Use This Budget-Friendly Technique To Give Wooden Furniture A Beachy Vibe

As a fearless DIYer with an interior decorator's heart, you love trying out new looks. You're probably not afraid to radically alter a piece of furniture to satisfy a design idea, and you're comfortable experimenting with paint, stains, and other materials. If a light and beachy feeling is your vibe and you have a piece of furniture that's ready for a transformation, we've got the hack for you. An inexpensive technique that allows you to lighten your wood furniture involves spraying the surface with diluted household bleach, then leaving it out in the sun to dry.

This is a great hack if you want to brighten your furniture by a few degrees or lighten it enough to whitewash it for a fun antiquing effect. However, it's not just a matter of applying diluted bleach and then waiting for the magic to happen. You'll need to always test the mixture first on extra wood with the same finish as the piece you intend to treat. This will give you confidence that you approve of the end result before you refinish your piece of furniture. When you feel comfortable moving ahead, use a bottle of chemical stripper and then a scraper to remove the existing finish, or use a paint stripper to strip paint from the wood. Sand it to remove any remaining finish and to open the wood's pores, otherwise the bleach won't be able to permeate the previous stain. But don't sand to the point of reshaping your furniture!

How to complete this inexpensive wood lightening technique

Always use the utmost caution any time you complete a DIY that involves bleach. Work outside, wear long sleeves, goggles, and a mask over your face and nose, and place a plastic tarp under the furniture to protect any surfaces. A splashed drop of bleach will discolor almost anything it touches. Once you've stripped the wood and sanded it, you'll then need household bleach, hot tap water, a couple rags, a plastic spray bottle, and diluted distilled white vinegar for later (keep in mind that you should never mix bleach and vinegar). For a more controlled approach, make the proportion of water to bleach two-to-one. If you're okay with working quickly, then a one-to-one solution also works. Use your spray solution and cover the wood one section at a time. If you're working vertically, be on the lookout for drips at the bottom and redistribute any pooled bleach by dabbing your rag around.

Allow your furniture to dry in the sun. To get the desired effect, it's likely you'll need to repeat the process a few times. Once your furniture is the perfect beachy gray-blonde and it's completely dried, we recommend you create a solution of water mixed with 15% vinegar. Pour it onto a different, clean rag, then wipe down the entire piece. This mixture neutralizes the bleach, stopping its action. Then consider using Real Milk Paint Co.'s Soft Wax or another sealant to seal the finish.