Pair of Regency White-Painted and Parcel-Gilt Armchairs
Some of the nicest designed interiors base their homes around well chosen antiques that reflect the owners style. Many times these homes let the architecture speak for itself, and the furniture is often showcased.
A kitchen which has beautiful cabinetry doesn’t need a dozen accessories, but rather one masterpiece bowl sitting on the counter. A minimal approach to decorating works well.
For the longest time, I gravitated away from white paint on furniture, because I have seen too many times how horrible “shabby” white furniture looks, but on empire or regency furniture, it can look fabulous in a satin sheen. Often times, people can go wrong with choosing the wrong white for a piece of furniture. The style of furniture, determines the finish. Would you ever paint an arts and crafts mission style chair a bright white? Perhaps with a modern twist, but most of the time, country furniture is seen distressed finish.
Brighter whites look very appropriate on Modern Regency styled pieces. Designers such as Draper, Wearstler, and Adler, are designers who showcase glamorous high gloss lacquer in their approach to white furniture.
Off white looks sensational on primitive furniture with a color which has beige or yellow undertones. I remember the first time I tried spray painting a piece of furniture in Heirloom white, I was amazed at how nice my piece of furniture looked in WHITE! The right white can make a piece look terrific. For Colonial pieces, bright white wouldn’t look natural. Duller whites, or yellow whites would fit into the period styles better.
Swedish furniture from the 18th century is never a stark white, rather with white with gray or blue undertones. Many times Swedish furniture is seen heavily distressed, in which the wood and the paint combination create a beautiful intrigue.
Empire Mahogany and White Marble Console
Northen Italian Empire Sofa
An Empire white and grey paint and partial gilt boiserie mirror
White in my opinion has never looked better in my opinion on on Empire furniture. The additional furniture mounts or carved details are accented in brass or gold leafed makes the white paint even more special to look at.
In this photo by William Hodgins you can see two terrific chairs, one which I think is actually a very light white- gray, but in the picture they show as white. The one chair is upholstered in a animal print where as the other chair is upholstered in a blue silk dot on white fabric. Both chairs are terrific examples of how a piece of furniture can be the focal point of a room.
Again, a frame is painted in an off white and they chose a butter yellow upholstery fabric for the seats and the back rest. The furniture mounts add an extravagant touch which really makes this chair appear high end. Yellow can be extremely vibrant and a brilliant choice to base an interior around. Not only is it bright but very striking to look at.
Patterned fabric paired with a Regency or Empire chair can look very rich. Choosing something as basic as a white and yellow, or a yellow and gray, or a yellow and black pattern can make a chair look like a piece of art. Adding carved wood appliques which are spray painted in gold and finished off with gold leaf is away of adding extra dimension to your antique chairs.
Here are my top three fabric choices for decorating with yellow against a white frame: