Whitewashed (or Limewashed) Wood

There is something to be said when an effect is achieved simply and creates stunning impact. One of the appealing methods for me is creating whitewashed (or limewashed) wood. Today is Themed Furniture Makeover Day and it’s all about Shades of White. I’d say whitewashed (or limewashed) wood is a perfect fit, wouldn’t you? Be sure to see what all of the other ladies have created for you later in the post.

Themed Furniture Makeover | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Over the years, I have whitewashed many pieces of furniture and it is still one of my favorite ways to age a piece and create dimension. The subject for my project today is my very own farmhouse dining table. We were gifted our table from my husband’s employer Osborne Wood Products, when we both graduated college. To say I was excited was an understatement. I got to choose the wood, the legs, and the finish…eep! Rough part is that 15 years later , our table has made it through 6 children, but is in need of a makeover. (did I just say 15 YEARS ago I graduated college? wow.) I was so eager to get started that I forgot to take a true “before” picture, but here it is…

Farmhouse Table Before Whitewashed | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

The skirt and legs removed and ready for a facelift. It has been loved on, wouldn’t you say?

Farmhouse Table Top Being Whitewashed | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

* this post is sponsored by HomeRight and contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too! (see full disclosure)

Before I go on, you may be wondering what whitewash or limewash is, and a good write-up can be found at Remodelista. It’s a fun read with all sorts of interesting information.

To get started, I sanded the skirt and attempted to strip the legs myself using Citri-Strip (awesome chemical-free stuff).

Stripping Farmhouse Table Legs | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

While I got them mostly stripped, I was running out of good weather time and I had custom orders piling up from my shop. It’s funny, I never get to work on my own stuff. So, I decided to take them to a local artisan and pay $50 to get them stripped for me. Whew! What a lifesaver.

At this point I had to take a hiatus to work on those custom orders for a few weeks and wanted to have my table back before Christmas. Well, until I could get the table finished, we lived on a concave resin folding table for months, all 8 of us eating and homeschooling with everything sliding to the center. I can tell you that I can totally appreciate my own table even more.

We had unseasonably warm weather for our area, and though I would have worked on the table, we all got a nasty virus right before Christmas. Sigh…life happens, right?

It was until just after Christmas that work could commence. My husband used a belt sander to remove the finish and take off any damage.

Sanding Farmhouse Table Top | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I got the legs back and everything was ready to go to get started on the whitewashed look I’m after.

Stripped and Sanded Farmhouse Table Legs | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

As much as I would have liked to leave the wood in the raw, I couldn’t do that and preserve it at the same time. I could have just used a topcoat to seal, but since my table is red oak, it would have brought out the tannins and made it an orange shade, which is not what I was after.

Farmhouse Table Sanded and Stripped for Whitewash | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Isn’t it gorgeous in the raw?

Side View of Farmhouse Table for Whitewash | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Now, for my table I wanted to keep the grain showing, but I wanted to create a cooler effect than just staining. My go-to method for making a wash is taking basic flat white paint (or any color for that matter) and thinning it with water – much like lime wash paint. To a cup of paint, I add a tablespoon of water (more or less depending on quality of paint).

Making sure to have a lightly dampened cotton cloth ready, I simply brush the whitewash on in small batches. Immediately after and following the grain of the wood, I wipe off as much of the wash as I want, leaving behind the grain filled with white. If you don’t like how much is left, you can always dampen your rag more and wipe off to begin again.

Whitewashing Farmhouse Table | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Wiping off Whitewash on Farmhouse Table | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

The end effect is gorgeous.

Whitewashed Wood | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Once my table was entirely whitewashed, I used a 150 grit sandpaper to add slight distressing to the edges and legs, creating a time-worn feel.

Distressing Whitewashed Finish | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

The table looks pretty bleached at this point, but that’s okay. The topcoat I will be adding will warm it up and make the wood grain pop out.

Whitewashed Farmhouse Table Before Waterlox Topcoat | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

My first choice for a topcoat is my absolute favorite protection is Waterlox.Waterlox Topcoat for Whitewashed Farmhouse Table | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comAfter my father used Waterlox in my childhood home, our wood floors didn’t need refinished for 25 years. He asked school officials what they used in their gymnasiums and copied it. We eagerly decided it was for us in our bathroom remodel, and haven’t regretted a single moment. Our vanity beads water like none-other, so it was an obvious choice for me.

It is a dream to apply and a gallon will last forever. We will be using it on our new countertops in our kitchen remodel as well. (psst…I’m sharing updates on social media, so be sure to follow along!)

Applying Waterlox Topcoat to Whitewashed Farmhouse Table | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

See how the Waterlox is bringing out the grain and warming up the color? I get giddy at this point. tee hee hee. It does slightly amber whatever you use it on, but that what I was after.

Now that the table was done, I had to get my dining chairs up to par. In my previous post, I told how I changed up our seating and had planned to update them. No better time for me to whip out my Homeright Spray Shelter.

HomeRight Spray Shelter | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

This thing is so cool! It can be used indoors or out so you can reduce or eliminate overspray and protect your project. My dining chairs were the first candidate for the makeover. Can we say 1980’s? bluck.

Vintage Dining Chairs in HomeRight Spray Shelter | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

The shelter is easy to set up and just needs a tarp to protect your floor or grass. All I needed next was my favorite painting tool, the HomeRight Finish Max sprayer. I’ve raved about it when I redid another farmhouse table, our patio makeover, my highchair (with video demo), and my red VW bus chest of drawers. So very easy to use – it will make you giggle at the results.

HomeRight Finish Max for Painting Dining Chairs | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Yes, I know I look a sight, but don’t you when you’re painting? tsk. *side note: I did use this shelter in my living room, and didn’t mind if it made a little mess because we’re going to remodel it, but I wouldn’t use this in a finished room unless everything is covered. There will be a very slight dust created, so be sure to wear a mask, like you would during any spray painting. I can’t be spraying outside when it’s a high of 10!

I had these chair painted in 10 minutes, and can’t tell you the time it saved me and my wrists not having to paint those spindles. Yay! Don’t forget to use your Rapid Clean Kit (less than $10) for a 5 minute clean-up.

Spray Painting with HomeRight Finish Max | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Voila! Done. {{cue music: “That’s the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it!}}

Vintage Chairs Painted White | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Now, of course I couldn’t just leave them perfect. Nope. I used my handmade furniture wax to topcoat. Now they’re perfect.

White Farmhouse Kitchen Chair | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Ready to see it all together?

Whitewashed (or Limewashed) Farmhouse Table by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I couldn’t be happier with the results, and even better is no more folding table with concave center! Our table is the heart of our home for homeschool, dining together, and place to gather.

Corner View Whitewashed (Limewashed) Farmhouse Table by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Farmhouse Table with Whitewash by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Look at it gleam and that wood grain show through. Be still my heart.

Limewashed (whitewashed) Farmhouse Table Top by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Whitewashed Farmhouse Table Leg by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Corner of Whitewashed Farmhouse Table by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I told you that water beads up on this Waterlox…like a duck’s back. It’s perfect for this mama of 6.

Water beading on Waterlox Farmhouse Table by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I’m in love with this finish and can happily say I would do it again in heartbeat. It’s rustic, clean, and oh so pretty.

Cotton Stems on Whitewashed Farmhouse Table by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I have a video tutorial for those cotton stems over here. You can make them for pennies…seriously!!

Farmhouse Table Display by Prodigal PIeces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Have questions about getting the whitewashed look? Please feel free to ask – I’d love to help.

You can help me by pinning and sharing so others can learn how to do this too. ♥

How to Whitewash (or Limewash) Wood by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodiglpieces.com

We have started our kitchen remodel. Come see what we are up to HERE!

To get these DIY tips & tricks in your inbox, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. PLUS, you will get your FREE Furniture Buying Checklist and special discount to my shop.

Shop Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

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Check out these other Shades of White Makeovers by my blogger gal-friends:

My other furniture makeovers like my whitewashed table:

How to Update an Outdated Dresser | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comKnock-Off Pottery Barn Bench | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

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  • [email protected]

    Your table and chairs look beautiful, Larissa. I know that you are so happy to have this piece back in your dining area to use. I”m going to check out Waterlox. That sounds like a product that I could really use.

    January 21, 2016 at 6:13 am Reply
  • [email protected]

    Love your table and chairs!! Love the mix of different finishes on the set. And, i gotta get one of those sprayers and the tent!! I need the tent….yesterday! LOL…Kudos!!!

    January 21, 2016 at 6:58 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Yes, you would love one of these, Susie! Make life easier…and fun. Thanks for stopping by!

      January 23, 2016 at 5:24 am Reply
  • Jeanie @ create&babble

    I love the new look of your table and chairs. Whitewash has always been a favorite finish of mine and you did a lovely job as usual!

    January 21, 2016 at 7:12 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you for stopping over, Jeanie! I couldn’t be happier with the finish. 🙂

      January 23, 2016 at 5:23 am Reply
  • Jamie

    Absolutely Beautiful! Your posts are always full of great information. Thanks for being such an inspiration! Can hardly wait for the next one!

    January 21, 2016 at 7:16 am Reply
    • Larissa

      What a sweet thing to hear. Thank you so much, Jamie!

      January 23, 2016 at 5:22 am Reply
  • Lindsay Eidahl

    I love this table! My favorite thing about it is the story about when you got it. That is so great! Now, it is ready for another 15 years!

    January 21, 2016 at 7:32 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I love to have things in my home with a story that can be told over and over again. This table is certainly one of them. Thank you, Lindsay!

      January 23, 2016 at 5:22 am Reply
  • Shannon

    How many coats of the Waterlox did you use?

    January 21, 2016 at 7:58 am Reply
    • Larissa

      The can recommends 3 coats for soft woods (like pine) and 2 coats for hardwood. I went with 3 coats to bullet-proof my table. 🙂

      January 23, 2016 at 5:21 am Reply
  • Ellen Braunberger

    Wonderful! Excellent description of redo, know that family around that table makes it perfect!

    January 21, 2016 at 8:10 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Ellen!

      January 23, 2016 at 5:20 am Reply
  • Karin Chudy (ART IS BEAUTY)

    What a labor of love, but it turned out great!
    Never heard of waterlox but its on my radar now!

    January 21, 2016 at 8:13 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks, Karin! Yes, you will be amazed at Waterlox. Like a bullet-proof vest. 😉

      January 23, 2016 at 5:20 am Reply
  • Wendi @ H2OBungalow

    That table is perfect for your family and the finish is just gorgeous! I can’t believe how beautiful that wood was stripped down. You have such a good eye for the potential beauty of something. Thanks so much for sharing your secret weapon of a top coat too!

    January 21, 2016 at 8:31 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I love wood in the raw and just hate to cover it with anything! If my table would have been made of white oak I would have just topcoated it, but the red is gorgeous and a little overpowering for my taste. So whitewash it is!

      January 23, 2016 at 5:19 am Reply
  • Amy @ Highstyle Restyle

    That’s such a beautiful finish and looks perfect in your home. Isn’t it fun rescuing all the outdated oak?!

    January 21, 2016 at 8:39 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Yes! All that orange madness that was going on with oak…crazy!!

      January 23, 2016 at 5:18 am Reply
  • Mary-the boondocks blog

    Pretty would be an understatement!! This is so much more than pretty! It’s white but better because the grain shows through elevating it to another level altogether. I’ve pinned this one!! Oh and I was just checking out your husband’s company. What a great place to work. I suspect he must bring a lot of things home…Hahaha I know I would!

    January 21, 2016 at 9:11 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Awesome to hear, Mary! Thank you. Yes, that’s why I love this finish too, it let’s the beauty of the wood come through. He worked at Bookmasters while we were in college and learned so much. If only he could get their goodies now…what a score!

      January 23, 2016 at 5:17 am Reply
  • Marie, The Interior Frugalista

    Very nice makeover Larissa – I love a pretty whitewash finish. The table and painted chairs look fabulous in your dining room. I’ve just added Waterlox to my shopping list (hopefully, we can get it here in Canada). Glad your blog is finally up again too.

    January 21, 2016 at 2:15 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Funny thing is, Marie, that Ohio produces Waterlox, but it is against EPA standard to sell it in Ohio. Makes perfect sense, right? Thanks for stopping by!

      January 23, 2016 at 5:15 am Reply
  • Christy @Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer

    Wow your table turned out perfectly! Oh how I love a white washed look! My hubby bought me a paint sprayer for Christmas, now I need one of those tents! 😀

    January 21, 2016 at 2:26 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Ooh…congrats on getting the sprayer! You will love both of those accessories to your tool repertoire.

      January 23, 2016 at 5:15 am Reply
  • Breanna

    What a labor of love, but it turned out so beautiful. The white wash is perfect!!

    January 21, 2016 at 3:48 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I think that labor is what makes us appreciate it all the more. I’m sure you understand that. 🙂

      January 23, 2016 at 5:13 am Reply
  • Sherry Fram

    The table & chairs look awesome! Love the white washed look!

    January 21, 2016 at 6:47 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Yay! So happy you like it, Sherry!

      January 23, 2016 at 5:12 am Reply
  • Shanna Gilbert

    So pretty Larissa! I’ve got one of those spray shelters but haven’t used it yet! You’ve inspired me to try it once it warms up a bit! Gorgeous job as always!

    January 21, 2016 at 7:05 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I finally got to using my shelter, and thought to myself, “Why did I wait so long to use this?!”. You will love it, Shanna. Thanks for stopping by!

      January 23, 2016 at 5:12 am Reply
  • Amy | Canary Street Crafts

    Beautiful makeover! I really like that you painted 2 chairs white and left the others wood. They all go perfectly with the whitewashed table. Definitely checking out Waterlox too.

    January 21, 2016 at 8:53 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Amy! I love our mismatched set and feel it’s complete. You will love Waterlox and all that it has to offer.

      January 23, 2016 at 5:11 am Reply
  • Lucy @ Patina Paradise

    Your table looks great with the lime wash and I love the mix of painted and wood chairs! ;o)

    January 22, 2016 at 12:44 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you so much, Lucy! I just had to change up our seating and take it outside the box. 😉

      January 23, 2016 at 5:10 am Reply
  • Helen Holley

    Great job! I always get excited when I find
    an oak piece so that I get to whitewash!
    Love it!
    I always enjoy your blog,

    January 22, 2016 at 1:33 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks! Sounds like you have fun like me. Thank you for the love! 🙂

      January 23, 2016 at 5:10 am Reply
  • Jeanette

    You blow me away each and every month on these furniture makeovers. My personal favorite finish for wood is lime washing. I’m proud to be in this group with you and your talents.

    January 22, 2016 at 10:08 am Reply
    • Larissa

      You are so very sweet, Jeanette. Thank you!

      January 23, 2016 at 5:09 am Reply
  • Nancy @ Artsy Chicks Rule

    I love a whitewash finish!! That turned out so beautiful. 🙂 And oh my gosh, I need that spray shelter!

    January 22, 2016 at 1:40 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      You will love it, Nancy! Thank you so much for stopping by. 🙂

      January 23, 2016 at 5:09 am Reply
  • Marti

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the look you’ve created with the table and chairs re-do!! Actually I love everything you’ve done and ALL you’ve done for your home, ALL with 6 children to teach and love and be a wife AND re-furnish furniture as a business!!! WAIT!!!! You’re about to reveal you really are WONDER-WOMAN!!! SERIOUSLY, I’m so glad I found your blog…and I read your post about your preemie after losing a baby…you so touched my heart with your honesty and Christian take on living life. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for teaching us how to make beautiful things, too. Thanks for being “real”!

    February 20, 2016 at 11:52 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      That’s awesome to hear! Thank you, Marti. Wonder-woman, no. Crazy woman, YES! 😀 Thank you for showing me love.

      February 23, 2016 at 10:13 am Reply
  • Marti

    Larissa, I got a message that I’d already said this — um…no…I haven’t. I hope this will post now that I’ve added this comment. LOVE LOVE LOVE the look you’ve created with the table and chairs re-do!! Actually I love everything you’ve done and ALL you’ve done for your home, ALL with 6 children to teach and love and be a wife AND re-furnish furniture as a business!!! WAIT!!!! You’re about to reveal you really are WONDER-WOMAN!!! SERIOUSLY, I’m so glad I found your blog…and I read your post about your preemie after losing a baby…you so touched my heart with your honesty and Christian take on living life. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for teaching us how to make beautiful things, too. Thanks for being “real”!

    February 20, 2016 at 11:54 pm Reply
  • Jill Flory

    Larissa this is so awesome! All of it!! The table. The chairs. I’m in love! I’m lazy so I’m going to ask instead of digging through your blog – what kind of sprayer do you use? I have a sprayer and just cannot get the hang of spraying! I’m all like ‘give me back my paint brush!’ But I have chairs to paint that I dread painting with a brush!

    May 28, 2016 at 1:17 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks, Jill! I have the link to the HomeRight sprayer in the post, and it is such an affordable, easy-to-use sprayer. This seriously makes painting chairs a joy.

      May 30, 2016 at 7:07 am Reply
  • Liz

    Turned out great! I’ve never heard if Waterlox, but will for sure be looking into that. Is it mineral spirits clean up?

    August 14, 2016 at 10:56 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks, Liz! Yes, you would need mineral spirits. 🙂

      August 16, 2016 at 6:52 am Reply
  • Suzanne

    Beautiful job. Here’s a tip: for spindles/legs, fill a capped pipe that’s a bit longer than the wood with paint remover/stain/paint. Then put small screw in hooks in the top/bottom of your leg/spindle, dunk it in the pipe all the way, dangling by the hook. When ready, pull it out and hang on a line to let it drip/air dry. If you have a shop it makes things so much easier.

    February 19, 2017 at 4:14 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      That works for a dip, but not for the gel. Believe me, I tried! 😀

      February 21, 2017 at 11:46 am Reply
  • Brenda

    Gorgeous set and it’s what I’m going for in my dining room. What is the daily cleaning with Waterlox as a finish? Can I spray with all purpose cleaner and wipe away messes? Also what’s the maintenance? Is there a point u must re apply? Wonderful job! Headed home to work on mine now:)

    November 24, 2018 at 10:27 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you. Cleanup is no different than any other table. Like any daily used furniture, it will need refinished years from now, but it is holding up wonderfully.

      November 25, 2018 at 4:51 am Reply

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