How to Get the French Gray Whitewash Provincial Look on Furniture

The classic French provincial gray whitewash look will transform an ordinary piece of furniture into a shabby chic treasure. The easiest way to achieve this look is to use a light gray glaze over white paint. To make the most of this style of finish, try it on furniture with ornate carving and embellishment, reminiscent of Louis XIV style.

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Give your funriture a shabby chic makeover.

Step 1

Remove any hardware, like handles or hinges from the piece of furniture. If the furniture has drawers, as in the case of a dresser or side table, remove the drawers as well as any doors.

Step 2

Sand the piece with medium-grit sandpaper to roughen up the surface. Wipe it over with a tack cloth to remove the sanding dust.

Step 3

Paint the piece with light gray oil-based paint. Leave it to dry for the amount of time recommended by the paint manufacturer.

Step 4

Paint the piece with white paint to completely obscure the gray. This may take two coats. Leave it to dry.

Step 5

Mix three parts glazing liquid to one part gray paint in a plastic container. Dip the corner of a lint-free cloth in the mixture and rub it onto the piece of furniture in patches. Have a clean cloth handy to wipe off excess glazing mixture. Apply the glaze sparingly at first, and mostly around any decorative work on the furniture. The aim is to apply a slight gray wash to age the piece in places and make it look antique.

Step 6

Let the glaze dry when you are happy with the results. Sand back very lightly in areas on the furniture where there would normally be wear and tear, such as corners, around handles and on table surfaces. Sand back just to the layer of gray paint you painted first, which will add another dimension of antiquing to the furniture.

Step 7

Wipe over with a tack cloth to remove the sanding dust. Reinstall all hardware, drawers and doors.