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How To Whitewash French Provincial Furniture

It’s easy to whitewash French Provincial Furniture and I made a video tutorial on the whitewash technique just for you. This project was fun! I hope you love it as much as I do. The whitewashed French Provincial chest of drawers is so pretty. I’ll show you how I got the perfect whitewash finish in just a few easy steps and the video shows the process even better.

It’s also Furniture Fixer Upper Day and you guys know what that means. My fabulous furniture painting friends have makeovers for us and the links are at the end of the post.

Whitewashed Blue French Provincial Bedroom Furniture

I told you guys it’s pretty. The blue is perfect and it’s an oops paint! That means someone else didn’t like the color and I was able to buy the gallon of paint for $7. Deal.

vintage French Provincial Bedroom Furniture to be repainted

I purchased the painted brown chest of drawers from the shop owner where I have my booth. It was only $60. Still getting those deals. The brown color was a bit on the drab side. Since the style is all girly I was going to paint the chest pink but glad I didn’t. Sometimes the obvious choice is not the best.

broken French Provincial Furniture knob

The piece had one broken drawer pull but since I have a drawer full of French Provincial pulls I was sure that wouldn’t be a problem. Boy was I wrong. More on that later.

French Provincial furniture painted

Other than being dirty the piece was in good shape. The drawers were all intact and I didn’t need to make any repairs.

vintage French Provincial Drawer pulls


First thing I did was pull out boxes and bags of French Provincial pulls trying to match the ones on the chest. I buy the pulls when I find them at the junk shop or flea market and when the price is reasonable. These pulls are hard to come by.

Can you believe there wasn’t a single match out of all of those pulls! I counted and I have 60+ French Provincial pulls and the photo above doesn’t show all of them.

finding replacement drawer pulls for vintage furniture

I came up with the closest match. This also meant I would need a pair of the replacement pulls. You sure don’t want two different size pulls on the same drawer.

finding drawer pulls that match original furniture pulls

I needed to drill new holes for the pulls. You can see in the photo above that the screws on the replacement pull do not match the screw holes of the original pulls.

drilling holes in furniture drawers for replacement drawer pulls

I marked for the new holes and then drilled them with my Ryobi cordless drill.

French Provincial Drawer pull replacement

I did good with the measurements and the drill and didn’t have to try to wallow out the screw holes to make the drawer pulls fit.

new replacement drawer pull not the same size (4)

Since the pair of drawer pulls were smaller than the others on the bottom half of the chest I put the smaller pulls on the top drawer of the bottom section.

The original drawer pulls on the top part of the chest were different sizes than the ones on the bottom too. I will have more issues with the pulls. Stay tuned.

how to remove decorative details from furniture

I removed all the drawer pulls before painting and the little decorative key hole piece too.

sand rough areas on furniture before painting

Then I sanded the rough areas of the chest of drawers…….

tighten drawer runner screws on old furniture

…….Tightened up loose drawer runner screws…….

vacuum and clean old furniture

…….Vaccumed and cleaned the interior and exterior of the chest of drawers.

apply a good primer to furniture before painting

The sheen of the brown paint finish made me think of oil based paint so I applied one coat of Glidden Gripper Primer.

pretty blue paint for French Provincial Furniture

Then I applied two coats of the blue oops paint. The paint covered really well.

buy inexpensive oops paint to paint furniture with latex wall paint

I’ve had the oops paint since 2015 and have used it on several projects. One of my favorites is the kids playhouse I re-painted using the oops paint.

one coat of blue paint on furniture

The color is pretty but those curves and details called for a little more. Whitewashing those areas sounded like the right plan.

how to spray paint furniture drawer pulls

I spray painted the original hardware and the replacement hardware with white paint. I applied several coats for full coverage.

broken drawer pull

When I was putting the pulls back on the chest I broke one. I almost said a bunch of bad words…..okay maybe I did say  a couple. Since the drawers have those curves sometimes the pulls don’t pop right into the holes. You can usually bend these a tad and I was very gentle but it didn’t matter. The pull that broke was one of the original pulls that goes on the top drawers. Now…..another problem.

pair of small French Provincial style drawer pulls

The main issue I ran into was the larger ornate pulls I had in my stock similar to the original ones had no give at all and would not conform to the curve of the drawer.

I searched and brain stormed drawer pull ideas and finally just came up with these two small pulls to go on the top drawer. I had to drill new holes and fill the old holes with wood putty….then paint the wood putty.

how to use thinned white paint to whitewash furniture

Finally time to whitewash the furniture. The video shows the process much better than I can explain but I’ll give it a shot.

How To Paint French Provincial Furniture

First step is to add water to white latex paint until the paint is really thin. The brush the paint on the areas you want to whitewash and wipe back the whitewash until you get the look you want.

painted French Provincial Bedroom Furniture

The white highlights make a big difference in the overall look. The piece went from ho-hum blue to designer worthy.

How To Whitewash French Provincial Furniture 3

French Provincial drawer pulls are the prettiest of all pulls and the white paint makes them shine. The smaller pulls on the top drawer are okay but I wish the chest had all original drawer pulls.

How To Whitewash and paint French Provincial Furniture

The whitewash is very soft and light. The cool thing about whitewashing anything is you can go soft and light, heavy and rich looking, or anything in between.


whitewashed furniture feet


I used a small paint brush for the line details on the sides of the body and the legs.

Paint and Whitewash French Provincial Furniture

You can see the whitewash technique process in the video below…

How to Whitewash French Provincial Furniture

Time to take the Furniture Fixer Upper Tour. Just click the pink text links below the “before makeovers” photo collage…

painted furniture makeovers before and after

 Antique Twin Headboard Makeover  from Confessions of a Serial DIY’er

How To Blend Paint Colors from Girl In The Garage

Faux Driftwood Finish Nesting Tables from Salvaged Inspirations

How To Whitewash French Provincial Furniture from Petticoat Junktion (You are here)

As always, thanks for being here and have a great day, Kathy

Kathy Owen founder of Petticoat Junktion
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Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

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  1. Coming back for a second visit and to let you know that I’ll be featuring this gorgeous French Provincial piece at the Snickerdoodle Party this weekend. Pinned 🙂

  2. Kathy, eres mi heroína!
    Me gustó mucho tu trabajo. Lamentablemente en mi país no existe la marca de la pintura que usaste. Voy a probar con una pintura de marca Bheer que me ha dado buen resultado.
    Un abrazo desde Chile!

  3. What a pretty color and the whitewashing makes it even prettier. Gorgeous makeover, Kathy, and the pulls look perfect.

  4. You did a beautiful job. It was especially helpful to me as a newbie to furniture painting, that you explained the problems you had along the way and how you resolved them. While I’m sure it was frustrating for you, it shows me that not everything will go along smoothly and perfectly. When I see some of the finished products on these sites I think, Oh I could never do that, so I feel intimidated to try. Your step by step tutorial was so good and reassuring. Even though you had some problems (and I definitely would have said lots of bad words), you figured out how to get around it and didn’t give up. Result? A beautiful piece of furniture!

  5. It’s soooo pretty Kathy! I’m glad you went with blue instead of pink. I can’t believe you had all that trouble with the pulls, but it looks really gorgeous now! xo

  6. Kathy,

    This piece belongs in my home. It is so beautiful!!!!! You did a fabulous job. The white-wash turned out perfect.

  7. Hi Kathy! Great makeover. She is very pretty. I love French Provincial pulls too. Thank goodness you had your own personal stash. Thank you for the video.

  8. This is by far my favorite blue color! I would paint everything I have with it. I love this whole project. GREAT JOB!!

  9. I ADORE THIS PIECE!!! I would buy it if I lived close! You made this so beautiful!!!! Wish you lived here in Oregon!

  10. What a beauty! So fresh and cheery! Totally worth the drawer pull chaos. …for an uninvested onlooker. ?

  11. This is gorgeous Kathy! I love the color and wash together. Soft and feminine for a French Provincial beauty!

  12. This is GORGEOUS, Kathy!! The white-washing was just the thing to push it over the top!! XOXO