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I just spent the past 5 minutes of my life Googling whether ‘Graywash’ is one word or two (gray wash?), with inconclusive results. WHAT THE! I guess I just need to pick one?
Anyway, I’m sure some of you are far more taken a’back by the word ‘farmhouse’ in this post title than the fact that I used ‘graywash’ as one word.
It’s no secret that I’m not a shabby farmhouse girl. I love color and pattern! But even though I wouldn’t consider my style to be farmhouse, I still definitely have an appreciation for it and think it can be SO BEAUTIFUL in other peoples’ houses!
So when my childhood friend, Lindsey (you might remember her from this post) was chatting with me about her desire to makeover her dining table to go better with her farmhouse decor, I begged her to let me come and help her.
Also, any excuse to hang out with a friend that I’ve had since 3rd grade is a special treat. And we both have twin girls, soooooo.
How to Graywash a Dining Table
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- Piece of furniture with a wooden (not painted!) finish
- Random Orbital Sander
- 220 grit sandpaper discs
- Water-based primer (1 quart)
- Medium gray toned paint (1 quart)
- Painters Tape
- Cotton rags
- Latex gloves
- 4″ chip brushes or foam brushes
- Small paint tray or container for mixing
- Water based sealant (we use this stuff)
Here’s a before pic of the offending dining table.
It’s not altogether unattractive, and it has good bones. It just isn’t the look Lindsey’s going for. She wanted it to flow more seamlessly with her white kitchen and adjacent farmhouse style family room.
You can see that it has a deep orangey-toned top with a glossy finish. Lindsey wanted to keep the black base though, so this will be an easy job!
Lindsey had this sucker all prepped and disassembled and set on sawhorses when I arrived!
Here’s a pic of the base of the table so you can see how cute it is.
So we got to work sanding down that table top! The goal here isn’t to sand all the way through the existing finish to the raw wood. We’re just trying to cut down that glossy sheen and give it a flat ‘matte’ finish that will allow the primer/paint to stick and be super durable. You know?
Don’t forget to do the leaf too!
We used painters tape to tape off the ‘apron’ of the table so we wouldn’t get any graywash on the black painted part. And now it’s time to do a little mixology!
There’s no science to this part. Pour your primer into your container or paint tray first, then add the gray paint until it’s about the shade you’re going for. Our ratio was about half and half.
If there’s a ‘direction of wood grain’ on your table top, start brushing on the primer/paint combo in that direction. But if your table is like Lindsey’s where there’s a subtle starburst pattern of wood coming out from the center, JUST PICK A DIRECTION and stick with it. We went with the same direction of the crack of the table.
You want to brush on the paint with reckless abandon, and wipe it off with a cotton cloth before the paint dries. There are a couple important things that you want to keep in mind while you’re doing this.
- Your brush strokes should be as straight as possible. It’s really easy to accidentally have an ‘arc shape’ because that’s the natural motion of your arm as you’re wiping. So make a conscious effort to wipe perfectly straight in long sweeping motions, both when you’re brushing it on AND wiping it off.
- You have about 30 seconds before the paint will be too set to effectively wipe off. So I recommend doing one ‘stripe’ all the way across the table, and promptly wiping it with your cloth to smear it and take the majority of the primer/paint off.
- Try not to get any primer/paint on the rounded edge of the table. We will do this part last! Feel free to tape it off if it’s easier for you.
I didn’t get a single picture of us WIPING, because we were in a bit of a race against the clock to get that paint wiped off before it dried. Also, I couldn’t really touch my camera because I forgot to wear gloves.
The first layer will go on light, but resist the urge to leave it thick and do only one coat. We ended up doing 3 coats to get the look Lindsey was going for.
Go ahead and brush on some paint around that outer lip and wipe it off using the same technique. Then just let everything dry before sealing!
It goes so much better with the farmhouse vibe of her home now! And this was such an easy process, wasn’t it?!
Check out how perfectly this graywashed table flows with the adjacent family room fireplace situation!
Lindsey has such great taste, and I’m so happy that her family will be able to enjoy this table and have many good conversations over a meal!
If you have a piece of furniture in your home that could use a little graywash treatment, I hope this gives you the confidence to GO FOR IT! It really is a simple technique, and makes such a big difference on those orangey-wood-toned- pieces of furniture out there.
You’ll look twice at that dated furniture at the thrift store now, won’t you!
I’m guessing if you love the ‘worn/shabby’ look, you might also love this technique I found to make new pine boards look like old barn wood. If this doesn’t scream farmhouse, I don’t know what does. 😉
Oh! And lots of other painting techniques from our archives here!
We also have a post that helps you determine whether your furniture is Laminate or Wood Veneer (and what the difference is!)
Be sure to check out all the other furniture transformations we’ve done over the years by clicking the image below!
Thanks for pinning!