A hub for all things to do with design, furniture painting, photography, style, event planning [and some foodie bits for good measure].  

Whitewashed Nightstands: Combining Dark and Light Shades

Some people count sheep when they can't sleep.  I count furniture. Sometime after midnight, my number was 147. I spent yesterday updating my website: making sure I had all my currently available pieces posted for sale, adding photos to my painted furniture page, writing blog posts. It occurred to me I’d never really counted how many pieces of furniture I painted since I started this site!  My current count [which thankfully wasn’t too hard since I take photos and post nearly every piece I’ve ever done] is at 147. That’s 147 pieces of furniture painted over the course of three years, give or take.  That averages out to around 49 per year, so nearly one piece of furniture painted per week! [and I'd probably paint even more if I could!]

That number doesn't factor in when I repaint a piece, which I have done a fair few times. Take this pair of nightstands.  I prepped, painted, sanded and waxed this pair in a dark gray and when I was done, I felt nothing short of, meh. [yes 'meh' is a proper term when discussing furniture painting!]

I've been painting everything gray lately, and I was frankly growing tired of it.  Bright, colorful pieces don't tend to fly off the shelves, and though I'm happy to hold onto pieces for a while if it means I get to paint in a variety of shades, I do need to sell furniture from time to time! It's why I often paint in gray.  It's popular, it's neutral, but classic colors can grow a bit tired.  I decided to try out a different painting technique to spice up my usual neutrals.

The solution to my conundrum was Annie Sloan's Pure White and I'm so pleased with the results! How can white spice up furniture you ask? Well, let me tell you...

White painted straight onto a piece of furniture will also feel fairly one dimensional and blah. Again, it sells well and it works in so many homes, but I also get tired of white.  Using a different painting technique allowed me to change up the simplicity of a standard white.

I watered down my paint in a separate bowl, adding maybe two tablespoons of water to about a quarter cup of paint. I stirred it together, took a coarse flat brush and quickly brushed on the faintest bit of paint. It's easier to start with less paint and build your way up to more.  If the paint is too watery and drips, it's too thin for this technique. For other whitewashing techniques that involve rubbing off the watery paint with a rag this is fine, but for this technique too watery is a bad thing! 

I always work with the grain and on these drawer fronts with their deeper intricate detailing, I was even more careful about the amount of paint I used. Basically, in painters terms I dry brushed on a layer of watered down white paint.

This technique really doesn't require any distressing, since the paint process gives the furniture plenty of dimension on its own. You can really see the combination of dark gray and white along the sides of the nightstands, where the striations are most prominent.  

Along the dental detailing at the top, I didn't fuss with pressing the white paint in, which allows the contrast of colors to really shine through. 

I did a more intricate styling vignette for this photoshoot, since I was working on writing something for my personal website, and used these photos as a source of writing inspiration. I love using styling and photos as a way to get myself in the mood to write and tell stories!

This pair photographs well, but for me, they look best in person where I can really take note of the variations in color.  The result was a classic neutral, but with a rustic, if slightly beach inspired vibe. 

The nightstands are up for sale in my shop! Contact me if you're interested in them, or want to learn more about this whitewashing painting process!