How to do a white wash treatment on natural wood

Decor, DIY, Furniture, Storage

I recently took on the challenge of transforming a dark and neglected basement into a creative space for me to use for a few months. I was on a very tight budget for this project but luckily there were a few things left in the basement that I could use or repurpose, like this old shelving unit built out of 2″x4″. It will be very useful to store things but I had to figure out a way to spruce it up without spending a lot of money.


I had always wanted to try white washing a piece of furniture so this was the perfect occasion to give it a try without too much stress about the outcome – this will be a creative space to experiment after all!  So after doing a bit of research online, I settled on making a white wash mix of 1 part paint, 2 parts water. It’s important to mix the 2 together very well to have a uniform distribution of the paint.


I prepped the shelving unit by filling in holes with wood filler and sanding down the rougher parts.


Then I applied the white wash mix onto the shelving unit with a brush first, and then wiped off the excess with damp rag. Please don’t go “sans-gloves” like I did or your hands will be covered with paint like mine were!



After doing the first coat and letting that dry, I opted to apply another coat for a whiter look.


The shelves had a lot of stains so I painted them instead of doing the white washing.


I really liked how it turned out. I didn’t do this but it would be a good idea to seal it with wax or some other sealer.


Here’s the shelving unit with that side of the basement finished. I made some barn doors, including the hardware, to partially cover up the front and the things I’m storing that aren’t the nicest to look at.


You can see all the projects I did in the basement in this video, including how I built the wall panel, temporarily covered up the old carpet.


  1. Love the panel, a genuine budget makeover – very pleased to see more of your inventive work, including the small barn doors

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