Bleaching Wood For A New Look

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Bleaching wood (orangey, yellowish or dark) for a brand new look! Simpler than you think…you can do this. 

Bleaching wood (orangey or dark) for a brand new look! Simpler than you can do this. (and my little trick bumps it up a notch!)

Hello and happy Thursday my beautiful friends!

I hope you are having a blessed week so far. Today I’m sharing some I refinished/made over for the beach condo.
It was a true labor of love.
Well, firstly, because I painted the top…then decided, nope! haha So I stripped it back off and began again. That’s what I’m showing y’all today.
That process…which is bleaching wood for a new look.

And secondly, because my husband gifted me this table when we bought our first house (just before we married) and we didn’t have a dining table yet.
The chairs have been long gone but I’ve been using this table as my “desk” in my office for 10 years. So I didn’t really want (or need) to get rid of it.

Remember my office makeover recently??

This is the before shot AND the shot of this table/desk that I made over for the beach house.

Bleaching wood (orangey or dark) for a brand new look! Simpler than you can do this. (and my little trick bumps it up a notch!)

Ugh…if you haven’t seen the AFTER, well, after seeing this photo you MUST go check it out!! lol
It’s a requirement of being able to see this shot. ;)
No, seriously, if you haven’t seen it, hop on over here >>> Colorful Mid Century Modern Office Makeover

As you can see above, I painted the tabletop black. It started out as a natural wood top with a white base, farmhouse-style chairs that had spindles. (also wood and white)
I tried to shortcut and just paint over the top of the black my faux weathered look. (you can see an example of that here)
But I just did not love it on this table. Boo.

Hey, it happens. So you don’t throw the towel in, you just get busy and begin again. Or remove and then begin again. hee hee ugh

And that is exactly what I did.

Here is an “in-process” photo of that in case you are curious.

painted weathered wood look tabletop

I didn’t really hate it…but I didn’t really love it either. (by the way, the side that’s darker is the final finish look)
It just wasn’t really what I was going for.

With that said, I don’t really love how this bleached one turned out either!! oy!
I mean the bleaching of the wood worked amazingly well, but I’m not sure “bleached wood” is exactly what I want either.
So, it may change yet.
I’m living with it for a little while to see.

So as you probably imagine there are more than a few layers of paint on there that now needed to be removed.

Here are a few of my other “light” wood projects to check out:

Bleaching Wood For a New Look

I began by using Citristrip to remove as much of it as I could.  (I still truly dislike the new formula but haven’t really found a good replacement)
I applied it and wrapped it with plastic wrap, left it for a few hours, and came back and scraped the paint off.
I did this twice.

And ended up with this…

wood with paint removed and now sanding to remove rest

Then I got to sanding.

And then I got my husband to sanding. haha

sanding the tabletop

I did the majority but my hand was vibrating and my arm was sore so he finished up the last bit for me.
(I was still sanding myself in the above photo ;) )

He’s a keeper.

So here’s the actual “BEFORE” and how it looked after all the sanding was done. (when wet)

tabletop orange wood

And after the first two applications of the wood bleach.

tabletop sanded and dry looking white with orangey tones

Each time I applied it just got lighter and lighter. I did let it sit out in the sun the first two applications.
Not sure if that helped or not but figured it wouldn’t hurt.

I did one more application while it was back in the garage.

I also used this same bleach product on this table >>> Coastal Console Table Makeover

It really worked very well, as you can see.

red solo cup with watered white paint on wood table

It was very bleached out in most areas. Some pieces of wood in the table were still a tiny bit yellowish so I whipped up a quick whitewash using white chalk-style paint and water.
Very watery, less painty.
And used an old t-shirt and wiped it all over the table. It soaked right in and gave me this, once dry.

finished tabletop bleached wood with light coat of whitewash

A little trick bump up the “bleached” look.

I sealed it up with two coats of high-performance topcoat once that was dry.


We reattached the legs (which got a fresh coat of white paint) and done!

table and blue chairs

(and there’s that gorgeous waterproof hardwood of ours…we just love it…you can read all about it right here >>> Waterproof Hardwood Flooring Reveal)

bleached tabletop with basket and blue chairs

Up close…

basket on tabletop top view

side view of table with blue chairs

close up view of bleached wood table and basket

So generally I am very happy with how it turned out.

close of up whitewashed and bleached wood table grain

But we’ll see if it stays this color.
(to note, I’m considering using the same driftwood stain that I used on this dresser recently)

Now let’s talk about the chairs I decided to pair up with the table.

blue metal chairs disassembled

Ignore all the rest.
We are waiting to finish up all the trim before we lay the rugs I bought for the living and bedroom areas.
And all those trim pieces to the right are for our “crown” molding.
If you follow along on Instagram, you saw a sneak peek of it up and finished this past weekend.

It’s hard to tell in the photo but they were a little brighter than I wanted with the rest of the room. (especially the console table I recently painted adjacent to them)
So I decided to apply the same driftwood stain I used on the console table to tone it down a bit. Worked great!


showing the difference on the blue chairs with and without driftwood stain

You can see the difference a little better here…

showing on one chair how the driftwood stain darkens slightly the blue

Toned it down nicely.

chair pulled out from table to show stain

styled table view with basket on top and blue chairs

I feel like this style is sort of farmhouse but also has a coastal feel so thought they’d be perfect for here.

bleached wood top with white legs and blue metal chairs

We are getting there with the condo. Wrapping up the crown molding and then we are onto the kitchen makeover (and decorating…wahoo!!)

So, tell me, do you think I should leave the tabletop as-is OR lightly sand and apply the Driftwood stain (same as the dresser in the bedroom linked above)??
Watcha think? I’m torn.

More posts in the “back to basics” series:

PIN it to save it!

Bleaching wood (orangey or dark) for a brand new look! Simpler than you can do this. (and my little trick bumps it up a notch!)

Well, guess what I did to this?

UPDATE!! See how I changed it, here!

I hope you have an amazing weekend! Get out and enjoy the warmer weather. It’s going to be 60’s and sunny here.
We are staying home this weekend because we are cleaning out a spare room for something big I am working on (the first of several things I have planned)…for all of you!
I’m such a tease, I know, but I’ll be sharing more very soon! ;)



  1. Hi Nancy, This looks great. I love the driftwood look though so I would probably lean more toward that finish, but either way is a win! Love the chairs too!

    1. I’m wish Denise above. Love the driftwood color so I’d do that. It’s beautiful btw. And tge chairs look great too!

  2. I think that the driftwood stain would add some nice contrast. Your beach home looks beautiful though, either way :)

    1. I think so too! It’s great how light I was able to get it but it almost looks washed out now, boo! Thank you! :) xo

  3. Nancy, I love the look of the top, but think the driftwood would look better with the white table legs. I think you need more contrast on the piece. The chairs look great as well. You always give me good ideas!

    1. I really think so too, Donna! It’s missing contrast and I’m a contrast-loving girl! lol I was bummed it looked more washed out than I’d hoped once all put together. But wanted to share it anyway to see what you all thought. Thanks so much for chiming in! xoxo

  4. I absolutely love the driftwood stain and I think it’d be beautiful on this table top. Regardless, I love everything you’ve done in your beach home!

  5. Nancy, this table looks beautiful and, well, new. I just don’t see this as your beach house style. Maybe the driftwood would bring more character to this table. It certainly is beautiful as is though.

    1. Thank you, Christina! I think so too. I knew it almost immediately once I brought the tabletop into the condo (even before putting together). I love contrast and think it needs some. So happy everyone else seems to agree! I was thinking you all would think I’m crazy for changing it yet again!! haha But that’s how it goes sometimes, right? :) xo

  6. I think the driftwood stain would give it a little more depth. It’s beautiful like it is though. The condo is looking great! Can’t wait to see it finished!

    1. I think so too, Susan! It really needs some contrast. (I love contrast!) Hopefully will be done in the next several months! xoxo

  7. I love the driftwood stain. I go back and look at the dresser you did often. It gives it a beach look but warmth too. You are really making the condo beautiful.

    1. Isn’t that stain the best? It’s one of my favorite products of the moment, for sure. Thank you, Teresa! xoxo

  8. I’m on Team Driftwood Stain. You love it on the dresser and with the white table legs, definitely a good idea. Applying stain to the metal chairs is brilliant! I think the driftwood stain will pull it all together. Let us know what you decide!

    1. Oh yes, I am definitely thinking that is what I will do. I didn’t think it was going to work for me the minute I brought the tabletop into the condo! I need contrast for one. But I wanted to go ahead and share it as planned to see what you all thought! And yippee, you are all on the same page as I! xoxo

  9. Good morning Nancy! I only slightly went down the rabbit hole looking at all the links in this post! But amazingly, I didn’t spend too much time (like it matters since it’s snowing here, yet again!) doing that. Man, I hate stripping furniture! I love the way the table top looks now, and I hate to give you more work, but I think the driftwood finish would give it some contrast to the rest of the room. Those chairs are super and at first I couldn’t imagine them being too bright, but they look really nice toned down. Thanks for all the tips!

    1. Haha!! I try to give as much info and reference to help anyone reading out. Especially if they’ve not been to the blog before. But it can be a deep rabbit hole for sure sometimes!! ;) And snowing?!! Oh my gosh, I can’t even imagine!! Yes, stripping is my least favorite thing. But there is something about getting all the old off and seeing that fresh wood shining through. And yes, contrast is needed, I knew it as soon as we put it together at the condo. Thanks for chiming in, Gwen, we are on the exact same page!! xoxo

  10. Very clean and beautiful; perfect for the beach house. The total impression impact of a room is key. (Ambiance:-).
    Sometimes I can get individual ideas that are each nice by themselves, but all in the same room, they create a cacophony of image noise. This room now looks so inviting and clean and restful; beautiful work, btw.. you are so inspiring. A lot of us don’t understand you energy level superpowers:-); Brave and undaunted you fly in and tackle anything. Congratulations on being a superhero. 🙄 some of us would be drained, doing so much; but it’s nice to pick key ideas from your plethora of monumental tasks. Thank you🤗

      1. You are totally fine!! No worries at all, Willie. (I’m terrible at that too…I am quick to comment and then see the mistakes…oops!):)

    1. Thank you so much, Willie! That’s what I’m going for…a soothing, spa-like beach retreat. Ha!! I don’t know about that, but thank you. I look at some of the younger bloggers and think the same exact thing!! lol xoxo

  11. Thank you for sharing the process I am about to bleach my dining table. I I prefer a shade darker than what you got to remove the yellowish but leave a more a driftwood tone. I’d love that the wood patterns are more visible.
    I am painting the legs in black just like the chairs. Best

    1. Oh yay! Yes, you certainly can go a shade or two darker. Removing the orange/yellow shade is the main thing. You will love it! And yes, I think that is one of the things that I’m missing here besides feeling like I need a little more contrast. I think the driftwood stain would show more of the wood grain. :) xoxo

      1. Thank you!!! So in order to go a shade or two darker, should I only bleach twice In the sun? Or do the same process as you did but skip the whitewash? Thanks again!!!

        1. Well, the main thing, on this one anyway, was to bleach out the orange and lighten the wood. I would probably still bleach it as far as I did so as to not have the Driftwood stain competing with that orangey color. And yes, that is correct, skip the whitewash! :)

  12. I think you’d beat the energizer bunny!! 20 years ago I MIGHT have been able to keep up! I LOVE the bleached wood look…which I’m planning to do sometime in the (hopefully) near future to a couple of tall cabinets. However, like everyone else so far, I think the driftwood finish would be fantastic with the white legs IF it goes well with your beautiful flooring. Isn’t the flooring lighter in the room where the driftwood cabinet sits, or is it just my computer?? If for some reason it wouldn’t go well, perhaps you could change up the table legs to better highlight the top.
    I’m so looking forward to your kitchen makeover since I have that looming as well!!

    1. Aww, haha, I think the same when I see all the things the younger bloggers are doing! ;) Yes, it’s driftwood for the win, for sure! I think it’s all a little too washed out looking as-is. And the flooring is the same throughout (and yes, it is actually lighter than the photos in this post show). It’s the way I had to edit the photos as to not completely wash out the tabletop. (it’s really very light) So the flooring ended up looking a little darker than it is. So no, not your computer, they really are lighter! :) (and yes, I’m so excited to get to the kitchen!) xo

  13. I vote for the driftwood too! Since several have commented on your energy level we know you can get it done. The beach house is coming along very nicely – I’m loving the look! Can’t wait to see what you decide on doing to the table.

    1. Haha!! Yes, I will eventually! I actually took my sander and the driftwood stain with me to do it when I brought it down. But figured I’d ask you all first! Guess what I’ll be doing next time I go down!? xoxo

  14. No question! Driftwood stain!
    P.S. Is there room for two more chairs? One on either side? Thinking that would look great!

    1. Driftwood for the win! :) Yes, there is probably room but I think because of the size and space, will probably not add any more. (and no need for 6 since the condo sleeps only 4…unless someone wants the couch! lol) :) xo

  15. Very interesting makeover – all the steps you had to go through! I like the bleached wood look and it fits in nicely with the beach vibe! I love anything beachy, so that would be a go for me. I like the chairs as well. Can’t wait to see your next project. Yes, you are always teasing, but I think that is part of the charm of your blog and your ALL your artistic endeavors. Thanks for sharing and enjoy the rest of your week and weekend.

  16. Nancy,I like how the table turned out, but I think I would love it with the stain!! I went back to check it out on the dresser and it’s definitely what you need! The color of the chairs are so pretty, the driftwood stain would complement them nicely!😊

  17. It really looks great; however, I agree with the others. I think the driftwood stain would tie it in with everything else. Thanks for sharing with us.

  18. I think you did a great job on the table top, but I think it would look better in the room with more contrast. there’s so much ‘lightness’ going on.

  19. It looks like the driftwood has it and I agree. Love the chairs with it. Keep them. I commend you for sticking with it. But…a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to get the right look. Right? Can’t wait to see your secret project. See you on Tuesday.

    1. Yes, it sure does, Kathy! I am in agreement! You’ve got that right. I can’t wait to share what I’m up to!! :) xo

  20. Table looks awesome – and to be honest those chairs really make it work for the coastal look!
    They’re perfect and such zero maintenance if one’s bum is still wet from swimming, right?
    Well done, Nancy – it looks amazing.

    Have a wonderful week!

  21. It looks great! I think a pale or sheer Driftwood application (if that’s even possible) would anchor the table, without over-powering the chair color. Your condo is lovely!

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