I am such a fan of the latest trend in wicker: the grey wash.

{Restoration Hardware}

Wicker of course has been around forever, and there’s no shortage of the white stuff in your local Goodwill. Case in point: this white headboard I’ve had forever.

I got it for $10 at Goodwill for the old guestroom, and the white didn’t bother me too much. I thought about painting it a few times, but it never became a high priority.

That was until my brother moved out, and his room became the new guest room- with a totally different look. I decided to keep the Union Jack dresser and night stand I painted where they were and go with a new theme. The room is slowly coming together…slowly. I had to take a break from it for awhile because I realized the headboard was putting a kink in the look and didn’t know what to do.

It was just SO white.

I mean really, awfully white.

And I was terrified to paint it. I just thought it would turn out horrible. The only color I see regularly on wicker is white. I thought about trying to strip the paint and go au natural, but I read that it’s nearly impossible to do. So finally after some googling for “painted wicker,” I came across some nice grey versions that I thought I could replicate.

I should have known Restoration would be on this train.

In any case, I’m going to show you how to turn white wicker into beautiful grey washed wicker- straight from RH or Pottery Barn!

First, you’ll need an ugly painted white piece of wicker. Then some craft paint.

I used black and burnt umber craft paint and some SW Dovetail (I use this color a lot, so I have it on hand but any grey you like will do). First I mixed up the craft paint with some water to create the brown I wanted. It should be runny enough to spread easily into the cracks of the wicker, but saturated enough so that you actually get pretty dark pigment on the wicker in 2 coats.

Using a 1 inch paint brush, I painted over the white wicker trying to get into the nooks and crannies.

You may want to do 2 coats before starting in with the grey. A sweeping dry brush technique works great here.

At this point it’s basically just going back and forth with the brown and the grey until you like the look.

I even mixed some brown and grey together at one point and brushed that on. You can see the difference in the layers below…the top has been mostly finished and the bottom half was just started with the brown.

Once you’re satisfied with how it looks, hit it with some spray poly to seal the deal.

Ahhhh…much better. I’ll share more pictures as the room comes together 🙂

21 Responses

  1. Sandy Walters

    Wow, what a difference, it looks great and what an improvement, really gives dimension!

  2. Sandy

    GREAT look!!! It really changes the entire look of your room. Thanks for the cool ideas!!! 😉

  3. Debi

    I love it! Now it ‘says’ something in the room!
    Thanks for sharing this and other great ideas!!


      • Cathy

        Hi Debbi thanks for sharing this. Can I assume that the SW is just a brand name. If not what type of paint is it… Thx

      • Rachael Evans

        Hi Cathy – It’s Sherwin Williams

  4. Jeni

    Did this on an old planter- looks great in the living room. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

  5. Julie

    Have you (or anyone else that has commented) tried this with more brown and less gray? I’m worried about it being too “gray” in my earth-toned Arts and Crafts living room, as the colors in there are very warm.

    • rachaelevans

      Julie- I’m sure you could do a brown finish! You can test out colors on the back or bottom of whatever you’re painting (that’s what I did!)

  6. Susan McDonald

    I have a question about this. I found a used white wicker set for my daughter’s room — a bookshelf and a chest of drawers. I would like to apply this method to them because the paint on them is a little nappy. It is a very glossy white paint, which I suppose is typical of painted wicker, but I was just wanting to see if what you painted over was glossy as well. I want to be sure the “wash” will adhere to the paint. Thanks!

    • Rachael Evans

      Hi Susan, the paint on mine was definitely glossy (albeit peeling). That must be the standard for white wicker!!

  7. Val

    Hi- I just did this process this weekend and it came out GREAT!! Headboard looks gorgeous now!! thanks for inspiring me to try it instead of throwing away a perfectly good bedroom set. It’s now my favorite in the house! Thanks again!!

  8. Bonnie

    I have a whole bedroom set of that Yucky Old White…I tried sanding one end table to give it a distressed look but that didn’t work so I’m going to try this. Love It…Thanks You for sharing!

  9. Steve

    Love the look trying to bring an entire bedroom set of Henry Link white wicker to a driftwood gray. Curious how may coats did you need to achieve the desired result?
    I have also heard that the acrylic paint do hold up well on wicker.. any comments on this?

    I have been playing with the night stand drawer using just stain after I used liquid de-glosser but it seems to be taking too many coats to get dark, IE the brown.
    I’m going to give gell stain a try as well to see if that gets to a darker tone in less coats.

  10. Lesa

    I love the effect and results of the color washing….I used the same exact acrylic paints you used……but when I spray on the clear coat the base paint (which is gray) bubbles. I’ve tried two different brands of clear cover. Any suggestions?

  11. karen miller

    hi there can you tell me how i can turn my black wicker furniture into a grayish look?should i paint over with white? thanku!


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