How to Gray Wash Furniture

Color washing is a combined paint-and-glaze technique that gives furniture a weathered, layered appearance -- it makes even the newest wood fixture look like a vintage find from a consignment shop.
Your base coat shows through the gray, simulating age.Your base coat shows through the gray, simulating age.
Once you master this coloring technique, you can apply it to any piece of furniture that you want to give age and personality. It is best to use monochromatic colors when color washing -- for example, if you want to give your furniture a gray wash, use a complementary shade of dull blue along with it.

Step 1

Paint a base coat on your furniture with acrylic emulsion paint. For a gray wash, try using a dull blue color, which complements the wash. Allow it to dry completely.

Step 2

Mix your glaze and gray emulsion paint according to the instructions on the container. This varies depending on the glaze you are using.

Step 3

Paint the furniture in broad strokes with a large, soft brush. As you go, gently wipe down the furniture with a cheesecloth to distress the wet gray mixture, exposing the blue underneath. You can also experiment with dipping a rag in your gray mixture, wringing it out and pressing it against the furniture to create staggered and uneven splotches of color.

Step 4

Allow your furniture to dry completely before using it.

Things You Will Need

  • Can of gray emulsion paint
  • Can of complementary emulsion paint (i.e., blue)
  • Can of color glaze
  • Large, soft paint brush
  • Cheesecloth
  • Rag

About the Author

Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.