How to Paint Furniture French Style, French Desk

Furniture and Cabinetry Redouxs, Furniture Makeovers, Upcycled Decor & Accessories

How to Paint Furniture French Style, French Desk

Parlez-vous francais?

(This post was originally published 2 years ago, but has been updated and reworked for your painting pleasure)

School is coming to a town near you and in middle school and high school, you can learn to speak French!

With School coming, this is the time many people go shopping for desks.   This desk has a in important part in my painting life.  It was the THE VERY FIRST piece I painted when we moved to our current home, almost 11 years ago! I found this little French writing desk in a thrift store and fell in love.  I knew it would be perfect for the little space we had next to our refrigerator for the phone and miscellaneous family paperwork.  This is how it looked when I originally painted it.

Fast forward 11 years and we needed something  more substantial.  I still loved this desk, but it was time for it to move on.  I decided to give it a new life with my favorite “Alaska Tundra Green” from CeCe Caldwell’s.   I used a 100% natural American Made paint, but I Paint Furniture French Style!

All that was needed to prep this desk was a thorough wipe down and a little sanding where the paint was uneven from my children’s handiwork.  I started with a thin base coat of Virginia Chestnut.  I finished with a slightly thinned coat of Alaska Tundra Green.  After this dried, I sanded with a 320 grit sandpaper.  I used a dark wax I had on hand in the corners and edges, then went over the entire piece with CeCe Caldwell’s 100% natural Clear wax.  I buffed it to a high sheen to achieve a gorgeous French Style.  I added a  more depth with my favorite Modern Masters colorants in Coffee Bean.  I brushed it on in places where the wax hadn’t darkened it enough.

I love that I had to do minimal work to get this desk to a more French Style.  CeCe Caldwell’s paints are highly adhesive so primer is rarely needed.  Just open the can and get started creating.  You could be painting furniture French Style in no time.

I was so pleased with the transformation, the desk looked like it finally had the paint finish it deserved.   French Style? Yes!

If you would like to learn more about my workshops and how to learn to paint French Style, Modern Style, or any style you desire, check out my Workshop page and this fun video!

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  1. cassie

    wow- those colors and that finish are just beautiful! fabulous job, my friend!

  2. Heidi @ Decor & More

    Lovely! Adore the colors, Karen. I’m on the hunt for desk to makeover for my son’s room — he no longer wants Mom standing over him at the kitchen table when he does his homework. Hmmm.. 🙂
    xo Heidi

  3. Deb Owen

    gorgeous! I’m thinking I must get me some Hershey Brown as an undercoat, I’ve seen it in many of your pieces! I so wish we had a modified year around schedule. Summer break hits the “breaking point” for us by the end of July!

  4. Suffering Husband

    Oo-la-la, tres bien mon amour!

  5. Jesse

    Very, Very Pretty finish!

  6. Hetty

    Super super sweet looking! Love the end result!

  7. micki @addhousewife

    lovely! I have the matching side table to that dresser. I painted it orange and the top is white. It’s lovely 🙂

  8. Bliss

    I had a desk just like that with the same handles when I was a flower child. Sadly my paint job was not near as nice.


  9. Linda @ it all started with paint

    What a sweet story about a very sweet desk. I’m sure lots of A work will be done there by that new familly who has “adopted” your find!



  10. Fiona, Lilyfield Life

    Wow Karen, it’s gorgeous! i love the desk and your paint job. So pretty.
    cheers Fiona

  11. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.

    Sooo pretty! … And it’s way too early for going back to school!

  12. Shannon Fox

    SUPER love the hardware!! I just sold the aqua Frenchy la la side table and it had the exact same one! (may have already told you that?) It’s late. LOL!!

    Turned out gorge girl! Pretty enough for a pixie 😉

  13. Francine

    This turned out very lovely!

  14. Rosemary

    Beautiful makeover. Love that color.

  15. Suzan

    Beautiful job – beautiful color!!!

  16. Lindsey

    What Beautiful colors! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Scribbler

    Beautiful! I would have had a really hard time saying goodbye to that one.

  18. Liz

    What a difference and so pretty and Frenchy.

    How do you find the time!

  19. Debra@CommonGround

    this is so wonderful, brown for a first coat…great idea, it looks so beautiful! love the lines of it. so pretty!!

  20. Pamela

    Love this piece!

  21. Shelly Andrade

    Karen… I’m IN love!!! This finish is GORGEOUS!!!

    • GTC

      Oh Mary, you always say the most beautiful things…..Thank you!

  22. cassie

    i love this look with these colors! gorgeous!

    • GTC

      Thank you! I love doing finishes like this. I need to find me some more of this style of furniture!

    • GTC

      Thank you so much Nancy! I sort of wish I had kept it!


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