Taking Facebook Marketplace Finds to French Country Chic

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I just wrapped up a pretty exciting six week renovation challenge called the One Room Challenge with media partner Better Homes and Gardens and transformed my afterthought of a bedroom into a .

I am a DIY-er, so to actually learn about this style of decor was a really fun change of pace. I knew I loved it when I saw it shining at me from a magazine rack in Lowe's, but to actually make it a reality required research!

The style originated from French palaces dating to the 1600s. Louis XIV was on a mission to make France the symbol of style and refined taste. By the late 18th century, people all over Europe were seeking this style, including those who lived in the more humble countrysides. They wanted the sophistication of the French goods, but functionality and “every day living” led to a mix of old and new. It’s a focus on every day use of the home and the tradition of family – many of their fancier pieces were handed down from generation to generation.

So, some of the key elements of this style I wanted to bring in were:

  • Colors – rich grey and cream tones set the neutral backdrop for the pop of the Provence blues I wanted to bring in.
  • Furnishings – the distressed look embodies the hand-me-down feel. Curves and embellishments bring the fancy but the distressing brings the love.
  • Patterns and textures – Cottons, linens, animal prints and natural woods throughout the room mix together a unique, layered blend that creates some visual interest. PLUS my husband really likes wood and animal print stuff – I mean, I think he is thinking more along the lines of the massive elk hanging in our living room – but hey, I am compromising!
  • Accessories – I wanted to blend the ornate with the rustic – so you will see vintage chippy windows, classic crystal vases, antique jewelry boxes and gilded frames.

Other important elements were my projects – one of which was an awesome Facebook Marketplace furniture transformation with the help of a paint sponsor, Graham & Brown.

They supplied the paint, but all opinions are my own - I would not review a product if I didn't love it!

The furniture pieces started humbly enough:

This set of dressers were found for $250 - this furniture is gorgeous and retails for over $1,000 per piece. They were in great condition and the couple who were selling them were the neatest people to talk to.

This was a S-T-E-A-L. These were $10 per piece. $10!! They are solid wood and ornately carved nightstands. Also, in great condition. While I love their wood finish, for this bedroom look in particular, I needed to go for paint.

The best part about paint is that if you want, you can always sand it away and get back to the wood - re-staining is always an option.

The two options for the furniture were between Ava White (on the left) and Prosecco White (on the right). Ava White seemed to pull in some of the grey tones that were going to be included in the bedroom, so I went with that color.

The finish I went with is important too - they offer a finish called "Resistance Ultra Durable Matt Emulsion". It is an incredible paint! It has this amazing, matte finish - only 1% sheen level. So, it gives the appearance of chalk paint.

Here is where they sold me on this paint! It is scrub resistant - it will stay matte and beautiful even after cleaning it. It is moisture repellent and really durable as well - so for furniture, this was all just adding up to be a perfect paint.

The projects got started outside, when I set to sanding the glossy finishes on the dressers. Sanding the furniture's glossy finish will give the paint something to "grab" onto and help to prevent chipping and peeling.

I tested this you guys. Why? Because I'm lazy and thought maybe if I could skip the sanding it would go faster.

Not the best picture, but you can clearly see the difference - on the bottom is a drawer I tested the no sanding approach. The top was the right way.

Learning from my own mistakes on this project, at this point I would probably apply a primer before you start painting. Then, sand once more before you start the actual painting process.

The paint went on so smoothly and only took two hours to dry. I used a two inch edging brush to apply the paint, so I could get into all of the crevices that the furniture had.

With the dressers, you remove your hardware first before sanding and painting.

The dresser also had a nice "rope" pattern that spanned one area of the piece. I used a small crafting paintbrush to get into those areas.

I let the paint dry overnight just to be safe and then moved into the distressing portion. The French Country style included pieces that had been passed down from generation to generation, so a lovingly worn look was what I was aiming for.

To distress, I just used a fine grit sandpaper to scuff up the areas that seemed most likely to wear in normal every day use. For example, feet that might bump into things, the edges sticking out that might wear with time, etc.

It creates A LOT of dust, so if you can - aim to do this outdoors! Once you have accomplished your sanding to your satisfaction - you are done (unless you want to go a further step and apply a protective top coat).

However, let me tell you - I dropped a drill on this paint while installing the barn door in the below picture and it. did. nothing. It was amazing.

There is the Bassett long boy dresser, lovingly worn!

The chest of drawers was the first of the dressers I wrapped up.

My personal favorites - the nightstands. They took all afternoon to paint, but it was so worth it. They are going to stay with me always!

There is the second nightstand!

For my full process, I have a stories highlight reel dedicated to this furniture makeover. It has a lot more information and videos (with music)!

Other projects I've posted on Hometalk you MAY have picked up on (it's ok if you didn't) for this project include:

  • Reupholstered Chair
  • Scrap Wood Storage Bed
  • Hand Scraped Acacia Engineered Hardwood Flooring Install

I seriously loved this paint so much I will be consulting them for my next big one room makeover. Not just for the paint though. They have jaw dropping wallpaper selections that have converted me to using wallpaper. Add that to the fact they will actually help pair up a paint for your wallpaper and they had me completely sold.

Resources for this project:
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