Can You Whitewash with any Color?

This article discusses if you can whitewash with any color. Whitewashing your furniture creates a vintage and rustic look that is pleasing to the eye. The white color adds a fresh and clean look into the furniture. It showcases the wood and also enhances its texture. However, you might prefer adding color to the whitewash for a brighter look. Can you add color to whitewash? We will find out the answer below.

Can you whitewash with any color? You can whitewash using different colors. The traditional color used to whitewash is white but you can use other colors as well. Choosing bright and bold colors for the whitewash creates a vibrant effect while pastel colors provide more opacity. When you choose dark colors, make sure that you dilute it well so that you can achieve a vintage and weathered effect. You can choose a color that will match the theme of the room.

Whitewashing is a popular alternative to painting. It is a good look if you want to have a weathered and vintage look into your furniture. Aside from wood, you can also whitewash bricks, and walls. If you want your furniture to leave a lasting impression, you can whitewash them using various colors. Below are tips and ideas on how to add colors to whitewash.

Can You Add Color to Whitewash?

You can add colors to whitewash. While whitewash is traditionally colored white, you can use the same technique to add colors into the whitewash. Popular colors to add include gray, blue, green, and cream. You can also choose a color which you think fits with the motif or theme that you currently have.

How Do You Add Color to Whitewash?

To add color to whitewash, you can choose an ordinary colored paint. Dilute the paint with water to achieve a weathered look. Add one part of water to two parts of paint and continue adding water until you have achieved the effect that you want on your furniture. If you have a whitewash solution, you can also add colored paint into it and continue to add water until the paints are thoroughly mixed and diluted. You can also check out this article titled, whitewash vs. white paint, is whitewash white paint? We have discussed the difference between whitewash and white paint.

How to Whitewash Wood with Color

To whitewash wood with color, you can choose from the traditional method and the paint method. The traditional method uses lime while the paint method uses latex paint. Both are easy to do and can upgrade the look of your furniture. Let us learn more about the two methods below.

Traditional Method

The traditional method includes the use of lime as the main ingredient of the whitewash. There are a few tools and ingredients that you need to properly do the job. The good thing about using the traditional method is that it is eco-friendly, non-toxic, and has antibacterial properties.

Step 1 – Sanding

The first step that you need to do is to sand the wood that you will whitewash. Whitewash best works on bare wood so it is advisable that you sand the surface of the wood so that you lightly expose the wood fibers. Sanding also removes dirt, dust, and stains from the wood. Wipe the surface clean with a rug after sanding.

Step 2 – Create the Whitewash

To make the whitewash, pour water into the bucket and add salt into it. Stir the water until the salt is thoroughly dissolved. Next, add lime and mix once again. You can now add powdered color pigments of your choice. These are available at your local hardware or garden stores. You can also purchase online for a wide array of color choices. Continue to mix until the colors have dissolved. Make sure that the mixture has a consistency that is thinner than paint.

Step 3 – Apply the Whitewash

Use a brush or roller to apply the whitewash on the furniture. Avoid putting too much on the first application because you will add more layers into it. Make sure that the first coat is dried before you add another layer of whitewash. Take note that the more coats you apply, the thicker the color will be.

Using Paint

Another method to create whitewash is by using water-based or latex paint. Use the paint and water to create a semi-transparent effect that will bring out the color of the wood grain. You can also choose a colored paint if you want the furniture to have a brighter color.

Step 1 – Prepare the Wood

The paint method is best for smooth surfaces and bare wood. Make sure that you get rid of any varnish or paint from the wood by sanding it. Wipe the wood clean using a rag or sponge.

Step 2 – Mix the Paint

Choose the color of paint that you want. Use a water-based or latex paint. Using a 1:1 ratio, pour water and paint into a bucket and mix thoroughly. Continue to add water until the mixture has a consistency like milk.

Step 3 – Apply the Paint

Apply the whitewash into a small section of the wood and see if it has the consistency that you want. The paint should be transparent so that the wood shows through. Use a brush or roller to apply the paint into the wood. You can continue to add more layers of coating to achieve the texture that you want for the furniture. Allow it to dry. Once it is dried, you can sand the paint to achieve a more weathered look. Then, apply a water-based sealant to protect the paint and to maintain its appearance for a long time. You can also check out this article that we have written that discusses if you have to seal whitewash. We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.

How to Color Wash Furniture

To color wash your furniture, there are a few steps that you need to follow which includes doing the base layer, mixing paint and water to create the solution, applying the paint, and adding the top coat. Using a color wash adds more personality and color into your furniture. You can still achieve a weathered look even if you use other colors and not just white. Below are the steps to follow on how to color wash furniture.

Start with the Base Layer

To start with, work on the base layer to provide the wood with a stunning aged effect. This step is optional and can be skipped. On the other hand, you can do this step if you want another color to show through. Choose a base coat in the color that you want. It is ideal to use a porous paint so that it bleeds into the color wash. However, use a non-porous paint if you do not want the bottom coat to blend into the color wash.

Create the Color Wash

To create the color wash, pour half water and half paint into a container. Use any type of paint that you want. Take note that you will not need as much color wash as compared to the base paint. Continue mixing the wash until you have achieved the right consistency.

Apply the Color Wash

The next step is to apply the color wash into the furniture with the use of a brush. Wipe the paint off with a lint-free cloth or rag. Make sure that you work in small sections so that you can easily wipe the paint before it dries. Experiment with the look that you want for your furniture.

Finish with a Top Coat

The last step is to apply a top coat finish into the furniture to protect it and to make sure that it maintains a fresh and new look for a long time.

✅ Video – Color Washing Tutorial for Furniture Painting

Roots & Wings Furniture & Home shared the video below on YouTube. It discusses how to color wash furniture. In the video, the simple color washing technique to achieve a layered look is discussed. This technique provides a dimensional finish. Check out the video for the tutorial.

What Kind of Paint to Use for Whitewashing?

Use a water-based or a latex paint to create a white wash. Choose the right paint according to the surface material that you will whitewash. Take note that the best kind of paint that works with bricks may not work well with wood. Hence, you need to do some research so that you can determine the right kind of paint that you will use. We have also written this article that talk about the purpose of whitewash. You can check out the article for more information about the advantages and benefits that you can get from using whitewash.

What’s the Difference between Limewashing and Whitewashing?

The difference between limewashing and whitewashing is that limewash is made using a limestone based product that is specifically made for bricks. On the other hand, whitewash is made by diluting paint with water. Both limewash and whitewash creates the same look on bricks. However, whitewash is usually used in wood.

What Colors Go Well with Whitewash?

There are many colors that you can choose from to add on your whitewash mixture. Choose pastel colors like apricot and peach if you want to achieve lightly colored furniture. On the other hand, you can use rose and other bright colors like yellow if you want the furniture to stand out.


In this article, we have discussed if you can whitewash with any color. We have learned that you can add colors to whitewash using the traditional and paint methods. Moreover, we have shared tips and ideas on how to whitewash furniture using different colors. Choose a color that you want according to your preferences and the look that you would like to achieve. Thank you for reading!

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