Lacquer Love and a Little Makeover

By Kate Riley July 13, 2010

I’m have a love of objects that project glamour, and lately white lacquer is on my mind.  There’s something about the glossy smooth surface and clean lines that had me wanting to incorporate this very modern look in our bedroom.   

For example, this white Parsons desk had me thinking it was the perfect bedside table.

house beautiful white lacquer parsons desk House Beautiful


so did this white console table. 

bedding via eos 2 via Elements of Style


How lovely is this white lacquered desk ?

Traditional Home


I’m loving this buffet in this foyer

house beautiful white lacquer buffet House Beautiful


This sideboard is striking against the mocha grasscloth, dark walls and floors.

 palmer weiss lacquer sideboard Palmer Weiss


And this low coffee table certainly creates a modern feel in this living room space.

white lacquer coffee table decorpad via Decorpad


Another white lacquer coffee table at the beach

arch digest white lacquer table Architectural Digest


I was drawn to white lacquer to balance the traditional dark wood in our room ~  I really love the Parsons collection from West Elm, but none of these fit quite right next to our bed.   

 west elm parsons collection


To get my lacquer fix, I settled on a pretty little green tray from West Elm.  In lieu of a shiny white lacquer end table, I shopped my house and found this piece instead. 

My new lacquer tray sits on top of my ‘new’ glossy white nightstand . . .


cg draper dresser knock off in white 

You’ll recall I repainted this Dorothy Draper knock off in blue and white last summer for the guest space ~  read all about it in this post.  But this little chest wasn’t getting used in there, and I needed a new nightstand, so repurposed it in our room instead.  I gave it two coats of Rustoleum’s ‘Gloss White’ spray paint, a new favorite, and then hand painted the detail with an artist’s brush and three coats of champagne gold paint (a custom blend) ~ now it’s so very glam in our room ! 

* Reader inquiry: Yes, this piece has already been primed and painted with oil based formulas, so it was safe to go over it with more oil based spray paint.  See the original makeover here

More master mini makeover details coming soon.  Meanwhile, what’s your feeling about lacquered furniture, do you love it or loathe it ?  Is it chic and bold, or way too cold for your taste?   Do share your thoughts !!  




  1. I purchased the parson’s desk this year and have to say I never thought I would be in love with a desk so much! It just is a very classic and versitle look! Great pics and inspirations!

  2. I’m really starting to embrace it as well! I used to shy away from it because it seemed so “factor-finished” to me but now… I like the shine and it’s really easy to clean :) With kids around its important that things be functional, easy to care for and STYLISH! Great post, I love your nightstand and gold is another thing that has been catching my eye recently!

  3. I am in love with the laquer but it doesn’t really fit my house. Perhaps an accent like you have would work, but the look doesn’t seem to go with all my ancient wood. What beautiful pictures to inspire anyone. Great piece in your bedroom, love the detail of gold.

  4. Rustoleum’s ‘Gloss White’ spray paint, I’m off to the hardware store to pick some up today. I have a campaign style side table that needs to be painted. Fabulous job.

  5. Used in small doses I think laquer pieces add a nice pop to a room. I’m inspired by the fact that you are willing to redo a piece just to move it to another room.

  6. the little chest looks great in its new colors! i loved it before, too. i like lacquered furniuture because it can really help reflect light and make a space seem larger and brighter. i don’t have any in my home, but i do appreciate it. :)

  7. i really like the white laquer photos you posted. personally, i love to mix it with other textures because we are in a 1920s bungalow, all laquer looks too modern compaired to the rest of our cottage decor. i would LOVE to see a home with photos like you posted above though, so clean and classic! my favorite are the first House Beautiful and Elements of Style using whites and browns… i don’t want summer whites to be out yet, still enjoying summer, but browns and whites will be great for late summer and fall!

  8. I saw an Ikea hack on how to recreate those West Elm tables from the Parsons Collection. They took two Ikea lack 7.99 tables and put on bottom and one top. When I find the link I will share with you. Maybe you could make them without the huge price tag.

  9. I think it works great in rooms like the ones you’ve showcased. The rooms are not filled with lacquer. One piece seems to do the trick. ;) Love the green you chose, and I bet the nightstand looks great in your room!

  10. I love glossy white lacquer…so easy to care for, so pretty, so shiny. I wanted the mini-desk for a bedside table too, but it didn’t fit in the space. Instead I hacked an Ikea children’s table and put longer legs on it and painted it white for a similar look…but its not shiny like the lacquer. Love the nightstand you did :-)

  11. This looks fabulous, and I thought I recognized that dresser, but something looked different. It is stunning! Enjoy seeing it everyday now…Janell

  12. In luv it, now you have me thinking about it, who am I kidding I have to put something out to put anything in:)

  13. Great inspiration pics! The foyer is my fave, and I like the circle room divider thingies in the background! I love lacquer, it reads very mod to me! Can’t wait to see your room!

  14. I love the look, although I don’t own any. I think one or two pieces looks good in a room, any more and it would be too much for my taste.

  15. When you use spray paint on wood pieces, do you prime first? If so, do you use a spray paint primer?

  16. I love lacquered furniture, especially in white! I recently purchased the mini Parson Desk from West Elm (on sale for $130 might I add) and coincidentally it is right next to my bed. It has completely transformed my bedroom and the glossy sheen brightens the corner perfectly. Great inspirational photos!

  17. Ooohhh…you have totally inspired me. I am about to paint a lamp that Rustoleum Glossy White. But I think I’m going to have to spray paint my dresser as well. Gorgeous! Love it!

    And THANK YOU! Although…I have to ask the same question as Lynne…should I prime first???

  18. Fabulous! I’m a fan. I’ve been contemplating turning my IKEA Malm bed into a white laquered masterpiece, similar to the CB2 Andes bed.

  19. I could definitely go for lacquered accessories (lamps, trays et al) but am not sure I’d invest in a large furniture piece.

  20. Hi Lynne – the spray paint I use is oil based, and raw wood soaks it up well, however, I always prime furniture first (unless I’m going for that distressed look). This particular piece had already been primed and painted with oil based spray paints, so it was perfectly safe to go over it with another coat of oil. Great question.


  21. I was in Hong Kong last week and there was a store I happened into that did the most amazing lacquered furniture. It was stunning in the most edible colours…LOL. Just made me drool. Then you post this…are we going to see a trend?

  22. wow! how very handy you are!! it’s fabulous!


  23. I love it! It looks great…I can’t believe you did all that trim yourself ;) I love laquered furniture when I’m buying it as is, but I’m always too afraid to try it when I’m painting something myself…and spray painting anything isn’t my most comfortable task :) I’m impressed by everything you do!

  24. Lacquered furniture is not for me. I’m ok with accent pieces (like the tray), but not furniture.

  25. Great post! I love lacquered pieces, and love the eclectic look of traditional pieces treated with that delicious, so-shiny-it-could-still-be-wet look. I am really starting to love it in unexpected, juicy colors, too. BTW – I linked you in my new blog! You are a true inspiration; I hope you can stop by to check it out!

  26. I just painted all my daughter’s furniture in high gloss white. Looks so good! I’m heading to Paris today and blogging about all I see there. I’m sure I’ll be finding lots of decorating ideas!

  27. Hey, I just awarded you with the blog with substance award! I love everything you do! Congrats!
    Stevie at: Home is Where My Heart is :)

  28. I love that parson’s desk!
    Your dresser looks great – I love the gold on it. I’m about to sand all the gold off of a nightstand, though.

  29. White laquer is really beautiful. I love the use of the white laquer table as an end table. Great pictures!!!!

  30. Firstly I would like to say that I am VERY jealous of your Dorothy Draper chest! and that I have also been struck by the lacquer bug lately! I was given a side table that is obviously needing some tlc and I think it would look great in white lacquer. I have never tried this look before so am very excited!! Would love to see more of your selections!!

  31. I really like the look of the laquer…it’s so clean and fresh looking…
    Didn’t even know what laquered furniture was till I came here though…learning something new from you everyday Kate!


  32. Shut up! :) I’m laughing because I just ordered a white lacquered desk from ZGallerie today for my office. It’s very similar to the one you pictured from traditional home. And, since my office is going to be white, yellow, with black or brown, I also have the yellow tray from West Elm:) I really love what you did with your dresser (both times) and think it’s awesome that you shopped your house to find that new addition.

  33. Hi Kate! I purchased a chest today that I am planning to lacquer-up and wanted to ask a quick question about the oil-based paint you used. Do you find that it is sensitive post-drying? That is, easily nicked or affected by an erroneous water glass? I want to use the most resilient paint that I can so that this piece lasts! Thanks!

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