As a decorative painter, I paint a lot of furniture and while most of it is a beachy or Shabby Chic finish, what does one do if that “look” does not suit the style of the owner’s home yet the wood only look is too cottage-y?(The piece above was a lovely shelving unit which was done for a client who wanted a beach/shaby chic look )
The answer is quite simple…a washed finish. This colours the wood ,yet allows the grain and texture of the wood to still show through. It should really be done by a skilled applicator as it can end up looking very “stripey” but it certainly could be done by a confident DIY’er who has done some painted furniture before….
Before we start the actual painting, I like to remove all of the wax/stain/varnish which has previously been applied to the piece and the result is usually a lovely natural wood colour with plenty of character.Applying the wash to this enhances the texture and colour of the wood while also changing the colour very slightly. Most of the pieces I do here in the UAE are made of Mango wood (from India )which seems to end up a soft pinky/grey colour and with a wash of off-white, it looks really great, particularly in a contemporary home.
Even though the piece above is actually quite a traditional piece from India, it fits in very well with the contemporary home because the painted finish is neither shabby chic or cottage style. The client decided to keep the metal pieces which are often used on Indian pieces…they add character to simple pieces and I usually paint them white to lighten the metal which is most often a hard black.
After being stripped of the dark stain it started with, we sanded back the wood to reveal the natural colour and I then washed the piece with a light glaze in an off-white.
The finished piece was sealed with a good coat of natural wax.