Whitewashing furniture and decor can breathe new life without the need for perfection. When This Old House painting expert Mauro Henrique received an antique outdoor bench from a customer, he knew the best way to dress it up was with whitewash, and host Kevin O’Connor came along for the ride.
How to Whitewash an Outdoor Bench
- Start by giving the entire bench a good sanding. The idea is to open up the pores of the wood and smooth any rough surfaces, not sand all the way down to bare wood. Use 100-grit sandpaper to knock down any rough spots, and then clean up the surface with a wet/dry vacuum.
- Mix the stain. White stain will be the base color, but tint it with some gray. Next, add enough water to make the mixture 50 percent stain and 50 percent water. Stir to blend the stain. It should be very thin and runny.
- Apply the whitewash to the surface of the bench. The application process does not have to be perfect. Cover the entire surface with brush strokes and use paper towels to wipe away any areas that seem too heavy.
- Allow the bench to dry before placing it outside in the sun. The whitewashed surface will patina further in the sun, giving it a truly rustic finish.
For the whitewash, Mauro mixes two parts of solid exterior flat white stain and one part solid exterior flat light gray stain into a container of water. The water-to-stain ratio should start at 1 to 1, and adding more water if necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
All supplies for this project can be found at home centers.