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How To Paint French Provincial Furniture A Perfect White

Antique French Country Provincial White Sideboard – Cherish $1,400

Six Vintage Thomasville French Provincial Off White Leather Dining Room Chairs – vintagelafurniture1 on ebay

Vintage French Provincial White Dresser – aptdeco.com

Originally Published in 2010

White is one of the most popular paint choices for painted furniture as it creates an atmosphere that is both soothing and tranquil.

In particular, you are seeing a lot of French provincial furniture pieces painted in white.

White paint gives a fresh crisp new look to old and outdated furniture, transforming it into something modern and new with minimal expense.

In this article I spill my secrets from years of painting and transforming beautiful pieces of furniture with simple painted finishes.

Marais Dresser rhbabyandchild.com 

Beautifully finished French Furniture by

French Provincial Furniture By

Three Steps to The Basics to Painting

First – Clean And Careful Painting

Cover the area you plan on working in with thick cardboard, newspapers or old sheets.

You do not need to buy expensive drop cloths. Living in an apartment for many years, I took old bed sheets which I folded in half, and not once did I get anything on the carpet.  You can get them at the thrift store for only a couple dollars.

The best thing about sheets is you can run them through the washing machine.  Being a careful painter is a good habit to develop, as it will show in the end result.

Second– Sanding

Sanding is a necessity with any sort of furniture painting.You don’t need to sand every inch of paint off of the furniture, but rather you need your furniture to have some sort of teeth to grip on to the paint. Do buy the finest, or (close to fine) sandpaper. In the past I have messed up paint finishes by sanding with too coarse of sandpaper.  This usually appears with swirl marks in the paint finish. If this happens, carefully sand it with very fine sandpaper and add another layer of paint.

The trick to sanding is to just sand with fine sandpaper. Sand in the direction of the wooden grains, this way you won’t get noticeable swirl marks. DEWALT Sheet Sander, FOAM SANDER

One of the most questions most people ask is how to paint over melamine tops.    The simple answer is to sand it with a relatively fine sander.  Apply a coat of flat white oil paint.  Oil paint is extremely durable, and with the flat sheen it acts like a primer.

Third – Priming

I didn’t fully appreciate priming until I stumbled upon a fabulous primer that I cannot live without. Every primer is a bit different. With black or darker paint finishes, I would not recommend priming first with white or gray.

Rust-oleum Black Primer Pack of 6

For a good year when I first started painting I primed my furniture and painted over the white primer in a color paint and it looked terrible when it came to distressing the furniture. I reached out to many painters to tell me their secrets of great distressing and I found very few that would help me with this problem, until one day I just decided to sand more and toss away the primer and It worked!

OR, black flat oil paint works terrific as a primer.

There are situations where priming is a necessity. One of these instances is painting walls. You need to start with a primer. Priming can give you a very good base for any color you plan on using especially if you are painting over wood which sometimes can be especially hard to cover well.

For the longest time, my favorite primer was Gripper as it is a fantastic primer. I first used it to seal a floor that was being painted white in an apartment building.  It held up on apartment floors that dozens of people would walk on daily.  I figured that if it held up on the floors it would do just as great of a job on furniture.

Kilz is another very popular primer. Some people think it is one of the best primers out on the market.  If you do use this brand, consider the spray paint primer…..Kilz Original Primer Spray Paint.  The oil primer is especially thick and very hard to manipulate and I found it very gloppy and extremely hard to work  with.  I have not tried their water-based version, so please don’t discount this brand all together.

Since moving to Seattle, I have had to shop at Ace Hardware more often, instead of Home Depot, and I have been pleasantly surprised! Their Ace Brand Name projects are high quality.  Not only are their paint colors beautiful, but I have been able to try out some new brands I wouldn’t have otherwise tried.

My biggest secret is a primer I found through Ace, but can be ordered on Amazon or at Home Depot which is called Cover Stain By Zinsser in the oil paint. You can buy this at Home Depot and almost every Hardware Store.  The best part of this oil paint is that it is TINTABLE!

High Hide Odorless Oil Primer without Sanding – Odorless Primer

*The most surprising thing is that their oil-based primer is thin rather than thick, and it goes on like butter. Considering it is an oil paint, that is rather shocking.  I prefer to work with oil because it covers well, and it is quite durable.  I do like my paint thick, but perfectly even.  This paint seems to have so many features that I just cannot live without now.

*As it dries it evens itself out compared to other oil paints which show every brush stroke.

*In addition, the paint dries rather quickly. It can be dry within 3 hours, which you can apply another coat. By the next day you can sand, and it sands especially easy compared to any other brand.

*This oil paint has teeth! It grips to almost anything without being scratched.

*Also, it is one of the ONLY oil paints that dries to a matte finish. I often add two coats of the primer, then I seal it with a Polycrylic water-based sealer.* It produces a perfect Swedish finish. This OIL paint can be tinted most light colors which makes it a dream to work with. It has rejuvenated my passion for painting and I couldn’t be more excited to paint furniture right now.

My Secrets to Professional Finishes:

When a professional painter or woodworker looks at a piece of furniture often the first thing they look for is how even the paint finish is.  There is one painter I heard of who dips her chairs in paint, (which would be extremely costly) but her paint finishes are known to to have drips of paint in many areas of the furniture which I suppose adds character.

How do you achieve this?

A. You can spray your furniture with paint sprayers.

Often times it is not worth investing in a paint sprayer and a compressor just for one or two pieces of furniture that you plan on painting over time.  If you are looking at painting furniture as a business, it would be a wise investment after getting some experience painting finishes by hand.

Another way of spraying furniture is simply to buy paint in a can. This usually works quite well for small projects such as chairs, picture frames or end tables, but it would get quite expensive for larger pieces.

B. Use a foam paint brush.

My friend Nancy in Virginia was the first to teach me this technique.  She gets ALL the credit on this one!!  These foam brushes can be found for every cheap at dollar stores or on amazon.  They can also be found at home depot for a dollar or two.  Although if you plan on painting furniture as a business, purchase them online or from a dollar store, as they tend to sell them in packs of 10 for only $1.  They are cheap but every effective throw away foam brushes that even out your stokes. 30 Foam Paint Brush, Foam Roller Smooth

2. White Paint Tones.

You almost never see higher end finishes using bright white paint, except for Hollywood regency styles which use glossy whites with modern pieces. I tend to lean towards whites that are tinted towards the beige tones or green undertones as they are closer to the Swedish antique paint finishes. Your piece will look more antique than modern which then translates into being more expensive looking.

I do enjoy French grays, or really milky white grays rather than white, because it gives it an antique feel which is rich and doesn’t look freshly painted.

Some of my favorite colors are:

Martha Stewart- Sandpiper, Fossil, Bedford Gray, Heath, Mourning Dove, Ash Bark, Cityscape, Eiderdown, Tadpole Green, Flagstone

Ace Paints – Hazy Day, French Gray, Heartland, Tahoe, Ramie, Warm Scones, Navajo White, Wooden Spoon, Chinos, Gray Day

3. White Washing– White washing is a spectacular finish where the base coat is beige tones and a lighter color is added on top.  I have found the best colors to work with are those with a brown undertone, such as beige, and adding a creamy white with yellow undertones on top.  White washing is basically adding glaze for a translucent finish.  Paint on the white paint with glaze, and and use a relatively dryer damp cloth and wipe off the cream paint, leaving a wash-like appearance.  It produces a very nice effect.

4. Distressing– Distressing can add depth to your furniture giving it a very antique rustic appeal.  You can distress with a hand electric sander, or a hand foam sander which gives more of a delicate worn feel over time than deliberate wear and tear would.

The key to distressing is to sand in areas where worn paint would appear over time.  Locations such as the feet of furniture, sides, the wood around the handles are natural places furniture would wear over time.  For heavy distressing take  a few tools such as a hammer, screwdriver and a chain and rough up the surface of the piece.   The more you rough up the surface the more aged the piece appears.

Adding crackle paint in some areas can give your furniture piece an antique feel.  In addition, Porcelain Crackle Glaze can give a piece of furniture an aged look. The crackle makes it look as though the paint has changed through the years. How this crackle works is that you apply it to areas you wish to age.  Let the paint dry completely, and rub in dark glaze or shoe polish, or brown glaze to expose the lines.


French Provincial Louis XV White Painted Fruitwood Side Table – Ruby Lane

Henredon French Louis XV Style Marble Top Dressers

Henredon French Louis XV Style Marble Top Dressers

5. Glazing–   A glaze is a translucent binder which less paint pigment is added to produce a look which is somewhat clear with a bit of color.  You can buy glaze mixed together at your local hardware much like ordering paint, or you can buy glaze alone and mix in paint yourself.

The incentive of buying the glaze without paint is you can then use the glaze with a number of other colors without buying a quart of each color you intend to use.  It really comes in handy when you want to use different colors with different furniture.

 Blend & Glaze Decorative Painting Liquid
Ralph Lauren Faux Technique Glaze

How I work with glaze is first to apply it with a chip brush and then take a rag which is slightly damp, (but more towards the dry side), and wipe it off, leaving a faint amount of glaze.

I have found in the past that it is important to really select your rags carefully.  One time I used a black facecloth, and tiny pieces of the black fabric were left behind in the paint.  A white tericloth face cloth doesn’t work well either.  The best idea is to use old tee-shirt rags because they wouldn’t leave any traces of the fabric behind.  Again, experiment and see what works best for you.

I hope I have inspired you to get your hands dirty and try new techniques.  Have fun with your transformations.  It is amazing what just a simple gallon of paint can do for your home and furniture.  You don’t need to spend much to make a big impact.

See how this French Provincial Dresser was refinished on rpkinteriors.blogspot.com

Abbey from Painted Home Goods

French Provincial Furniture By ManciniVintage

French Provincial Furniture By


How To Buy Second Hand French Furniture And Accessories

1950s Vtg French Provincial Commode 3 Drawer Chest by Cassard Chateau Romano NYC

1950s French Provincial Commode by Cassard Chateau Romano NYC – Quality Is Key On Ebay

Vintage French Provincial furniture can look fabulous when it is re-finished.  Chances are you have seen these pieces at thrift stores, garage sales, on craigslist and kijiji that with a little improvement, these pieces can look old and worn to fit into a Provincial decorating theme.

Here are a couple tips to pulling off this look:

1.)  Inspect Before You Buy-

Like any vintage furniture, there are styles and brands that are not worth the money.  Whether you purchase second hand furniture on Craigslist, or a garage/estate sale, open up drawers in cabinets, sit in chairs and lean on tables. Hardwood furniture will allow you to do more with the piece than something with MDF.  You can strip down wood furniture and leave it raw, and pair it with iron hardware, typically seen in French interiors.  Hardwoods such as oak and maple are some of the strongest furniture. Decide if the piece is solid wood, or compressed wood.  Factor that in when making an offer on the furniture.  Even a low quality piece can be transformed, so decide where it is going, and what you plan on doing with it before you invest your hard earned cash.  Laminate and veneer furniture can be beautiful, so don’t discount a piece just because it isn’t solid wood.  Depending on if you plan on stripping, or painting the piece will also determine if the piece will work for the project and placement in your home.

2.  Consider Reupholstering A French Sofa, Chair Or Settee

When looking at french upholstered pieces, consider what they may look like with new fabric.  I have seen sofas as low as $50 dollars, and when you factor in upholstery, you could get the look you want for under $500 dollars.  Investigate the businesses in your area which can either make slipcovers, or give a sofa or settee a brand new look with new fabric.

Vintage furniture has been made with better workmanship and quality products years ago. Instead of passing over an old Louis XV chair at a antique store, think of the potential with it having brand new heavy linen, and distressing applied to it’s frame.

3.  Metal Furniture Is One Of The Staples Of French Style

Wrought iron tables, benches, shelves, and accessories are one of the foundational looks in Provence style. When you stumble across second hand metal furniture,  think of the potential as opposed to how it looks.  Rust can look terrific in an old world home, so if the piece is rusty, and old, it may work out to your advantage.  Metal furniture looks terrific outside, and works great when paired with stone for your interior.

4.  Re-Purpose With An Open Mind

Twin beds can be re-purposed into long benches, or made into a sofa for the patio.  A dresser can be turned into sink for the bathroom.  A long table can be chopped down to be an island for the kitchen.  Look at the bones to see if you can re-purpose it into something else.  Investigate the local wood carpenters in your area to pull off a design that may be a little bit more complicated.

5.  Strip Furniture For A Raw Look

There is nothing more sophisticated than looking at the beauty of wood.  Strip your furniture down to the bare bones, and work with old iron hardware and furniture ormolu to add an upscale French feel.  Heavily distress your pieces by creating dents and dings with heavy iron chains and hammers.  Work with wax or dead flat varnish to seal your wood for a matte appearance.

6.  Dulling Down Brightly Painted Furniture

To achieve that old world appearance, work with brown glaze.  Applying a coat of glaze, can dull down any brighter paint color making it appear more antique than freshly painted. Glaze often comes in a clear mixture which you can tint by adding regular paint to the mix. Brown produces the look of dirt which can make it appear as though the chest is several years old.

How To Glaze:

Buy your glaze in a quart or gallon size, and only pour out the amount I need for a project into a different plastic container. Simply mix in a quart container 75% glaze and %25 percent paint, or less. Brush on the glaze on your dresser, and simply remove with a damp WHITE face cloth a few moments later. After it dries your piece of furniture will have that antique appeal.

Countryside French Provincial Decorating With Iron

French Iron Garden Chairs

Look how they bought an extra set of white cushions and just sewed a back panel out of the same fabric for a cushioned back- So smart!  Countryside Provence Style French Iron Garden Chairs

The theme of iron is one you see quite frequently in old world country French style decorating.  If you are really enamored with the idea of re-designing your home around this style, you need to get rid of all the elements that simply don’t pertain to this style.

While some people enjoy incorporating modern elements into their design, which they call “eclectic” ; to be honest I am not a big fan of it.  I think a style should be pronounced and heading in one direction than a number of directions.

You have no idea how exciting it is for others to see a theme in a persons home than walk into a home that is just like every other home they have seen with a bunch of miss-matched furniture and decor.  Can you imagine how exciting it would be to stay in a rustic log cabin in Aspen, or have a dinner in a formal french restaurant in France?  Themes is perhaps the wrong word to use.  I am not talking about a woman who collects endless kick knacks of all the same theme but rather a particular period style.

If you are modern sort of gal, than run with that style.  If you like Italian looks, your dominate theme should be Italian.  Granted, some of these themes overlap, such as 18th century Tuscan styles and French styles.

There is nothing more exciting that FINDING your style and going after mastering that look inside your personal living space.

Cunningham Rustic Iron Reclaimed Wood Console

How do you do this?

Consider slowly exchanging out furniture that is of a modern design with reproductions or antique finds at garage sales, ebay, craigslist and local thrift stores.

The quest doesn’t need to be costly if you do it over time.

Most people cannot afford to do this all at once, but gradually, it is affordable.

I know for myself, I would buy furniture cheap at thrift stores, auctions and so forth, and sell them for a profit on our local craigslist, and the money I gained from the sale I would invest in new furnishings.   I would sell our previous furniture for a profit, and exchange it out when I came across that was better and more of my period style.


Rustic French Provence Decorating Ideas From Atelier de Campagne

 One thing I have learned, is the power of editing.  I was attracted to a particular style for years, and finally I figured out what period it belonged to, and researched the various elements of that style and ran with it.  The various layers of choosing the right furniture, to the right wall finishes, to the right flooring and textiles, it really has been a fun process for me.  I don’t have a perfect home, and nobody should go on a quest to make decorating their whole life, (family, food storage, and being debt free are things of more importance), but subtle changes with your furniture and the decor can make a big difference.

Getting rid of decor that just doesn’t go with your period style can be freeing.

A girlfriend of mine had a huge garage sale in which she just got rid of all of her rose floral arrangements and colors that she wasn’t decorating around anymore.  It made an impact in her home, and the only reason she hung on to the items is because she spent a lot of money on them.  Isn’t that what happens?  Selling the items you don’t need anymore, can free up money to spend it where you want.

Sometimes LESS is more in a home, and the right appropriate elements can make all the difference in presenting a style, and I guarantee you, it will make all the difference in the world.

Iron is seen a lot in old world French decorating.

One thing I have learned with Provence French Decorating, in compared to Swedish decorating, is that country side French decorating is based around stone and iron, where as Swedish is all based around wood.  In 17th and 18th century Swedish styles, you would see wood plank walls, often painted, and all wood floors painted.  Wood was greatly available in this area of the world, so it is no wonder that every element of this style was based around wood.  In compared to French decorating, stone is a very common theme.  Stone floors, plaster walls, iron wall decor.

If you are wanting the Provence look, consider adding more stone elements in your home.  Consider a tiled floor.  Consider Plaster Wall finishes that replicate the look of stone in some way.  Consider keeping distressed wood furniture, but work with a lot of iron decor.  Put more effort into the architectural elements, and the little furniture that you do have that is French will POP.

Everyone has a concrete basement in America.  Why not look into getting the concrete polished and stained?  Use throw rugs instead of carpet in your basement.   I am sure this idea would cost a lot less than carpet, or even hardwood floors.

If you have a patio, slowly try to collect furniture that has an iron or metal base.  Think out of the box when it comes to this style.  Everyone has seen these vintage sewing machine tables in their local classifieds.  These sort of tables do come up quite frequent and they are listed at bargain prices.  Some even for $20 dollars, depending on the style.  Consider getting a new top made for them, or even take off the existing table top and use the iron to make a long bench for an outdoor table.

Southern Portico’s photostream shows a table that is obviously vintage, but it would transfer extremely well in the countryside French look.

Avescape’s photostream shows a rectangular table that could be used inside or out.  Instead of a glass top, consider re-creating a weathered top made from wood.   Your local home hardware store sells stripes of wood which you can fit and fit with a regular laser beam circular saw for straight cuts or a for rounded tables a jig saw.  All you need to do is some natural distressing, and a rustic wood stain.

Check out This bleached wood furniture on my Swedish Site.

Table TOP Wood SEMI Transparent Stain French Provence

If you do stain your wood, I would highly suggest looking at Behr’s wood stain line in Semi transparent colors.  The color to the left is the solid stains, while the right provide a semi transparent look which I highly recommend.  Wood is beautiful to look at, and staining it in a transparent look, allows you to get the natural wood, while having the wood a shade of the color of your choice. 

I stripped a dresser and stained it using the color Willow Mist, and it turned out perfect.  I think Willow mist is gray while at the same time is WARM than most of the grays which tend to be black.   The Royal Hayden is very French, and could be used along with a white paint which is painted on and wiped off to create a very distressed look. 

I focused above on colors that you would use on a table top, exterior Provence wood shutters would be an entirely different set of colors all together. 

French Provence Style Decorating Using Iron From Tumblr


French Provence Style Decorating Using Iron From Tumblr
Metal Storage Trunks Iron Elaborate
French Provence Countryside Decorating

Circle Set of Two Leather Top Nesting Tables– Featuring leather finish tops with hand-tooled borders on curvaceous iron bases, these nesting tables are a beautiful addition to your decor- $299

Safavieh Winston Black Iron Vanity Bench $155. Black Iron Vanity Bench features a beautiful iron construction and a soft grey cushion

Scrollwork Console Table  With A marble Top-  $310The sturdy base is made of hand forged iron with a curling, scrolled design. The curved brown and white marble top has a beautiful, rich grain, and a beveled outer edge

SEI Iron Blanket Rack-The perfect spot to showcase the heirloom quilt -3 hang bars allow you to hang more than one blanket in view.

Renaissance Wrought Iron Wine Jail – Ornate scrollwork with antique bronze finish evokes the artistry of the Renaissance a fitting setting for your wine. Holds 45 standard Bordeaux-size bottles behind the slide-lock door. $140

Hudson Iron Crib– Beautifully Handcrafted  Iron Crib $700

Antique French Looking Daybed- $1782 This hand forged iron bed by Corsican has a classic style and timeless appeal. Made by skilled craftsmen who uphold a tradition of handcrafted beauty, attention to detail and a commitment to quality.

Iron & Brass Sleigh Bed – Black By Charles P. Rogers – Queen Headboard $800 Iron and Brass Sleigh Bed. Decorative accents are cast by hand directly onto the iron framework in the traditional manner. The crest rail and decorative turning are pure; solid brass with an exclusive antique finish. Stock finishes offer a choice of black with silver highlights or vintage white iron.

Cottage Wrought Iron Day Bed-$475 Made to accommodate any twin mattress it combines the comfort of a couch with the convenience of a spare bed. Offered with an antiqued finish, it is coated with a protective clear lacquer for durability. Double the options with a twin pop-up trundle. Easy to raise and lower with the touch of a lever, it rolls back under the bed for storage. Takes a twin mattress

Set of Three Iron Tables For $65 Dollars

French Rustic Decorating Ideas- Craft Table with Paper Roll Holder by America RetoldProvence Decorating Ideas- Marble Brasserie Table by America RetoldItalia Accent Table Round Top $285– The sturdy four-legged structure provide a steady tabletop, and the hand-crafted wrought iron base with fired copper top create a strong and enduring piece of furniture.- Additional Pieces, Alexander End Table, Console Table,  Dining Table

Set of Three Wrought iron nesting tables with flower design tabletops- Imax $146

Rustic Provence Decorating Ideas - Working With Iron

This beautiful picture featured on Greige Design Blog features a stunning example of Provincial decorating done right. As you can see they have a set of classic French folding wood chairs in a dining room.  You can see it works just wonderful.

These classic rustic french table sets don’t only have to be for the outdoors only.  Here they have a painted gray / beige sideboard with some manicured boxwood plants with primitive decor such as the wood fruit bowl on the table and the deep tray table sitting inside the sideboard.

This minimal approach to decorating works as only the best of furniture and decor pertaining to what would be found in Provence is featured, while the clutter and modern day decor is removed.

Provence Homes With Iron Furniture

– This outdoor Provence home features fold-able french wood chairs along with a rustic wood table.

-An old world feeling is created in this Provence yard with fold-able metal french chairs.

-In this photo we see painted metal furniture in a French Provence setting.

-In this photo, fold-able wood chairs are painted a bright yellow, a classic Provence paint color.

Rustic Provence Decorating Ideas - Working With Iron

Provence Decorating Ideas- Marble Brasserie Table by America Retold

Rustic Provence Decorating Ideas - Working With Iron

French Rustic Decorating Ideas- Craft Table with Paper Roll Holder by America Retold

How To Sell Your French Provincial Furniture On Craigslist

French Provincial Louis XV Style Chair

French Provincial Louis XV Style Chair- Seller Shawnum On Ebay

Many people inherit vintage furniture sets from their parents and they don’t know how much they are worth in today’s market or where to sell them.  I am not an appraiser of furniture, and cannot give a fixed amount for a piece, but I can tell you that French Provincial sets are really popular since Restoration Hardware, Aidan Gray, and Wisteria all sell the same looks for hundreds of dollars.

French Provincial furniture has become a hot commodity with people who are looking for the same looks for a lot less.  Wisteria and Aidan Gray sell french provincial furniture with stunning paint finishes, new linen upholstery, and it really goes to show how these vintage sets can look stunning with a little bit of improvement, modern upholstery and a coat of paint.

For years, as a hobby, I would pick up french provincial bedroom sets and repaint them.  It enabled me to try out new finishes and resell them on craigslist.  For me, I enjoyed the process of learning new faux finishes, but I was also able to gather some valuable lessons in reselling vintage furniture.

From my experience the three main buyers for French Provincial furniture.  There are those who are looking for a set for their children, and the other market is the individual who is looking for additional furniture for their homes, and last but not least, there is the last buyer who turns furniture over for a profit.

The first set of buyers are usually parents of toddlers who have outgrown their baby furniture, and are looking for something beautiful, but within a budget.  Often times they are looking for something freshly painted, which looks like new. Sadly, solid wood furniture can be hard to find, which leads many people to craigslist, ebay and second hand shops which carry vintage quality furniture.  New parents enjoy the first time experience of decorating their children’s rooms, so often times they want something nice, and not used and abused.

In the past I would pick up french provincial dressers, paint them a cream, distress them, glaze them and resell them for around $280 for the typical french provincial dresser.  9 drawer dressers I would price around $320-$340.  These dressers were freshly painted and refinished.  If you are selling a simple vintage dresser without the paint finishes, don’t be afraid of pricing your furniture a little high, which gives you plenty of room to lower your price.  Most new parents want a fresh creamy white set, than any other color.  When I experimented with color at one point, I also noticed some of these buyers moved on to other pieces because they wanted white dressers, not colored pieces.

The second buyer are people who are interested in decorating.  They are looking for French, Swedish or cottage looking furniture to improve their homes.  French furniture has been tremendously popular in all the current magazines.   Since this furniture is not available at an affordable price point, it forces most people to buy it used.

I have noticed that some cities have more french furniture than others.  Port cities will have more french furniture than the middle of the United States.  The bigger cities have a fair bit of nice looking antiques on their local craigslist, and within thrift stores, but every location will vary.  Living in Washington DC, I found I really had to dig around for French Provincial sets, while living in Seattle, more sets would show up monthly.

The third set of buyers are the people who are looking for sets to refinish, and turn over for a profit.  These people can range from the average husband or wife who paints to supplement their income to antique shops with a country wide market.  These buyers are working with budgets, so they will try to get the lowest price possible.

It is important for both buyers to be fair and deal with each other with the utmost respect.  Remember, buying from one another is supporting families not huge box stores with multi-million dollar budgets.   Spring and summer are times where these vintage sets would come out, where as the winter times are slower.

In terms of how much to sell your set for….

Looking through craigslist is a great place to see what other people have their sets marked at.

To do a country wide craigslist search, COPY one of the lines into google search:

french provincial set site:craigslist.org


french provincial dresser site:craigslist.org


french provincial site:craigslist.org

From my own experience, I normally didn’t sell furniture in sets.  The reason for this is many people think twice when a person is asking 1K for a used set, compared to 200 dollars for a piece of furniture.  From my experience, most of my furniture tends to fly out the door around $180-$280.  Beyond the $300 range, people tend to hold back.  Again, start out high, and you will have plenty of room to move around.

French Provincial Dining Sets:

If you have a french provincial dining set with a hutch and a table and chairs, consider selling the table and chairs as one set, and the hutch separately.  In the past I have refinished hutches and sold them for $380.  Depending on the location you can sell them for less or more.

French Provincial tables vary in price.  Round french provincial tables are quite popular and very hard to find.  I have sold only 2 in the past several years.   Many people who have smaller areas to work with love the smaller french tables which work perfectly in a nook, or the house that doesn’t have an official dining room.

Vintage dining room tables donated at thrift stores often have the leaves misplaced, so expect this if you shop at second hand stores.  If you do have a set which does have the leaves, it is worth quite a bit more, than a table which the leaves are missing.  French provincial chairs are also hard to find.  Most often, typical french sets have 5 to 6 chairs.  It is not uncommon to also buy sets with only 4 chairs.

Most of the time I would find sets without chairs and would sell the individual tables for $180- $380.  10 foot provincial tables are hard to find, and would be listed close to $400 or more depending on the style.

Generally in the past I have sold my french provincial tables for around the $180- $380 mark, China Hutches around $340 mark and a set of french provincial chairs $280 for 6 or so, depending on the look.

Pricing furniture on craigslist is much different than having a retail store which typically asks for much more.  French provincial furniture on ebay are often listed by antique stores whom don’t mind listing at a certain price point until it is sold.  In addition, furniture which is antique, is worth more than furniture which is vintage.

French Provincial Bedroom Furniture

Every set is different.  I have seen some sets with 7 pieces, and others with only three pieces.  Some provincial bedroom sets were created for children, and others for adult bedrooms.  One dead give away that a set was originally marketed towards children is they often include a hutch or desk.  Some of the Dixie French provincial furniture often comes with only one nightstand, which I would find frustrating, because most adults like sets of two.  Wood dressers were mostly marketed towards adult sets, but white sets were common for adult sets as well.

I specialized in selling dressers which were repainted, and distressed, and the average price I would ask is $280. Larger dressers I would sell for more, and french provincial sets with serpentine fronts (the wavy fronts), I would sell for much more because they were very hard to find.

Nightstands in my experience, I would sell anywhere from $40- $100 each.   If you have a set of two, they can be a great find for the decorator, or the parent looking to improve their children’s room.

I normally didn’t sell the mirrors with the dressers, because it tends to date the dressers even more.  I would sell off the mirrors by themselves for $40-$60 dollars each.  Many people like the curvy mirrors for their fireplaces than for the dressers.

French Provincial Living Room Sets:

French Provincial upholstered sofas and chairs can be the hardest to sell out of all the sets.  Vintage sets often have spectacular frames, but terrible fabrics.  These sets are often bought by those people who don’t mind putting the work into them to have them slip covered or re-upholstered.  A french sofa from Restoration Hardware can easily cost up to 4K, so these vintage sets are really great for the specific buyer who doesn’t mind investing in the right fabric for their home.  A professional upholsterer can range anywhere from $400 to $2000, so remember that they might be keeping that in mind when looking at a vintage set.  The living room coffee tables and end tables fetch around $60- $100 dollars a piece.  Marble coffee tables can range from $180- $280.  There is a huge market for these pieces because of the style.

Including words like “shabby” or “cottage” “cottage furniture”, “shabby chic”, “painted furniture”, “beach”, “coastal furniture”, “white furniture”, all will call attention to those buyers who specifically look for french furniture.