Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Decorating With Swedish Gustavian White Painted Desks

If you love the relaxed and quite charm of the Swedish Gustavian or even French Farmhouse home, then you already know that adding a piece of white painted furniture is one of the quickest ways to to give your room a Scandinavian face lift. White wood is very common in Swedish Gustavian designs, however all white is not created equal. Let me get this out of the way......I don't mean brilliant white. The white I speak of is a creamy white or one that is slightly grayed.

While I adore the tranquil beauty of all Swedish pieces I am partial to the white painted desks. This blog post features antique desks and secretaries that have been painted white and have that wonderful distressed patina that only time (or a truly gifted faux painter) can accomplish.

Hopefully these images will titillate your treasure hunting taste buds to look for a great Swedish Gustavian desk for yourself or get your creative juices flowing to create your own version. Just make sure you find a tutorial that teaches you how to really accomplish an authentic looking faux finish. This isn't about painting a desk white, beating it up a bit, and then calling it distressed. There is more to it if you want the great patina on an object that creates so much character for a room. But you can do it.......just take time to learn the right way.

The future King Gustav III of Sweden, upon returning home from the French court of Versailles, was so inspired by what he had seen there that he set about to create his own "Paris of the North." The resulting Gustavian style is a pared-back, lighter in color version of French rococo with neoclassical influences and was adopted by the aristocracy of Sweden as well as the common man as the new trend of decor.

The white painted Swedish Gustavian secretary desk is a charming, multipurpose piece of furniture that can be used in infinite ways in every room of your house.

Typically secretaries come in one of two heights, low or high. They both are gorgeous it's just a matter of which style works best for you. The Gustavian white painted desk is elegant and refined yet very rustic and cozy.

White painted desks in the Swedish Gustavian style are the darlings of the antiques show circuit.

The country cousin of Louis XVI style furniture, the white painted Swedish desk has the same great bone structure minus all the fuss.

Cupboards & Roses

This beautiful Gustavian white painted desk is a perfect combination of Swedish restraint and the French decorative style. It is an elegantly calm piece that is very easy to live with in any style interior.

 Furlow Gatewood 

Your Gustavian style white painted desk need not be huge. A small desk like this will add character to a corner or small nook.

To a country that spends a large part of its year with limited daylight ( in December, the average day has 19 hours of darkness) few qualities are desired more than light. The pale colors of the Swedish Gustavian interior with it's white painted desks, furniture, walls and floors are in direct response to this need.

The Swedish aesthetic focuses on a neutral color palette, painted furniture, and a mix of formal and informal elements. This fabulous painted white secretary desk has a much sought after Mora clock built into the side.

A stunning two part Swedish Gustavian white painted secretary desk with soft blue interior accent. Another element that influenced Gustavian furniture history was the Rococo Style. Swedish artisians used some of its design elements, but kept it simpler in design.

Gustavian furniture is often recognized by its carved and tapered legs. If you're not sure what pieces to start with for a Swedish Gustavian style interior a white painted desk is a good choice.

A great patina on an object creates so much character for a room.This Swedish white painted writing desk has a lovely patina and great grey stenciled decoration.

Suzanne Kasler

Antique painted white Swedish slant front writing desk with bracket brace, early 19th Century. The wonderful patina of painted furniture is one reason why the Gustavian look is sought after and desired by many. If you find a piece like this, it is OK to clean it but don't strip or repaint it. The pattern of wear is part of the much desired aesthetic that dealers and decorators swoon over.

via Pinterest

A painted Swedish Gustavian table can easily double as  a desk. White painted furniture (especially distressed furniture) looks great in a vintage farmhouse room.The popular shabby chic style owes it's origins to Gustavian painted furniture.

Although the Gustavian style was initially gilded and reserved for royal palaces in and around the capitol city of Stockholm, the style quickly gained popularity among the general population. A secretary desk like this painted white one would have been a prized possession.

via Pinterest

Pared down and calmly elegant, popularity for white painted furniture like this 18th century Gustavian writing desk spread from the town houses of the well-to-do to rural Swedish country homes where you would see beautifully carved furniture white-washed, or painted in soft greys, blues, or butter yellow.

Add just one white distressed piece like this great secretary desk to your interior and bring instant charm with the look of age.

Charles Faudree

This lovely white painted desk shows how Swedish Gustavian is a restrained interpretation of the French Louis XV and Louis XVI style.

The large secretaries are fabulous but sometime a small, unique, white painted desk speaks volumes and adds a ton of warmth and character to a room. Fluted legs like these are typical of Swedish Gustavian furniture.

Another small white painted desk in this charming Gustavian style bedroom by Lars Bolander

via Pinterest

White and cream distressed furniture gives you the vintage feeling of a room that has been around for centuries. The soft creamy white and palette of soft colors, like the quite gray you see here on the interior portion this desk, is the reason why these Swedish Gustavian painted pieces have the ability to fit within most any home decor.

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Decorating With Skirted Dressing Tables

Historians usually date dressing tables as beginning in the 1690's and from that time forward, throughout the William and Mary period, these vanity pieces were found in profusion. A piece of furniture qualified as a dressing table if it had some sort of accompanying mirror and a place for cosmetics, brushes, other things needed take care of personal grooming.

This post spotlights the skirted dressing table. Whether gathered or box-pleated the feminine skirted dressing table came into vogue in the 1920's. From the 20's to the 40's the decorator advice for girls was to use old curtains or last years party dress to fabricate pretty skirts for their dressing tables.

The idea of a woman’s dressing table being the centerpiece of the bedroom, a little corner of elegance solely her own for adornment,  seems so romantic. Today, skirted dressing tables have reclaimed their place as a decorative statement as more and more women tire of the bathroom or even the sofa as a place to put on their makeup and primp a bit. Even younger women are discovering and embracing their femininity and the skirted dressing table is a perfect way to help create a feminine yet chic bedroom look.

I was surprised as I researched for this article how many of you are looking for tables to buy and tutorials that will help you create your own skirted dressing tables. My advice is to use some restraint and make them chic and classy. Don't go overboard with the lace and ruffles or you loose the refinement and end up with your space too little girly looking. Done right the skirted dressing table is an affordable way to add a touch of elegance to your bedroom.

In France, the dressing table was called a poudreuse. In England it was sometimes called a Beau Brummel for the then prince of fashion, George Bryan Brummell. It is said he took 5 hours to dress and insisted his shoes be polished with champagne. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the dressing table was used by men just as much as by women. Men could keep their hair powders, razors, oils, and combs there.

The skirted dressing table is usually a small explosion of all things feminine as you can see here. Perfume bottles tend to be luxurious and elegant and keeping these pieces on display in little dishes or trays adds a delicate touch to the decor. I love this skirt!

Carefully selected and displayed antique perfume bottles and jars with silver tops adorn this skirted dressing table. The mirrored top makes the crystal and silver even lovlier.

Skirted dressing tables can come in different shapes. Most people think of the kidney shaped table but square ones are pretty too and easier to find.


You can choose to dress you table in several ways. Lace always gives a romantic feel as long as it's not over done. Too much lace gets childish and you lose the allure.

source unknown

This skirted dressing table is soft and feminine and has just a hint of lace. Every dressing table needs one or two pretty lamps. Then go about adding your favorite personal items.

Look for a fabulous antique looking glass. I just had to say that, it sound so much more romantic than mirror. I love the three layers of fabric that that create interest and texture for this beautifully skirted dressing table.

source unknown

I just like the aesthetics of skirted dressing tables. This is more fun than just putting plastic bottles etc. away in a drawer or cabinet. Ditch the plastic and go for glass and silver, ivory or tortoise shell, and feel oh so much more feminine!!!

Some of you prefer a simple and elegant gathered skirt for your dressing table. Cream is the perfect accent for the papered floral walls and chair. Glass or mirrored tops are a lovely throwback to earlier days.

Marie-Caroline Willms EMCI INTERIORS

I adore this cream skirted dressing table and the way it is nestles into that wallpapered corner. The window treatments add to the draped, yet airy, sophisticated look. I think this is the right chair for this table too.

Atlanta-based designer Patricia McLean

You don't actually have to use the skirted table as a vanity. Maybe you just need a pretty side table for lamps, pictures, or other personal items.

Penny Morrison Interiors

This ballerina style skirted dressing table with a profusion of tulle is really pretty and feminine. An antique porcelain tray is a nice addition for organizing vanity items.

Enhance you skirted dressing table with the right seat. There are so many lovely styles to choose from. The curule seat is a good choice. Don't forget those little dress maker details. A trim of tassels on the table is perfection.


If you like pattern you might be inspired to coordinate your skirted dressing table to wallpaper or fabrics in your bedroom. This traditional style kidney shaped table has a gathered skirt and I like the way they have finished the edge. You could even pad it for some extra style.

Skirted dressing tables provide a little space of indulgence and have a feminine way of luring you away from everyday life.

You may have space for a skirted dressing table in your bathroom. This great floral table has lots of dress maker details that finish it off beautifully. Remember those little details speak volumns!

Layers of ruffles may be your desired look like the skirted dressing table in fashion designer Veronica Toub's stylish Paris apartment. They say lightweight fabrics make the best ruffles. I vote for no more than three layers!

You can also have your skirted dressing table fabric smocked like this one to create little rows of pretty pleats.

Box pleats are the right choice if you want your skirted dressing table to have a more tailored look.

via Pinterest

Box pleats seem to look better on skirted dressing tables in bedrooms that mix antique and modern.

Feminine skirted dressing tables are a great way to fill up a nook or cranny.

via Pinterest

Try using a vintage shawl as the top layer of your skirted dressing table. Be creative and find something unique.

There are other many kinds of tables you can add a skirt to and create your own version of the skirted dressing table. Think outside the box!

Ruthie Sommers

They may seem old fashioned to some but there are those of us who think pretty skirted dressing tables can provide beautiful focal points for any bedroom.

Via Pinterest    Jean Harlow in Diner At Eight.

Here is a lady that knew her way around a skirted dressing table. Don't you love the fringe layers? Glamour is sorely missed these days.

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

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