Laurel Street Blog

Painted Furniture – Swedish Style?

Posted on: February 22, 2009

This trio of end / coffee tables belonged to my grandmother. They are not fine antiques, in fact, they are made of very light wood and were originally covered in a speckled light walnut veneer. However, these tables have wonderful curvy French lines, nice bronze hardware and cream marble tops.


My "French" tables in a leather finish

My "French" tables in a leather finish. Sister, the Rat Terrier is holding court this morning on the sofa.


The veneer had been banged up pretty badly over the past few years so last spring I decided to paint them. In fact, I painted them three separate times over the course of three weekends. I wish I had taken pictures as each of the finishes were very successful, and each in their own way, very wrong.


The table 'before' was a speckled light walnut veneer from the 70's... not much in vogue these day. Richard and Ella are still in vogue, however.

The table 'before' was a speckled light walnut veneer from the 70's... not much in vogue these day. Richard and Ella are still in vogue, however.


First I painted the tables in a cream color, picked out from the base color of the marble tops. I wanted a light, garden feel… but the result was that the tables were just too ‘precious.’

Still working on that garden feel, I bought two colors of green, on dark, and one slightly lighter. I also bought hide glue to crackle the lighter green paint atop the darker green base, and a small jar of gilt paint to pick out the running groove detail on the edges to the tables. After a lot of experimentation, I mastered the crackle technique and the tables looked great. But they were all wrong for the room! The finish was just too ‘cottage-y’ as opposed to ‘antique.’ 

And so, I had to do the worst job in the world… strip the paint off to eliminate the texture and any remaining traces of hide glue. UGH. (ugh ugh ugh). 

The final finish was a win and was very, very easy and fast. It was also risky… it was a ‘solution in a can’ from Rustoleum and I was suspicious. But I thought, well after all this, why not?  And I was getting to the point I never wanted to see a paintbrush again. Their “Classic Leather Kit” was just a can of flat red spray paint and an antiquing glaze. I sprayed the furniture in two coats, allowed to dry, then applied the glaze with crumpled plastic bags from the grocery store. Done, done, done. 

But why all this now? I’m getting restless about them again! I’m loving all the Swedish painted furniture that is sweeping the interior design world… these little tables would lend themselves very well, I think to that look. I’ve been googling all over to try to find a technique to simulate the effect, but haven’t yielded many results. I have some ideas, though, and this book may be helpful (I have to wait to Mardi Gras is over before I can get to the bookstore, though. The parade routes have me pretty much hemmed in until Wednesday. I can’t even get to a grocery store!)

I’m thinking something like this effect… picture via who also has a wonderful written history of the Swedish painted furniture over time on her Web site. 

Swedish Painted Chest via

Swedish Painted Chest via I love the blue.

Or, perhaps like this beautiful painted armoire from the hand of  Mitchell Settoon, fellow New Orleans blogger  (OptimismAndWhitePaint) who specializes in painted finishes:


Armoire painted in country Swedish style - via

Beautiful armoire rendered in country Swedish style - by the hand of Mitchell Settoon.

1 Response to "Painted Furniture – Swedish Style?"

Oh my gosh! The rest of the items you did with the Leather kits look AMAZING! What a great fit with the rest of the room.

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Laurel Street Blog

Nate and Louis

Well, hey there. I'm Nathan and this is the Laurel Street Blog. It's a place for talking about design, decor and DIY (with small amounts of snarkery snuck in). I'm a pretty restless guy who loves house projects and lives in a 150+ year old cottage on Laurel Street in New Orleans. Since the house always has something going on with it (or falling off of it) I'm subsequently blessed with a never-ending supply of Web content to share. Oh - and you can drop me a line anytime Enjoy!

Can I get a tweet up in here? Follow along @LaurelStreet

The Laurel Street Cottage

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