Using Off-White Paint
- Buy unfinished furniture. Paints and stains soak directly into unfinished wood, so they are the best choice.
- Buy an off-white latex paint with a flat, nonglossy finish. White paint is a bit too stark, so choose a shade like oyster white or bisque white to create a more traditional effect. Glossy paint will offer too finished an appearance to the furniture in the end.
- Add water to the paint until its consistency is like a thick cream. You will probably have to experiment with just how much to dilute the paint. Naturally, the less water you use the more opaque the effect will be. Mix small batches of paint to test the effect before you decide on the solution that is best for you.
- Paint the furniture with your paint-and-water solution. Go with the direction of the wood's grain and be sure to cover all surfaces.
- Allow the paint to dry.
- Paint on two coats of your latex varnish and allow them to dry.
Using Wood Stain
- Buy a white-colored wood stain. You should be able to find such a product at your hardware or home-improvement store.
- Apply the stain with a brush, a roller or a rag, in the direction of the wood's grain.
- Allow the stain to dry.
- Apply two or three coats of your water-based varnish, and let it dry.