Design Fixation: Metallic Finishes on Furniture

By Kate Riley February 1, 2010

I go through these phases where I obsess over certain design elements and can’t get them out of my head until I incorporate them into my own home in some way. 

Lately, I’m fixated on metallic finishes on furniture.   Whether it’s silver leaf, gold leaf, gilded, antiqued, painted or pearlescent, honey if it shimmers and shines and has great lines, I am drawn to it. 


german silver bowfront chest wisteria German Silver Bowfront Chest , Wisteria


tara dennis silver leaf chair Silver Leaf chair transformation, Tara Dennis 


silver and black chair lordandlama Silver painted chair, Lord & Lama


borghese buffet z gallerieAntique Silver Paint & Mirrored Borghese Buffet, Z Gallerie


taupepaintnightstand  Taupe and silver painted nightstand, local antique fair


silver leaf dresser decorpad Silver Leaf dresser, Decorpad


Silver spray painted side table, Craftynest


gray and silver nightstand Painted silver nightstand, source unknown


 lucy willow silver end table Lucy Willow Bombe Chest


dorothy draper white laquer cabinet 1st dibs Dorothy Draper lacquer and silver leaf cabinet, 1st Dibs


silver chest horchowAmbella Silver Finish Chest, Horchow


mirrored chest anthropologie Mirrored & silver finished dresser, Anthropologie


hourglass sidetable horchow Aluminum Hourglass Side table, Horchow


silver dresser baby changing my lux baby Silver Chelsea Dresser Bratt Decor, Layla Grace


baby cradle bratt decor Antique Finish Silver Cradle, Bratt Decor


gold gilt silk chair notonhighstreet Gold Gilt Library Chair, NotOnHighStreet




gold leaf chairs decorology nuevo estilo Gold Leaf Chairs, Neuvo Estilo


trina_turk_los_angeles_table_dolphin_by_kelly_wearstler_detail Trina Turk Boutique, design by Kelly Wearstler


kelly wearstler gold chair and mirror Design by Kelly Wearstler




vintage dresser sfgirlbybay antique silver Distressed Silver Finish Dresser, Fabulous Pieces on Etsy


Then there is this incredible pair of nightstands thanks to Jenny over at Little Green Notebook.  You MUST see this tutorial – it’s my absolute favorite transformation that I’ve seen in the past year.

little green notebook silver leaf dresser Silver Leafed Nightstand, Little Green Notebook


What are your thoughts on metallic sheens in furniture and accessories ?  Gloriously glamorous, shamelessly shiny, or terribly tacky ? 

I happen to think in just the right space, one shimmery piece can be absolutely fabulous !  Do share your thoughts too.


  1. I love them!… As is evident by all the spray painting I’ve been doing on our hand-me-down pieces. I looooove “satin nickel” spray paint right now but MAN would I love to do something myself like the first photo you featured – soSo glamorous!

  2. Great post! I can’t wait to see what you end up doing. I totally LOVED the feature of the green notebook piece. I’m loving the idea and the look. I might have to try it out myself.

  3. Oh, I’m with you on the shimmer, silver, reflective — whether it be furniture, chandeliers, vases or I’m even considering my kitchen cabinet uppers! Good post for eye candy!

  4. I suppose it could be tacky if not done right, but that’s not the case with any of these! Love the examples you’ve shown and would love to have a metallic finished piece in my own home. The Little Green Notebook’s nightstands are fabulous!

  5. Love love and have always loved metallic shiny pieces. The Little Green Notebook tutorial has my wheels turning.

  6. I think one piece could be perfection, but a roomful would start to look like Donald Trump’s apartment. ;) I liked the side table and a few of the nightstands. They wouldn’t fit in with the whole “look” (or lack of look) in my house right now, but I sure do like ’em!

  7. I absolutley love the mirrored look, i have shopped around for a bedroom set and they are usually pricier than most furniture. Not tacky at all- love it!!

  8. Me too, I have been all over silver finnishes lately. I love that you can take a victorian chair, silver leaf it and turn it into a fabulous modern yet warm addition to your decor!

  9. Absolutely stunning! I’ve never thought that I’d be brave enough, but seeing these pictures has made me gain enough courage to attempt something similar. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. I too loved that makeover that Little Green Notebook did. So inventive, and the result is fabulous! I am trying to decide where I could fit something that shiny in my house… they are captivating little pieces. :-)

  11. I painted accent walls in my home with the Raulph Lauren Regent Metallics Paint. Love it! Also I’ve been drooling over the Borghese line from Z Gallerie for two years now!

  12. In the right home and the right piece I think they can be stunning. I love the beautiful pieces shown in the tutorial. Gorgeous. Hugs, Marty

  13. Jenny did such an amazing job on those nightstands. Im totally in awe of that b/c silver leafing is not easy nor could I even get a square inch to be so silky and smooth as she did over the entire piece.

    Her version is my favorite ever.

  14. yes I am loving these finishes. I really want to redo my china cabinet with a pewter finish. Its like another neutral but with a pow! I want to silver leaf(or maybe paint metallic, not sure yet how lazy I will end up feeling) a large wooden framed mirror that I have… i will post the transformation when its done on my blog. thanks for gathering all these great inspiration photos!

  15. I think if done tastefully it can really be a show stopper. My girlfriend painted one piece of furniture with silver leafing. She incorporated the leafing on the stencil on one wall. Very lightly going over certain parts of the stencil with the leafing. It looks increadible just like wallpaper!

  16. I think they are fabulous! I may just have to give the silver leafing a try. So beautiful! Thank you for the inspiration!

  17. Love, love, love the creamy whites eith the glossy shimmer in them. I want to go right his minute and paint all my bedroom furniture in it.

  18. I love the metallic.. I think I would get sick of it quick though. It is so huge right now, I see metallic everything these days.

  19. Awww! Thanks so much for the love!!

    You should totally try silver leafing! It’s really not that hard once you are in a rhythm. And you are such an amazing DIYer, I’m sure you’ll put my night stands to shame!

    Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  20. ok! so I have totally been wanting to try this on a thrift store piece I bought a while back-but soooo afraid it will look “cheap”. Its in my dining room and I have a very large mirror above it that I silver antiqued a few months back. I may need to find a tutorial on this before I move forward. *eeek!*

  21. I was drooling over Jenny’s transformation too. I have a little buffet in my dining room that would look fantastic with a similar finish, but the doors have caned insets and I’m not sure how they’ll accept paint, so I’m a little scared to try…

  22. Love them all especially the baby crib – always wanted the metallic finish on furniture but never will to pay the price – will check out the tutorial.

    Oh and love your blog, check out my blog for a Valentine GIVEAWAY.


  23. I love this look. My boyfriend isn’t a big fan but I figured I could make my guest room look like this one day. I never thought about a baby nursery being this flashy but I love the image of the baby cradle. All of these are beautiful!

  24. Well this coming from a ADOS person (Attention Deficit Oh SHINY) I love a metallic finish. I found 4 gorgeous Henredon dining chairs for $40 on Craiglist and they are currently black with gilt accents – I have determined they would be perfect done in pewter – so I love it and think it would work fabulously in your house – always in limited quantities but with eclat :)

  25. I agree I LOVE little green notebooks nightstand re-do! It was perfect – I love ‘the silver leaf style’ i think they look best on cuvy furniture ala french style pieaces. I’ve been thiking about adding some shimmer and shine to some mirrors for my bedroom.

  26. Hi,
    I’m an interior deigner and I love to accent a room with a unique piece and love all the metals and mirrored furniture that is in right now. I have the “Silver Leaf dresser, Decorpad” in my bedroom. It’s actually the Soliloque Hall Chest from Thomasville. I love it and it’s the perfect compliment to the other wood pieces in our master bedroom!

    I love your website and all your great ideas!

  27. I think this style requires some artistic talent when it comes to interior decorating (which you have in spades). You have to know how to place a piece of furniture like this into a room and not have it overpower the room or look out of place or tacky. In rooms like mine, where decorating is still in its infant stages, it would be very out of place until I got all the other components of the room put together. That’s probably why it’s so hard for most people to take the plunge and add this style (which they may truly like) into their living space. I’d love to do it, but wouldn’t even know where to begin… sad for me!

  28. Definitely not tacky, but probably a bit too forward-thinking for the Struggler household.
    I’m still trying to convince Beloved Husband to let go of his pine fixation. Sigh.

  29. In all honesty, this is really the first time I’ve seen this type of thing…or at least paid attention to it. I actually like the silver pieces, although I can’t picture them working in my house. I’m sort of anti-gold and brass these days.


  30. I love it-some rustoleum specialty metallic paint made it into my cart today – used it on old brass candletsticks- they are really pretty- plan to use it for some accent pieces- would not have thought to use it or leafing on a larger piece of furniture.

  31. Love them in just the right spot & only one, not a bunch of it. Absolutely adored Jenny’s nightstands & linked over to them too. They are FAB!!

    Can’t wait til Thursday, when we ALL meet up at Blissdom! Talk about fab, it’s going to be so much fun.

  32. I’m drooling on shiny metalic finishes too, but I love the shiny shimmer finish and the combination of intricate details on some the antique pieces, a perfect blend of vintage charm.

  33. I’ve been drawn to silver metallic dressers or accent tables lately. Been re-decorating my two teenage daughters rooms & trying to get one of them to let me paint something in their room silver. Would go soooooo well with either room since my youngest daughters colors are grey walls with green & teal & my oldest daughters colors are grayish purple walls with black furniture & plum window treatments. I will show them this page & maybe they’ll relent!

  34. I love the metallics! They are a neutral, but still with a lot of funk and character that black and brown just can’t do. I love seeing gold pieces done right (because gold can be super tacky or super decadent). :o)

  35. What timing. My oldest daughter turned me on to your site (for towel wraps we will make for her bridesmaids) and just love your ideas, instructions, etc. Just exploring your site got me out of a ‘funk’ and while browsing thru Pier 1, my youngest 10 year old daughter, found a silver/mirrored small vanity dresser she loves. Well – she has one in her bedroom I bought a few years ago from Target in the Shabby Chic line and we’re moving to a different look in her room – so we’re going to try the instructions. Just last night I was looking at your instructions on how you touched up your foyer mirror and thought I would try to use that to silver the vanity – but back today – and you’ve provided the exact steps we need. I’ll share pictures when we finish. Thank you!!!!

  36. Thank you for always sharing such gems.
    I have awarded you a “Kreativ Blogger Award” on my site….no doubt you have already received plenty…but I just love your blog and all your tips, I thought you deserved the award!

  37. Love the Wisteria chest you featured, it’s gorgeous, along with the night stands from Little Green Notebook. I’ve actually been eying a lovely mirrored piece, just not sure my other half will go for it…

  38. I agree with you, if used in the right space it can look very glamorous! All of these are great, especially the 3rd to last. I like how the mirror and the chair accent each other with the gold metallic, along with all of the other gold accents.

  39. Love this look! I just picked up a vintage dresser that was abandoned at the curb and have to paint it and am trying to decide what to do with it. A shiny silver finish would be so pretty and dramatic.

  40. I spray painted a half moon hall table in a beautiful metallic silver and put two different sizes of tiny mirrors [approx. 1″ and 3/4″ in width] spaced around the rim and onto the squared parts, of the three turned legs. IT LOOKS AWSOME! If I do say so myself.
    Everyone who has seen it thinks it was a great way to update a boring wee table.
    Go for the shine!

  41. You know, I’m a big fan of white furniture, but I could just imagine of the sparkling pieces above with white accessories on them. They’re beautiful!

  42. I am in the process of repainting my French Provencial furniture, which has a shimmering finish. I want to give it the same effect but I don’t know where to purchase the paint nor the wherewithal to do so. I have a great handyman who is assisting me. Please help me with any information that you may have.

    God bless!!!!!

  43. hi…can anyone help me how to antique silver leaf furniture?i just covered a big dresser with silver leaf but i didnt like the finish of it, it looks so unprofessional…i think it will look better with antiquing it but i couldn’t find any how to video’s or blogs abt antiquing silver leaf and it has been sitting in my garage for 2 weeks…plz help :)

  44. Thank you, i was looking for ideas. Metallic finishes of furniture is such a good idea. it brightens a room. But I could not find the instructions. i did buy OD at a auto paint supplier, have not painted it yet though, thought i would first do some research.

  45. Thanks for sharing this list of metallic furniture- I’m all over the metallic trend right now! We actually just tried a new paint technique that transformed our bronze sunburst mirror into an antique silver finish. It turned out great, was super easy and cheap! It only required a can of silver metallic spray paint, black spray paint, and a little time. We posted a DIY guide to achieving the look over at our blog. I just love how it turned out!

  46. Wow…I am about two years behind you, but finding your site/blog is the answer to my dreams! I love metallic finishes and have been buying and using every product I can find to see which I like best. Of course, the new Martha Stewart paints have been very easy. I’m wondering if the silver leaf nightstands allow the brown base to show through a little. It’s hard to tell in the pictures….but I think that would be cool. Also, I am also painting everything white (again, two years behind you)….so your blog on white rooms really solidified my opinion that it is timeless!

  47. I too absolutely love metallic furniture!! There’s just something about it that draws me to it. Now that I think about it, I think I’m infatuated with all things chrome! I refinished a bedroom set for a teen in metallic silver, zebra and hot pink. It was one of my favs.

  48. I have a beat up small – ish dresser we are going to use as an entry table, I am thinking the metallic finish with crystal hardware will go nicely will the grey/taupe walls and beefy white trim. Just a touch of girly in our mostly masculine new home. I found you through pinterest! Addictive I tell you.

  49. I think the hardest thing for me is to find the “right” piece. I have a lot of dark furniture and old pieces, so I don’t want it to stick out in a way that looks tacky. I think I might re-invent a filing cabinet by replacing handles and removing tag holder. Can’t decide if I need silver leaf or silver paint.

  50. I am working on turning my patio into a serene oasis and I am in love with the paint on the german dresser from Wisteria. Anyone know what kind of paint that is? Color? Type? Brand?

    • Hi Melanie, it’s silver leaf, not sure how they got it that shiny but it’s gorgeous! Sadly, no longer offered at their online store. :(

  51. I have always loved the antique/silver leaf/gold leaf/bronzed look on furniture. Makes an otherwise piece much more glamourish and fun. I’m also a huge white fan as my kitchen is sunny, white, and always fresh looking…white cabinets,walls and white countertops with an edging of color. I bring in more color with accessories. Love your blog. I don’t know how you find the time to keep up with it with young children. Kudos to you! Keep on blogging.

  52. Love the metallic influence…..although a little goes a long way unless you are a glamour girl which I am. I have a fabulous mirrored chest in my living room that is a real offset to the industrial style coffee table. Everybody loves it. Thanks for your pictures…..really inspiring.

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