  • Dropcloths
  • Sandpaper
  • Painter's tape
  • White or light latex enamel paint
  • Bucket
  • Rubber glove
  • Sponge
  • Paint brush
  • Paint stick
  • Move furniture away from walls and cover with dropcloths. Cover floors with dropcloths. Sand beaded paneling with sandpaper to make the paint adhere better.

  • Use painter's tape to cover corners where walls meet ceiling and any other surfaces or trim you want to protect.

  • Mix 3 parts paint to 1 part water in bucket. Stir well using stick. With a gloved hand, dip the sponge into the whitewash mixture and squeeze out excess liquid. Practice by applying the paint on a test piece of paneling, or in an inconspicuous area of the room. Use a brush to get whitewash into grooves.

  • Starting in one corner of the room, at the top of the wall, apply whitewash with sponge working down the wall. Work in manageable sections around the room.

Tips & Warnings

  • For added durability, apply a coat of latex varnish over whitewashed walls.
  • If you must stop before completing the room, try to get to the end of a wall. Stopping in the middle of a long wall may result in inconsistent applications.

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  • Photo Credit Schleifmaschine image by Volker Gerstenberg from blue painters tape image by Jim Mills from paint supplies 2 image by jimcox40 from
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