How to get that expensive French chic furniture look on the cheap.


Hope everyone is having a fun and sunny weekend. 

As you know from the last few posts I am still working on pieces for my master bedroom.

Today I am sharing this coffee table that I upcycled this week. 

I was really lucky and got the coffee table for free from a lovely local lady who was selling her house and clearing it out! 

I want to share a few tips on getting that French chic look that you see in the expensive furniture shops. 

I got inspiration from some of the pieces from Laura Ashley and Harvey Norman. 

They have these collections were the bottom of a piece is a cream shade but the top is like a white washed wood effect. 

If you read on in this post im going to share how I achieved the look on the cheap. 

The basics: 

Prep, prime, paint. 

For the legs and parts that are being painted cream I followed those steps. 

Prep- clean and lightly sand with sugar soap. You can buy this in any hardware shop and dealz (poundland) sell it for €1.49. 

No matter how good the paint is nothing will stick to grime and dirt so don’t skip this step! It’s not fun but will stop your piece from chipping. Even when paint says it will stick to anything I still prep. 

Prime- priming is optional. I just prime the “knots” in the pine as these bleed through over time. 

Paint- the fun part! I used three coats of eggshell cream paint. 

Now to get the white washed look. 

To achieve the washed effect on top you need to sand the top back to its original wood as best you can. 

I used a small electric Palm sander and it took me about 20minutes of sanding. 

I just kept sanding until most of the orange stain was gone. 

I really recommend the electric sander so even get a lend of one from a friend or neighbour of you want to try this.

I got this little sander for around €20 in Woodies Diy. 

This is the table painted and the top ready to work on. 

I washed the top with some sugar soap to remove dirt and loose dust from sanding. 

With a tray or pot mix a small amount of your paint with water, mix it together and it will be nice and runny.

I used a larger brush and painted this “white water” on, I worked it into the wood. 

Don’t worry if yours is too dark as you can wet your brush and go over it again. 

If you don’t like the white washed effect you could stain your table top with a dark wood stain which is also very chic. 

The reason I love either whitewashing or staining table tops when up cycling is sometimes when you paint the table top with a colour it can go a bit flat looking.

To seal the top of the table I used a Matt water based varnish! You must seal it so you can easily wipe away any spills or messes and stop them absorbing into your new paint job. 

I am almost finished the bulk of the work in my master and once finished il do a post with lots of pics x 

(Ignore the ugly vent in the corner, I’m going to get a new white one from hardware shop) 

To break up the white I have been using antique pink and the Greeny grey colour of cabinet is a shade called frozen fountain that I used on my kitchen presses and looks fab with the pink. 

If you missed it over on Instagram, I shared this fab love light up sign that I picked up in pennies (primark) and a steal at €20! 

Let me know what you think and if you are going to have a go yourself! 

I love sharing these how to posts as I believe everyone can have the home they dream and you don’t need a massive budget either. 

Tag me in your projects over on Instagram @daintydressdiaries 

Chat soon,





  1. Emmalin 2
    August 25, 2018 / 8:35 am

    I found your this post while searching for information about blog-related research … It's a good post .. keep posting and updating information.Online home shopping site India

  2. Tom Brady
    April 5, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    Wow! I love wooden furniture. And i also love this article. I will wait your next posts. Please! Share with me… woodworkingtoolkit

  3. The dainty dress diaries
    January 29, 2016 / 12:39 pm

    Aw that will look fab! Tag me in a pic on Instagram when you paint would love to see

  4. Maximum Cleaning
    January 29, 2016 / 5:23 am

    I like the color combination very much. Very gorgeous and wonderful! I'm planning on painting my old round wood dining table and Wheel back chairs to modernize and lighten them.

  5. Anonymous
    November 27, 2015 / 12:46 pm

    I have read your article post. Thank's for tips sharing. Informative and interesting which we share with you so i think so it is very useful and knowledgeable. I would like to thank you for the efforts. I am tiring the same best work from me in the future as well. Anyway, you can go to my woodworkingbuddy blog and see some tips for woodworking.

  6. The dainty dress diaries
    October 21, 2015 / 1:28 pm

    Hi Anthony, thank so much for your input and comment. I agree that some pieces are best left untouched. I have a gorgoues antique singer machine that I wouldn't dare touch. This is the style of furniture I like in my house so I like them painted as this is the look a love in my home.

  7. Anthony
    October 20, 2015 / 6:13 pm

    I would not paint either pieces. Though I like a combo of painted and wood furniture together. I also have inherited pieces I like to leave as is, if in good condition. toolsadvisors

  8. The dainty dress diaries
    June 29, 2015 / 8:06 am

    Thanks so much Siobhan!

  9. Siobhan Wyatt
    June 28, 2015 / 6:54 pm

    Catherine you did an amazing job on it! Love it Siobhan xx

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