Mon - Sat: 8:00am - 18:00pm

Bucks County TimberCraft Inc

Giving Wood Furnishings a Whitewashed Look

Table of Contents

Giving Wood Furnishings a Whitewashed Look

Embracing the Rustic Charm of Reclaimed Barn Wood

I don’t know about you, but there’s just something about the weathered beauty of reclaimed barn wood that speaks to my soul. Maybe it’s the alluring patina, the unique character of each plank, or the knowledge that this timber has withstood the test of time. Whatever it is, I’ve been utterly smitten with finding ways to incorporate the rustic charm of old barns into my home. And I have to say, one of my favorite techniques is the whitewashed look.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – whitewash? Isn’t that a little too… farmhouse chic? Well, hear me out, my friends. When done right, whitewashing can actually accentuate the natural beauty of the wood, rather than trying to cover it up. It’s a delicate balance, to be sure, but the results can be simply stunning.

Let me take you on a little journey, shall we? Imagine stepping into a cozy living room, where the walls are adorned with reclaimed barn wood paneling, each plank a unique canvas of weathered hues and rustic character. But then, there’s a twist – the wood has been gently whitewashed, softening the tones and creating a serene, airy atmosphere. Suddenly, that weathered, aged beauty isn’t overpowering; it’s perfectly complemented by the whitewash, like a masterful piece of art.

And it’s not just walls, either! Oh no, my friends. The possibilities are endless when it comes to transforming your home with this rustic-meets-refined technique. Picture a farmhouse-style dining table, its sturdy legs and tabletop crafted from salvaged barn wood, but with a delicate whitewash that makes the grain pop and the character shine. Or imagine a stunning headboard, its weathered planks lending an air of vintage charm to your bedroom, yet with that soft, whitewashed finish that keeps the space feeling light and inviting.

Unlocking the Magic of Whitewashing

But how, you ask, does one achieve this elusive whitewashed look? Well, my friends, it’s all about finding the perfect balance between preserving the natural beauty of the wood and adding that subtle, whitewashed touch.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to start with the right kind of wood. Reclaimed barn wood is an obvious choice, but you can also experiment with other types of salvaged timber, like old fence boards or even repurposed shipping pallets. The key is to look for wood that has a rich, weathered patina – the more character, the better.

Once you’ve got your hands on that perfect piece of wood, it’s time to get to work. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “But won’t the whitewash just cover up all that beautiful, natural character?” Fear not, my friends. The secret lies in a delicate application technique that allows the wood’s natural beauty to shine through.

Instead of simply slathering on a thick coat of paint, you’ll want to opt for a diluted whitewash solution. This can be as simple as mixing equal parts water and white paint, or you can get a little fancier and use a pre-made whitewash medium. The idea is to create a semi-transparent finish that adds a subtle, almost ethereal glow to the wood, rather than completely obscuring it.

When it comes to application, I find that a good old-fashioned rag or sponge works wonders. Dip it into your whitewash solution, wring out the excess, and then gently dab and rub the mixture onto the wood. This allows you to control the coverage, ensuring that the natural grain and knots remain visible.

And the best part? You can play around with the opacity, adding more or less whitewash to achieve your desired look. Maybe you want a slightly more pronounced whitewashed effect on that farmhouse table, or perhaps you prefer a more subtle, barely-there finish on your wall paneling. The beauty of this technique is that it’s entirely customizable to your personal style and preferences.

Embracing the Imperfections

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “But won’t all those little imperfections and knots in the wood just look… messy?” And to that, I say, “Embrace the imperfections, my friends!” You see, part of the charm of this whitewashed look is the way it celebrates the natural character of the wood.

Those little knots and grooves, the occasional warp or twist, the subtle variations in color and tone – these are the things that make each piece of reclaimed barn wood truly unique. And when you whitewash over them, you’re not trying to hide or cover them up; you’re actually accentuating them, letting them shine in all their imperfect glory.

Think about it this way – when you look at a beautifully weathered barn, with its peeling paint and worn, weathered boards, do you see something that’s messy and unkempt? No way! You see character, history, and a tangible connection to the past. And that’s exactly the vibe you want to create in your own home.

So, don’t be afraid to embrace those little “flaws” in your whitewashed wood furnishings. In fact, I’d encourage you to celebrate them! Run your fingers over the gnarled knots, admire the way the grain twists and turns, and revel in the fact that each piece is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece, straight from the hands of Mother Nature herself.

Mastering the Whitewash Technique

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Okay, this all sounds great, but how do I actually do it?” Well, my friends, I’m here to share my hard-earned secrets and help you master the art of whitewashing like a pro.

First and foremost, it’s all about the preparation. You’ll want to start by thoroughly cleaning and sanding your reclaimed wood. This helps to remove any dirt, debris, or loose bits of paint or finish, ensuring that the whitewash adheres properly. Be gentle, though – you don’t want to completely strip away that beautiful, weathered patina.

Next up, it’s time to mix your whitewash solution. As I mentioned earlier, you can keep it super simple with a 50/50 water and paint mixture, or you can get a little fancier with a pre-made whitewash medium. The key is to play around with the ratio, adjusting the opacity until you achieve the perfect translucent, glowing effect.

When it comes to application, I find that a high-quality, natural-bristle brush or a soft, lint-free rag works best. Dip your brush or rag into the whitewash solution, and then gently dab and brush the mixture onto the wood, working in the direction of the grain. Be sure to let the first coat dry completely before adding any additional layers.

And here’s a little pro tip for you: don’t be afraid to sand lightly between coats. This helps to create a super smooth, even finish and allows the natural character of the wood to really shine through. Just be sure to wipe away any dust before applying the next layer of whitewash.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “But what if I mess it up?” Well, fear not, my friends. One of the best things about this whitewashing technique is that it’s incredibly forgiving. If you accidentally add too much whitewash or don’t like the way it’s turning out, you can simply sand it down and start again. It’s all about finding that perfect balance and embracing the process.

Bringing it All Together

So, there you have it, my friends – the secrets to transforming your wood furnishings with a stunning, whitewashed look. From reclaimed barn wood to repurposed pallets, the possibilities are truly endless when it comes to incorporating this rustic-meets-refined aesthetic into your home.

But you know, it’s not just about the technique itself; it’s about the stories and the history that these pieces of wood carry with them. When you whitewash a piece of reclaimed barn wood, you’re not just creating a beautiful, one-of-a-kind piece of furniture or decor – you’re honoring the legacy of the structure it once was, and the countless hands that have touched it over the years.

And let’s not forget the environmental benefits, too. By repurposing and reviving these old, discarded materials, you’re not only saving them from the landfill, but you’re also reducing your carbon footprint and contributing to a more sustainable future. It’s a win-win all around, if you ask me.

So, what are you waiting for, my friends? Grab your paintbrushes, your rags, and your sandpaper, and get ready to transform your home with the irresistible charm of whitewashed wood. Who knows, you might just discover a new-found love for the beauty of imperfection, and the power of embracing the past to create something truly special in the present.

And if you’re in the market for some high-quality power tools to help you with your barn wood projects, be sure to check out Bucks County Timber Craft. Their selection of top-of-the-line tools will have you tackling those DIY projects with ease, from start to finish.


Have questions or ideas? We’re here to help you realize your vision. Get in touch with our team for any inquiries or to schedule a consultation.

About Heritage Barn Conversions

We are master craftsmen and preservationists passionate about breathing new life into historic barns and buildings. For over two decades, we’ve been dedicated to marrying the charm of yesteryear with today’s comfort, creating custom living and commercial spaces that stand the test of time.


Bucks County TimberCraft
PO Box 378
Bedminster, Pa 18910