Whitewashed or pickled wood finishes, popular in the eighties and early nineties, can look rather dated in today's interiors, despite their resurgence as "shabby chic." But whitewashing can also be a useful way to lighten up a room, and we think there are ways to modernize the look without crossing over into the shabby chic realm...
The photos above inspired some ideas for how to use a whitewashed finish to great effect in a stylish home:
• Use bright pops of color for contrast. Sleek textures like acrylic and powder-coated enamel will add an edgy feel.
• Whitewashed wood pieces sometimes look best in a room with minimal decoration overall (see the third and fourth photos). Keep your furnishings spare and you'll avoid that eighties look.
• If dark wood paneling or beams are too weighty, consider whitewash for a floor, ceiling, or wall. Light wood paneling tends to have a honey-colored finish, but whitewash is a good alternative if you want cooler tones.
• Consider using fixtures and accessories with an industrial feel to contrast with the countrified look of the whitewash. This idea is put to work nicely in the second photo, a kitchen from Marie Claire Maison, and in the bathroom in the seventh photo, designed by Ingrid Jansen.
• If you like the look but aren't ready for a big commitment, try subtle whitewash accents, like frames for artwork and mirrors.
How do you feel about whitewashed wood? Have you tried it in your home?