French Provincial Secretary Desk Shabby Chic Makeover

Painting furniture the same color but with a different finish can completely change the look. Like this curvy little desk. My client asked if I could get rid of the high gloss finish on her white French Provincial Secretary Desk and give it a shabby chic makeover.

It's so easy when you use chalk paint because the lovely matte finish instantly gives a piece that beautiful vintage appearance. Distress it a little and finish with a lovely matte wax and it looks like a timeworn antique.

French Provincial Secretary Desk Shabby Chic Makeover

French Provincial Secretary Desk Shabby Chic Makeover

One of the things I absolutely adore about French Provincial furniture is those lovely curves. I would fill my entire house with this style of furniture. Paired with beautiful glass knobs gives it such a classic look.

French Provincial Secretary Desk Makeover

I've included affiliate links in this post for your convenience so you can see what products I used or recommend for this makeover. See my disclosure policy.

Pictured below is what the desk looked like before with the glossy white finish. Nice enough but definitely lacks any character or charm.

Looking at the photo above you see how just some light distressing gave the desk much more character.

French Provincial Secretary Desk Makeover Before

The desk was painted Old White, a warm white chalk paint from the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint line. But first, the old glossy paint needed to be roughed up a bit with 150 grit sandpaper to give the chalk paint some bite.

Once the paint was completely dry I used 220 grit sandpaper to distress along the edges where it would naturally wear over time.

To protect the paint and give the desk that lovely matte finish, I used clear wax, natural beeswax for furniture also from the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint line.

To give the white paint an aged look I applied dark wax with a round wax brush and removed the excess with a lint-free rag.

French Provincial Secretary Desk Makeover Script Lined Drawers

In the photo above you get a closer look at the lovely glass knobs.

I always enjoy adding an element of surprise to drawers and for this desk, I gave the sides a pop of Sangria Red chalk paint.

Inside I lined the bottom of the drawer with sheets of script scrapbook paper that compliments the secretary desk beautifully. The paper was decoupaged with Mod Podge and also protected with another coat of Mod Podge over the top.

Once dry I gave the paper an aged look by rubbing dark wax over it with a lint-free rag, wiping away the excess. It's important to note that the paper should be protected first before applying the wax.

Quite the difference, right? This was such a quick and easy makeover that can be completed within a day.

I have another secretary desk makeover on the blog that you might enjoy. This one was found on the curb by my neighbor who asked if I'd give her Curbside Rescue Desk a makeover. I also gave a Bombay Co. writing desk with French flair a dramatic Anthropology inspired makeover with layers of paint.

If you have any questions about this makeover feel free to leave them in the comment section below or press the Contact Me button at the top of the blog to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!

French Provincial Shabby Chic Secretary Desk Makeover

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  1. My grandmother was a frequent Bombay Customer and I have the exact same desk. How did you paint this...brush or spray? Any suggestions on how to adequately cover this would be appreciated!

    1. That's wonderful that you have the same desk. I loved this desk so much after the makeover and wished it was mine. I painted the desk with a brush. If yours is the original cherry finish, I would definitely prime it first for two reasons. One, to give the paint some bite over the glossy finish AND to prevent the stain from bleeding through the paint. A the bottom of this page is a link to my Amazon shop where I have listed my favorite primers. Feel free to press the Contact Me button (at the top) if you have any further questions.


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