Consignment shops and tag sales are filled with furniture. As you bring it home, you might find that your rooms start to have a mix-and-match feel. Unify your home with one style. The French Country decorating style is a great one to choose because it is all about colors. Whitewash major furniture peices and then add in little bright accents here and there!
If you want to use this look in your own space, use these how-to steps to whitewash your thrifted furniture. Here are the steps.
Before We Get Started: Why Whitewash?
You might be wondering… why should I paint over my vintage finds? If you want your home to have a French Country feel, you first need to unify your color palette. The easiest, most direct way to do this is through painting!
For the most part, your rooms should be filled with pale, neutral tones. Think cream, ivory, and white. This foundation sets the stage for your accent pieces — like a bright blue pitcher of flowers or a charming red wooden chair.
Accents are the exception. As I said, the foundation of the space needs to be light. The largest furniture peices in the room, such as a dining room table, bedboard, dresser, or armoir, can be painted white to achieve your goal.
The Correct Way To Whitewash
Not just any paint job will do! Your painting style needs to look antique and authentic. If you simply paint pieces white, you won’t achieve the warm, worn look that is essential to French Country style.
How can you create the perfect, chipped, antique paint finish? Here’s your guide. If you have a piece with a gorgeous wooden texture and you want to stain it, instead of paint it, check out our previous guide to whitewashing with stain here In the photo above, the barn doors are pickled with stain, and the table and chairs are whitewashed with paint.
Two-Toned Chipped Whitewash
There are several steps to this project, and you will need to wait twenty-four hours between the second and third steps. Make sure that you schedule in enough time on two separate days. It would be the perfect weekend DIY project!
Step One: Prepare
Prep the surface of your furniture by washing it and then stripping off the sealant. If there is a thick layer of stain on it, a chemical stripper will save you lots of time. Another option is to simply use sand paper. Make sure that you work in a well ventilated area for this step!
Step Two: Dark Base
Place the piece on a drop cloth, and spray paint the entire surface area in a dark color, such as brown or black. A single coat will do. This is the part where you have to wait patiently for the paint to dry! Twenty four hours is best if you can be that patient.
Step Three: Light Coat
Apply a coat of light colored (white, cream, ivory, pale blue or pale green) milk paint on top of your dark base. This paint is especially made to dry with a crackled finish, making your piece look antique. If you don’t want to buy milk paint, you could also apply a second layer of spray paint, this time in light color.
Step Four: Distress
Use sandpaper (80 to 220 grit) to distress key areas of the furniture piece. Try to think about the spots where the piece would naturally get worn, like places where it would be touched, lifted, or where feet would rest. Gently sand away your light layer of paint only, allowing the dark base to peek through
Step Five: Finish
Next, seal the entire piece with lacquer. This will ensure that all of your hard work stays looking great for years to come.
The French Country style of decorating is warm, simple and rustic. This look comes from rural sounthern France of bygone eras, when materials were homespun and and homes were designed to welcome in a wandering neighbor. Besides painted furniture, you’ll want to add in natural materials like wool, cotton, fur, wood, and stone. Have fun decorating! Leave a comment to let us know if you’re excited about this style.