This is a simple, quick, easy, clean way to turn orphan furniture into grand, French looking creations.

This same method works on ANY other furniture.  You can do country or the Swedish look using this easy method.    Furniture can be in dodgy shape, or have a shiny, cheap looking finish.  Just find pieces with interesting lines.  You will be so delighted with the results.

This is the piece I started with.

All you need is a medium sized paint brush.  Some coarse and fine sand paper.  Water based top quality primer paint,  latex paint (yes wall will work), and furniture wax.  You don’t have to sand the piece first (unless it is Arborite).  Yes, you can get this effect painting over Arborite.  Just give it a really good sanding and cleaning.  The primer will adhere to it.

To achieve this old chateau look I used Gullwing Gray Primer (Aqua Lock plus) from Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore Aura matte finish  Snow White

Minwax paste finishing wax natural (found this at Home Depot)


Give your piece a good cleaning with a little detergent and vinegar, and then wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Turn your piece upside down and paint all visible(but generally hidden)  parts with the primer.

Now turn your piece right side up and continue painting.  Use long strokes  and paint in various directions.  Put the paint on thick.  The visible brush strokes will give that “old” look.  When the  paint is dry,  brush on the lighter coloured matte paint a section at a time.  This will allow you to wipe off some of the paint to show the primer underneath.  You can wipe off as much or as little  as you like.  You need to be quick off the mark as the primer will grab the matte paint.  If you feel you’ve taken too much off, just repaint.  You simply can’t make a mistake.  It’s just paint and you can always start over again.If your piece has drawers ( like this one) be careful to put paint on the edges of the drawers.  This could cause them to stick.  Allow to dry according the paint instructions.

Apply a second coat  again wiping away some of the paint to allow the primer coat to show through.

Let piece dry over night.    Now using first the coarse, and then the fine sandpaper, sand the edges to show a little of the dark wood underneath, and give the appearance of wear.  Sand in areas that would normally show wear over the years.   Wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Using the furniture wax apply the wax in small sections.  Let dry ten minutes that buff.  The matte paint will grab the wax and you’ll be able to buff it to a lovely shine.  Let the piece stand overnight, then give it another waxing and buffing.  Voila!!  You’re finished.  Look what you have created you clever dears.

This piece had unattractive cheap looking metal pulls.  I removed them  and replaced them with these glamorous crystal pulls.    Hardware is the jewelery of furniture.  I gave my finished table a deluxe touch by lining the drawers with a remnant of silk toile.  Tres chic!

It’s details like beautiful drawer linings that takes you DIY project to a new level.  As the French say, “it’s all in the details”.



  1. Beautiful job! I’ve always wanted to do this, but afraid I’ll mess up! (I guess it helps to buy second-hand furniture that I am not too attached to?) I love the hardware, though, I’m a sucker for unique-looking knobs and handles:)

    • For years I painted and sold reclaimed furniture. I did it the classic way – sanding and painting between many coats. I had special brushes for varnishing and worried about the least little speck. I LOVE this new way and old European look. No stress. No pressure. And instead of finicky varnish top coat you just wax. You go for it girl. Get painting. Virginia

    • I used to spend countless hours – several coats of paint when I redid furniture. No longer. Today I painted a chair using this method. Tomorrow it might just be my latest masterpiece. Virginia

    • This morning I have home-made croissants baking in the oven. When they come out I’ll nibble on them as I drink my coffee and slip away to the sun courtesy your beautiful blog. Virginia

    • Tinny oh Tinny there is a photograph of us together. Outside on the patio. Drinking wine. Talking and simply being. It says it all. You and Augustine will always be apart of home. Your presence will always be felt. XXXOO L & V.

  2. Wow I love it. I aso recently found out about Casopia , an online e-commerce selling tons of house furniture online. Going from bedroom, to living room, to kitchen, to bathroom, to dining room, etc. They have the best prices out there and this is their website for those interested

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