A fresh finish


Photographs: Francois Oberholster and Christo Lötter

1. Colour cane 

Why it works: Cane can be contemporary and cool; one or two pieces in a surprisingly bold colour will create a focal point around your table.

What you’ll need: 

• 180-grit sandpaper

• multipurpose primer such as Dulux undercoat

• bold paint such as Plascon Wall & All Blue Jazz

• angle trim brush

How to: If the cane is varnished, give it a light sanding to allow the paint to adhere to the surface. Then scrub it down with a sugar soap solution and leave it to dry. Apply a coat of universal primer and, when dry, apply two top coats of paint, allowing enough drying time between coats and taking care to get into all the nooks and crannies using the angle trim brush. You might find the paint easier to apply with a spraygun

2. Whitewash wood

Why it works: Whitewashed furniture lends a casual yet elegant feel to any space.

What you’ll need:

• woodwash such as Harlequin Paints Woodwash

• uneven, soft-bristled paintbrush

• mutton cloth

• varnish, such as Harlequin Paints Decorators Varnish


How to: Ensure the untreated wood is clean and dry; if it’s been varnished or painted, it will require stripping with a multi-purpose paint remover. Using the paintbrush, apply the woodwash to one section, making sure you get into the corners. While still wet, place the mutton cloth in a cupped hand and gently wipe over the surface to remove excess. Repeat the process on the next section. Leave for 24 hours to dry properly, then sand lightly with steelwool. If you’d like a whiter finish, apply another coat, allow it to dry and sand again. Lastly, apply three coats of varnish, allowing enough drying and sanding time between coats to ensure a smooth finish.

3. Paint stripes

Why it works: Stripes instantly update a space, giving it height and a touch of drama – a wider stripe offers a more sophisticated look.

What you’ll need:

• masking tape

• measuring tape

• spirit level

• pencil

• neutral-coloured paint such as Plascon Cashmere Dundas or Naturals.

How to: Paint a base coat in white, allowing it to dry for 24 hours. Measure up your stripes, roughly 30cm wide. Using a spirit level or a more accurate laser level, draw vertical lines. Mask out every alternate stripe. Using a credit card, push down the edge of the tape that will be painted on to ensure the paint doesn’t seep underneath. Paint alternate stripes in your chosen colour, leave to dry then apply a second coat. Remove the tape before the paint dries, angling it away from the freshly painted area as you pull.

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April 2023

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