Painted Antique French Furniture – Examples of The Art of Highlighting


French Antique Furniture

Highlighted French Antique Rococo Style Armoire


Lots of people love the different colours we use on our French furniture at FrenchFinds and lately we’ve had a lot of requests for highlighting. Over the years we have painted a lot of french antique furniture ourselves but have also matched bespoke requests. The term ‘highlighting’ is pretty  self-explanatory but for those of you that want to have gain an insight I would be happy to explain with some examples!

French Antique Furniture

French Antique Carved Highlighted Armoire

What is Highlighting?

Highlighting is essentially the use of contrasting colours to bring out a feature, usually a carving or recess, on a piece of french antique furniture. It is generally used when one single solid colour makes a French antique piece of furniture appear too blocky.

There are many forms of highlighting possible the main types are;

  • Traditional Highlighting, which is the use of a light colour on top of a dark colour in order to bring a detail, carving or feature to the fore;
  • Reverse Highlighting which is the use of a dark colour on top of a light one to achieve the same effect and
  • Sumptuous Gilding which is the application of a fine gold or metal leaf on to any solid surface.

French Antique Furniture

Antique French Highlighted Buffet

What French Furniture is Best for Highlighting?

French antique furniture that lends itself to highlighting is usually something which has some kind of detail, carving, columns, raised surfaces or recesses.

Flat simple pieces make it difficult to make the technique work well but occassionally cheeky tricks like using keylines to divide sections of an item can be used.

Our boffins in the Frenchfinds lab have been using these techniques for quite sometime and we’re incredibly pleased with some of their results;