5 Ways To Make Your White Furniture Look EVEN More Expensive!

6 French Carved and Painted Directoire Jansen Dining Chairs

The trick to all white furniture is adding some natural raw elements.  Decorating with white can make the days that you spend at home refreshing.  Here are a few tips to consider when putting together a home based on all white decorating.

1. Pair Raw Wood Furniture, Bleached, or White Washed Furniture WITH White Painted Furniture.

If you plan on painting your furniture white, consider leaving some of the furniture in your home raw or white washed to give a balance to the white furniture.

If you have an old chest you don't mind re-finishing, consider stripping the wood.  When the finish is removed, the wood looks raw, and takes on a primitive appearance.

Furniture Stripping Tips:

Stripping furniture can be very labor intensive, however for the right piece it can make all the difference in the world.  I have used Klein Strip quite often.  Often times if the paint is quite thick, I will pour quite a bit of the stripper on one area, which takes no time for the paint to lift.  Then with a trowel, I will move the entire contents (stripper and removed paint) to another area of the chest, and continue until I have a large amount of paint remnants to throw out.

When you do strip furniture, wear industrial cleaning gloves, and eye protection.  If you get just a bit of the stripper on the skin, it will burn, so do wear eye protection.  It is not worth loosing your vision over a weekend project. 

I use a plastic bag which I put all the contents of the paint that is removed from the furniture.  Often times if you leave the bag open over night (in a secure area) it will be dried by morning. 

Stripping furniture is very toxic, so be sure to wear a paint respirator.  I have tried several paint masks, and the MSA Safety Works Mask I find pretty comfortable for the most part. 

Kids and Animals should never be present because of the toxic fumes.  The heat of the summer will NOT speed the stripping process, so try to strip furniture when the afternoon where the sun isn't so hot and bright.  Be sure to have proper ventilation when stripping furniture. 

When the furniture is almost stripped, I have found the spray-able Klein Strip allows the extra remnants of paint to be picked up with scrub pads.  Have a bucket of water and some scrub pads handy (not green) and spray and wipe with water to get the last traces of paint and residue off the furniture. 

After it has been left over night, finish it by rubbing in some tinted dark wax for an even more distressed appearance.  Any wax can be (some what) removed with paint thinner.

-In this post I give my very best recommendations for white washed furniture stains.  Instead of having a bright white, why not consider some of the olive, or muted beige tones for raw wood? (Staining only works with raw furniture.  You cannot stain over waxed furniture)

-In this picture you see an antique white painted farmhouse table that has a beautiful worn appearance that were achieved naturally over years of wear.  Here they combine it with Tolix chairs to give a balance to the painted table.

-Consider adding painted furniture with white accents into your home.  White, off gray, beige, and any color works nicely with white.  This piece by Juniper & Roses is exceptionally well done.  You can see the white adds interest to the piece, while gray is the main paint color.

-This chest has a light blue pattern on a white painted surface.  The blue hand painted designs give depth to this piece of furniture, while at the same time still gives a very white appearance.

-A white painted chair has mint green upholstery.  As you can see they painted the detail of this chair in a darker green to draw attention to the ornate details.

Vintage French Louis XVI Style Antique Painted Chaise Lounge

2. Attach The Appropriate Hardware With The Style Of Furniture.

Mission or country furniture needs rustic styled hardware.  Country furniture with wood knobs cab be painted the same color and lightly distressed for a worn appearance.  French furniture can be either painted the same color of the chest or left in its brass or bronze state.

Rusto-leum produces an amazing spray paint that takes on the very looks of all the high end Oil Rubbed Bronze hardware. Ebay has some of the best selection of french
hardware lots, and if you find a lot that you love why not spray the hardware to
look like the high end oil rubbed bronze french hardware?  If you like the look of the old rubbed bronze hardware, and have a dresser with good looking hardware that you want to update, consider purchasing the Rust-oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze. I have had great success with it through the years. It particularly looks great with rustic barn colors, natural woods, black and really primitive colors. I think you will enjoy it as much as I have.  Look at the rest of our post.....29 Of The Best Rustic Iron Hardware For Your Provence Chests

3. Distress Your White Furniture

For furniture painters like myself, finding raw wood un-painted furniture feels as though you hit the jackpot, because distressing adds so much to a painted finish. 

If you have a melamine dresser, or a dresser with layers of paint you don't wish to strip, consider starting off with a base color color before you paint your white furniture.

In these photos you can see a chest with a darker blue with a light blue wash over top.  Further down the page you see a white chest with heavy distressing showing orange.  In fact, orange is what I typically use for most of my furniture bases.  When picking a shade of orange, it should be something very dulled down, and on the lighter side.

When I painted this chair, I started off with a dull orange paint.  When the base color was dry, I painted on the blue, and before the paint was dry, I sanded off some of the paint using a foam hand sander.  Once it was dry, I was able to soften the texture with my foam sander.  As you can see it looks like wood!

-19th C. Swedish White Buffet -Distressed

-18th C. Armoire Heavily Distressed in Off White

-Heavily Distressed White Hooker Chairs

-Heavily Distressed White Nesting Tables
If it looks fake, the trick that I use is I tend to go over the chest with a white glaze to soften the effect.  Ideally, when it comes to distressing, sanding down to the raw wood is ideal.  In those rare cases where you cannot, this is an easy shortcut.

- In this post you can see how lovely the raw wood looks against the light blue.  The distressing adds to this antique bench

4.  Choose A TINTED Or OFF White Paint Shade For Your Furniture

One of the biggest secrets to beautiful white furniture is not choosing the brightest shade of white.  In fact, if you choose a white paint color with a hue with green or beige tones, it will automatically make your chest appear as though it is worth more money.

Consider painting your furniture an off white, rather than a bright white.  Bright white always reveals the fact that the piece has been newly painted.

Modern retro furniture looks terrific with bright white finishes, as so Hollywood Regency furniture.  Glossy white lacquered finishes are typically seen with Hollywood Regency, but it tends to look out of place on most furniture, except the odd french chest or Empire furniture that has been painted white.

Antique furniture looks the best when it is off white, such as a light gray or even undertones of yellow or green.

-These chairs have beige undertones in the paint color which nicely work off the green upholstery

-This empire chair is one of my favorite chairs because the light gray paint color plays off the white upholstery nicely.

5.  Glazing Always Adds Depth To Furniture-Don't Skip Glazing.

Consider adding a layer of diluted brown glaze to your white furniture.

You can add glaze two ways.  With painted furniture with colors, I tend to use half glaze to half brown paint, which I paint on, and with a damp rag remove some of the paint leaving traces of it behind.  The Shammy Wow rags are great for these types of projects.

With white painted chests, I tend to mix a glaze mixture which I simply paint on the furniture and let it dry.  I use a lot more glaze when I am mixing the paint, because I just want a slight tint, not a brown chest.  This Swedish Rococo Chest by Cote Jardin Antiques is an excellent example of what your white painted furniture should look like.  It has natural dirt that you can replicate with glaze.

-These Neoclassical chests are great examples of white painted furniture.  In the pictures you can see a slight glaze, or it might even be natural wear and dirt over the years.  Your final look should make a person wonder if it is the original finish.

-Here is another example of what glazing can achieve, over off white painted finishes.

Reclaimed Dining Room Tables- Rustic French Country Provence Tables- Old World Decorating

Le Havre Dining Table-Elm Wood: W98.5 x H30 x D35.5 $2,949

Reclaimed Lumber Coffee Table $1,499

French Provencial Furniture Ideas From Photographer Bieke Claessen

French Provincial Furniture Ideas From Photographer Bieke Claessen

French Provence Provincial Cane Dining Chairs

The Noah Dining chair will fit gracefully in a home that has a classic and soft aesthetic. If features a cane back that has been brought back to life and a beautifully tufted seat cushions for comfort. This chair features a cane back, and a lose seat cushion - Sells for $429

French Provence - Provincial Dining Furniture- Distressed Rustic Gray French Painted Furniture

The Napoleon collection faithfully captures the romantic feel of vintage, painted furniture from the French countryside. Featuring gently curved frames made of solid hardwood, brightly colored then rubbed down on the edges. Adds a soft splash of vibrancy to any setting. The Louvre arm and dining chairs are accented with a cane back. The chair is made of kiln dried hardwoods , and constructed using Chinese Joinery . Webbing placed in the seat for support, and hand-painted and hand-distressed for that special French appeal. New, sells this Louvre dining chair for $299

French Provence Furniture- The Baltic Dining Room Table

The Baltic dining table features a natural rectangular surface and an elaborate based. It would make any dining area stand out because of it's beautiful natural elements. The table features a Kiln-dried hardwood frame. The finishes are hand applied and sanded repeatedly. The top of the table is coated with a lacquer top coat or wax. New sells this for $1,499

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