French Linen Console

By Kate Riley November 28, 2012

I was feeling sentimental about an old piece of furniture I’ve had for many years and couldn’t get rid of it.  I remember purchasing it when we were first married at Bombay Company and back then I was really into traditional dark wood furniture.  (Actually, I still am!)  Anyway, this old console table sat in our entryway for years and then I got tired of it and stored it in our garage but I couldn’t bring myself to part with it since I still kinda liked it, if only for old time’s sake.

I was looking around our living room last week and I was thinking “that one wall sure could use a skinny console table” and then I remembered, oh yeah, I have one.  But I wasn’t fond of the dark wood anymore, I wanted a medium shade of gray (predictable, right?) so that’s what it got.  A new coat of paint in ‘French Linen’.

console before and after


It was nice in dark wood, but I didn’t love it in dark wood and that’s the key really if you don’t love it, paint it.  So I did.  And now it totally works and it’s looking fab in sophisticated gray with gold detail.  This month it’s looking all cute holding some seasonal decor where it sits on the wall catty corner to the fireplace.

french linen gray console centsational girl


Here’s the quick play by play on its makeover.  I always lightly sand everything I paint to get rid of any debris – no need to get rid of all the varnish or top coat, just a little scuffing works best.

lightly sand


Wipe it down and get painting!  I used AS Chalk Paint in ‘French Linen’ with what was leftover from the apothecary chest that sits on the other side of the space.  (If you use Chalk Paint or Milk Paint you don’t have to prime first, but if you use latex or enamel paint, you do have to use primer first, more on that here.)

chalk paint


I’ve used AS Chalk Paint enough to know it’s durable and easy to apply.  I love that it’s a perfect “I feel like painting indoors” kind of paint since you don’t have to drag your piece outside to prime it you can just grab a beverage and start painting which is really one of my favorite things to do in life, drinking something tasty and slapping on paint.

chalk paint and purdy


I enhanced the little medallion detail and feet with another favorite product, Rub ‘n Buff in ‘Gold Leaf’ applied with a small artist’s brush.

gold leaf rub n buff

 dry brush gold leaf


After two coats of paint, I used the AS Clear Wax as a protectant (although Briwax and Johnson’s Clear Wax work too).  I use a soft cloth to apply it and then buff it out.

as clear wax


More detailed furniture makeovers in the gallery including my favorite paints for furniture.  Here’s what the console table looked like last week, kinda plain and old fashioned.

table before


I much prefer it in gray.

french linen gray console

Gotta love when you can use what ya got, right?


For the wall, I created this ‘Joy to the World’ print and framed it in 11 x 14” after printing it at my local Costco for a few bucks.

joy to the world print


If you’re interested in printing one for yourself, here are a few more colors!

joy to the world printables

Download them here:   BLUE GRAY   /   PINK   /   RED  /   GREEN


Sources: the wall paint color formula is here, the story on the DIY picture frame wainscoting is here.  The gold basket holds branch clippings from my neighbor’s tree removal (score!) and it belongs to a set I bought from Joss & Main over the summer.  The white branch tree I found on clearance at Beverly’s Crafts two years ago, the hammered gold base vase was a clearance find from Tarjay.




  1. Nice! What was the purpose of the soft wax? Is that used instead of like a varnish or something? When should you use soft wax?

  2. Lovely! It’s a beautiful shape-I see why you never gave it up. The paint really transformed it beautifully.

  3. The new color looks beautiful! I too have a slight obsession with gray. Thanks for the print :-)

  4. Love that entire set up. Beautiful, yet simple and elegant. I tend to go overboard with too many items when decorating for the holidays. This was a good reminder that you can express yourself with less as well. Thanks for sharing your print. I will definitely find a place for one in my home this season.

  5. Inspiring! I have the almost the same console from Bombay, must be the younger, smaller brother of your table. :)

  6. Oh I love it! I am alwasys back and forth about whether to paint old, but really nice wood, or not. I know if you don’t love it the way it is, you should paint it! I think it really worked out well here!

  7. Gorgeous, Kate! I have a couple of old tables from Bombay, too. Honestly, their furniture was inexpensive but it’s held up really well in my house of three boys! I painted a Bombay chest for my guest room earlier this year; now I’m thinking that another piece should go under the brush. :)

  8. It looks beautiful but then again lately everything painted with Annie Sloans paints is looking gorgeous! I too just finished some days ago an old Bombay Co Queen Anne Console in Old White and Old Ochre…love it! Just today finishing a Bombay Writing Desk and cabinet in Coco and Antoinette with stenciling….love it love it love it! so thrilled with my “new furniture” .

  9. Kate I love how this turned out. I really want to do a piece of furniture I have, but I just haven’t gotten up the courage to do it. One day, one day! You always make it look so easy. :)

  10. Hi Kate,
    I am in the middle re-painting our guest bedroom night stands. And you are right, I must say Milk Paint is so wonderful to work with. I do not have to use primer just sand down the piece lightly and the paint soaked in beautifully. I also love the finish looking when it dries. I never do this before but I really enjoy doing it. There will be many more furniture to paint.

    By the way, I love the new look of your french console. You always styling it beautifully ! Can you tell me what other milk paint or chalk paint out there for me to use in the future ? I am using Missmustardseeds paints right now. Thank you !

  11. The whole vignette is really wonderful. I love the gold detailing and brass(?) feet that you left alone. Just beautiful. That reminds me…I need to finish decorating!

    • Hi Bonnie, the Behr, Glidden, and Martha Stewart paints at Home Depot are mostly latex, some are enamel, but the enamel are probably oil based enamel. The ingredients are just different but you need primer for those, the Milk Paints and Chalk Paint have a special bonding agent built in which means you can skip primer, they are specifically designed for painting furniture whereas the latex paints are more universal and usually used on walls, the enamel paints are for trim and doors but I also use them for furniture (with a coat of primer underneath). Hope this helps!

  12. Love love it in the gray, I have a Queen Anne Low boy that I want to paint a cobalt blue or navy!! I have had it for years and it is a nice piece, just needs too look a bit more current!! Your piece turned out lovely and your Christmas vignette is perfect,

  13. I am SO fired up that you posted this! I JUST painted a too-brassy mirror frame with French Linen and then I painted two other picture frames, but left some of the gold detail exposed – I was wondering whether or not it looked right and now I know that it DOES! Thanks so much!

  14. Hi Morgan, if you download or save the image to your desktop you can upload it to a photo printing site like Costco!

  15. Love the new look! It looked great the other way too. I have pieces that I’m attached to also. Like a walnut 4 post bed my parents gave me when I was 16. Just can’t part with it..and after refinishing it for my home when I got married, I can’t bring myself to paint it either!

  16. wonderful, as always! I’ve been meaning to find something i can paint in french linen. Hey, are you going to make an appearance at Miss Mustard Seed’s Petaluma book signing? I’m ditching work for this one :)

  17. This post speaks to a debate I’ve been having with myself for awhile about whether to paint the console table in my front hallway. It’s perfect for the space and was my first auction purchase so there’s sentimental value. The tone of the wood is really nice but I’m not sure that it goes with the overall style in my house or the other wood tones I have going on. I’m really torn on this one! Thanks for sharing your makeover, Kate.

  18. This is just gorgeous Kate, you did it again :) I’ve been married for a year and a half and I’m already over a few of the dark wood pieces we bought early on. Maybe I’ll show this to my husband for inspiration :)

  19. I love what you did with the console – however, I am not usually a fan of chalk paint b/c I prefer a “high gloss” look (which is why I have never used chalk paint) – is it possible to achieve some gloss with chalk paint if one does not distress and uses a glossy top coat?

  20. And the Bombay Company is back! I saw them on Joss and Main, i think. We have a few pieces from there, too. Your table looks lovely!

  21. Kate, I love it! It looks so fresh and contemporary. And the gold pops so much more against the grey than it did against the dark wood. I’m still in the process of converting all our original dark furniture to something that’s more “me” now :)

  22. I pinned this on Pinterest first, then hopped over to your blog and now see that YOU painted it. Love it!

  23. I like the grey color better also and it makes the table more modern with the gold trim.
    Also your family pictures are nice too
    Thanks for sharing

  24. As much as I love painted furniture, and plan to do some myself, in this case, I prefer the brown stained wood. At least in the photographs, it appears to have a beautiful patina. Maybe I’m just not a fan of grey the overall look of the vignette is stunning though.

  25. The table is just beautiful. I love how it blends with the entire room! Thanks for sharing the Joy to the World. I have plans to print one! Dianntha

  26. Gorgeous! I love the decor on top and basket of logs underneath. You have such amazing style that I always love! Thanks for giving me some ideas for my Christmas decor, and thank you for the printable!

  27. Its a new breath of fresh air repainting! I keep picking up gray paint chips. I know a transformation is coming soon! And thank you for my “Joy to the World” print. I will add this next to the tree!

  28. While I love this idea and really enjoy your beautiful blog I sort of preferred the table pre-paint. That being said I’m probably a little older than a lot of your readers and I remember in the late 60’s and 70’s my mom finding beautiful old antiques covered with paint because of a similar trend years before that- if it moves, paint it. And I predict the same de – painting in about 4-6 years. Along with a major trend away from wallpaper..again. What’s old is new again, you can always count on that.
    That being said I love the care you take with your readers to explain details and inside tips- your photography posts are wonderful!

  29. I love this table and the touches and accents of gold. The vignette on the top of the table is beautiful and goes so nicely with the table. You do such great things.


  30. Looks fresh! I bet using some of AS gilding wax would enhance some of the detail of the piece too!

  31. I must say I cringed a little when I saw that lovely console table in its original state but when I saw the repainted piece in your room I had to admit it was beautiful! Thanks for the tutorial on repainting.

    • Ha! Thanks Judy, yes I do resist the urge to paint really great quality dark wood especially true antiques, they retain more value in their original wood state.
      Thanks for the sweet comment!

  32. You got married at Bombay Company??? (when we were first married at Bombay Company)..Sorry Kate..the way you worded that made me laugh..As for the table..I love the gray much better and it goes perfectly in that room..

  33. Kate–I just love your sensibility (AND centsational-ability) to demystify process (step by step) and cause us to look at our old stuff with fresh eyes. You’re a highlight of each day’s opening of my email!

  34. Hi Kate… I think you’ve got a little typo up above…(not that it would be worth a post normally) but it’s one of those rare typos that actually changes what you were saying… lol. It says you “do” need to use primer with ASCP. I’m sure you meant to say “don’t” but I thought I’d point it out in case any people were new to chalk paint.

    I’m one of the gals from Chalk Paint Divas…… where people post, share ideas, and ask questions about chalk paint (all the brands and homemade), so if you have readers who want to try ASCP but have questions as they start using it, or just want more info, feel free to send them our way. Thanks a million! You’re blog is my ALL TIME FAVORITE!!

    • Hi Alison, it read “if you don’t use Chalk Paint or Milk Paint then you do have to prime”, but you’re right the sentence was confusing if read quickly so I spelled it out more clearly, thanks for the heads up!
      And thanks for sharing your Chalk Paint FB page, it’s a great place to ask questions if you’re new to the product. I so appreciate your sweet comments and the link!!!

  35. What a great update for your table! The entire entryway is beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I love it!

  36. That console table is wonderful and I love what you have done with it. We have a couple of pieces from Bombay – they had great pieces in my opinion and I was really bummed that they went out of business.
    Thank you for sharing you talent with us!!

  37. Wow! I have that exact table and though it has seen better days, I’ve never considered painting it, before. :)

  38. Kate,
    Could you please let me know what the wall color you used is? It’s exactly what I am looking for and looks gorgeous with this piece, thank you!

    • Hi Ashley, all the paint colors in my house including that one are listed on the “paint colors in my house” tab in the sidebar!

  39. I saw this today in my email and had to comment. This is simply and elegantly beautiful! This gray table really works and what a perfect juxtaposition of the gray-ish wood and metallic gold basket.
    Simply eye candy.

  40. Love your site! Is the ‘Joy to the World’ print download available in the blue background that you used? Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful ideas.

    • Hi Jan, it’s the BLUE GRAY version, it looks more gray on the screen but it prints the same color as the one I used.

  41. I love the console!! The gold details are amazing! We bought a really great heavy old armoire for cheap and can’t wait to paint it like you did! I love the entire room with the chair, rug, basket, etc. So pretty and elegant!

  42. Hi!
    I just came across this post and noticed you wrote it a long time ago! I have this exact same table and came across this and I’ve been wanting to paint this table as well due to it’s color. I wonder has the paint changed, do you know? You said you used french linen but when I look on the Annie Sloan website, french linen looks really beige not grey at all.


  43. Oh my goodness, I have the exact same Queen Anne console table from the Bombay Company. I am currently chalk painting it a cream colour. I like the idea of enhancing the metal detailing with gold paint. I was hesitant to paint over the metal detail thinking it might look to homogenous. I love how yours turned out. Beautifully done <3

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