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Furniture Makeover: Painting A French Provincial Dresser

How to paint a French Provincial Dresser with turquoise paint, then add metallic gold highlights,  and spray painted metallic gold French Provincial drawer pulls.

French Provincial bedroom furniture was popular for a number of years, from the 1950s to the 1980s. I grew up during that time (the earlier times!), but my furniture was not French Provincial.

French Provincial furniture bought at an auction ready to be painted

Today is Furniture Fixer Upper Tour Day and we have a new member of our team, Gail from My Repurposed Life. I bet most of you are familiar with Gail’s work. I didn’t know until last week that Gail has been blogging since 2009, two years before I started. That’s a long time.

I bought the French Provincial dresser at an auction for $25. A deal for sure. The piece was a little beat up and missing one drawer pull but that wasn’t a big deal. The original white finish had yellowed a bit which tends to happen with these pieces. No problem because it’s getting painted.

remove drawer pulls from furniture before painting

Prep work comes before painting. I removed the drawer pulls first. TIP: Cover the screw holes on the inside of the drawer with painter’s tape to keep paint from seeping into the drawer. The best way to paint drawer fronts is with the drawer standing on its backside.

label furniture drawers so you know what spot they go in

My second tip today is to mark the drawer on the backside or the bottom as to slot position in the furniture body. The photo above shows the drawer marked MT for the middle top position in the dresser.

A lot of times, drawers only fit really well into one slot. Playing musical drawers isn’t fun, especially when there are nine drawers. I learn a lot of the tips and tricks I share with you through trial and error and making mistakes.


damaged furniture top

The dresser had a lot of scarring and dings on the top. I have no idea where the streaks of blue paint came from.

how to sand damaged furniture

I sanded the blue paint away and smoothed out a few of the scratches using my Ryobi Battery Powered Sander.


clean furniture before painting

The wood dust boards were all intact, and the runners were all in place, which doesn’t always happen. I cleaned the insides with Simple Green.

French Provincial drawer pulls

I have a drawer full of French Provincial drawer pulls of all shapes and sizes. I’ve been collecting them for years. You would think I had one to match the missing pull on this piece but no such luck.

replacing drawer pulls

I did find a set of three pulls that had the right length between the screw holes, sometimes called “on center”. “center-to-center”,  or “hole centers”. That means I didn’t have to fill the original screw holes and drill new ones for the different drawer pulls. I plan to use the three pulls on the top three drawers instead of replacing the one missing pull on the center middle drawer with a nonmatching pull.

Rustoleum Metallic Gold Spray Paint

Rustoleum Metallic Gold Bright, Shiny Finish was my paint color of choice for the drawer pulls. This paint is soooo shiny. I love it.

HGTV Showcase paint color Beach Sparkle

For the dresser paint, I selected the color Beach Sparkle and had it mixed in HGTV Sherwin Williams Showcase Paint, sheen satin. I was looking for the perfect blue/turquoisy color and decided I couldn’t go wrong with a color named Beach Sparkle.


painting furniture (3)

The photo above shows how the drawers looked with one coat of paint. I applied two coats, then moved on to the special finish!

Martha Stewart Metallic gold paint

I’ve used the Martha Stewart Crafts Metallic Gold paint on several projects. It has such a nice sparkle.


How to add metallic gold highlights to furniture

I used a very small artist’s brush to paint the grooves on the top, the sides, and the feet. I also used my FolkArt Layering Block to add a little gold sparkle to the surface. See the tutorial on using a layering block here….Layering Block Distressing Technique Is Crazy Easy 


Modern Furniture Makeover, How To Paint A French Provincial Dresser (2)

Once everything was dry, I put it all back together. Isn’t she pretty now?


French Provincial Furniture Drawer Pulls painted with Metallic Spray Paint color gold

The piece is updated with a modern feel but still leaning toward the original French Provincial look with the gold details.

How to paint French Provincial Furniture turquoise

The gold details I added using the layering block are not easy to see in the photos. They just look like spots in the photos but they really shine and glimmer under the right lighting.

French Provincial Dresser paint makeover

The drawer pulls look fabulous, and the replacement pulls look just fine. The top drawers were a tiny bit smaller than the other drawers, so the daintier pulls worked out just great.

Paint French Provincial Furniture to make it modern

I used the layering block anywhere there was a curve or a sharp edge. The drawer fronts on the dresser are curvy as are the top and bottom edges of the piece.

French Provincial Dresser painted

What do you think about the new modern look? Does it do justice to the French Provincial Style?

how to paint French Provincial Furniture

Please leave a note if you have time before heading out on the Furniture Fixer Upper Tour. Jen, Girl in the Garage, has been working on a new house and making moving plans for the last couple of months. Hopefully, she will be back with us next month. We miss her. To take the tour just click the text links below the “before” makeovers photo……..

furniture projects before makeovers


Furniture Fixer Upper Tour
Rolling Buffet Cart Makeover – Confessions of a Serial DIY’er
Mid-Century Modern Chocolate Painted Desk – Salvaged Inspirations
Drum Table Makeover – My Repurposed Life
– Petticoat Junktion (you are here)

As always, thanks for being here, 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. Awesome tip on the drawer notes. I usually use painters tape on the side of the drawer. Funny, I did a frankenfurniture with a FP dresser (bench) and painted it just about this same color!
    I’ve yet to try your distressing technique, but it’s definitely on my “to do” list!

    PS I’m so happy to be in this group. It’s going to help me purge all those pieces I have in storage!

  2. A lovely update for this dresser. I think the hardware looks just fine. The gold paint in the grooves and sparkles elsewhere on the piece add just the right touch of whimsy to the new finish.

  3. It looks awesome I just finished one same style almost the same color trimmed out in a metallic bronze with bling out handles I would love to send you a photo

  4. Like Cheryl, above, I would like a more muted blue on the dresser but otherwise I think it turned out really well. I especially like the placement of the smaller drawer pulls on the top drawers. As for the gold accents they are pretty but with a more muted blue paint I probably would use silver accents. I’m not a real fan of gold decor or accents in general. I like a “cooler” look. Just me. I’d like to see you do something in that combination of colors sometime. Thanks for the show and tell!

  5. I bet you had so much fun using this gorgeous color, Kathy! And great tip about the drawers…especially with so many! Love it! XOXO

  6. Ha, I hate playing musical drawers as well… great tip Kathy! And this FP dresser is beautiful. I love the color with the gold hardware! Pinned! XOXO