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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

French Wood Panel Sconce Makeover

Sunday, February 10, 2019

New reproduction French style wood panel sconces were too rustic even for my post and beam master bathroom, but with a makeover, now blend with my French Country inspired house. 

a f t e r   m a k e o v e r

French wood panel sconce after makeover
After a little sanding, new gold finish, and an added small wreath, the new made over wood panel sconce has more style than the original wood panel did. While the wood panel sconce is still rustic, wait until you see how rustic it was originally. 

F R E N C H   W O O D   P A N E L   S C O N C E   

M A K E O V E R   

before and after 

Nothing tells the real story like seeing both the before and after photos in a makeover. The first photo above is the after

Ready for the before? 

b e f o r e   m a k e o v e r

French wood panel sconce before makeover
The wood panel sconces had great potential . . . but needed some work. 

The left panel is in its new original condition; the right panel is after sanding during the makeover. 

One thing you have to do when looking for items with character to use in your home is to see the potential, not the current state, of items. Look for good bones and sound structure. 

The features that made buying these panels in their original state worthwhile are 
  • Solid wood with raised panels . . . not MDF or veneers 
  • Metal French-style double sconces . . . no plastic or resin 
  • Size . . . the width was perfect for using in a narrow wall space in my master bathroom. 
  • New electrical wiring . . . in voltage for American electrical current

French wood panel sconce before makeover
LEFT panel

The wood panel sconce on the left was how the sconces looked before any work. The surfaces on both the wood panel and metal sconce were rough to the touch from heavy chippy white paint. These panels are reproductions so they were purposely aged with a rough paint job and rust. 

There is a fine line between aged worn patina and new rough artificial chippiness. The line was crossed with these original sconces.

RIGHT panel 

The wood panel on the right shows the first step in the makeover. 

The metal double sconce was removed (shown reattached,) and the solid wood panel was sanded with a hand-held electrical sander. The first sanding was with a coarse-grit sand paper, around 180 grit, to remove the raised white paint. The second sanding was with a finer-grit sand paper, around 60 grit, to give a smoother finish and to spread the fine white paint dust into the wood to create a white washed look instead of a chipping paint look.  

French wood panel sconce in master bath after makeover
The refinished wood sconce is more rustic than the white-washed door next to it, but blends with the unfinished and white-washed woods in the house. A light coat of clear wax was applied to the wood. 

The width of the panel is perfect for the wall space. 

French wood panel sconce in master bath after makeover with rub n buff wax metal finish
After sanding both the wood panel and the metal sconce, Rub 'n Buff Wax Metallic Finish in Antique Gold applied to all the metal parts gave the sconce a nicer finish, yet still a rustic look. More Rub 'n Buff needs to be applied to the black screws used to reattach the sconce to the panel. 

French wood panel sconce in master bath after makeover with hearth and hand holly wreath
A new gold metal holly wreath is the finishing touch to add more French style to the sconce. The wreath came with a large opening to use for hanging the wreath. The large opening for hanging was used to attach the wreath to the wood with a large flathead screw. Before attaching the wreath to the wood panel, the screw got a coat of Rub 'n Buff also. 

French wood panel sconce in master bath after makeover
The overhead beams and ceiling make the master bathroom dark. The new wood panel sconce is to give more light, not just be decorative. 

French wood panel double metal sconce in master bath after makeover
The two candle light bulbs could have shades attached, but shades would limit the amount of light. Using frosted bulbs reduces the brilliance, but allows maximum light. 

French wood panel double metal sconce in master bath after makeover with plug in cord
The fixture was hard-wired, but it was relatively easy to convert the fixture to a plug-in lamp using a cord from the hardware store. On the to-do list is to make a fabric cord cover or to buy a metal cord cover from the hardware store. 

French wood panel double metal sconce in master bath after makeover with plug in cord
One possible makeover was to paint the wood sconce panel solid white to go with other white wood in the master bathroom. 

However, the wood panel sconce retains an old-world French Country charm by choosing some of the natural wood grain to remain after the makeover. The rustic finish of the double metal sconce may be too rustic for a smooth white painted wood finish. 

Would you have painted the wood white or would you have left the natural wood with some of the chippy white paint? 

S O U R C E S 

Gold Holly Metal Wreath - Target Hearth & Hand Christmas (not in stock)
Plug-In Lamp Cord - Home Depot 
Rub 'n Buff Wax Metal Finish, Antique Gold - Michaels 
Double Sconce Wood Panel - Botanic Bleu, in-store only 


You may also enjoy reading

7 Ways to Add French Country to a Master Bath 
Blue Silk Roman Shade Details 


Be Inspired 
Botanic Bleu 


  1. What a pretty project! The makeover turned out so well. Lovely!

  2. Judith, I really like the makeover. They are so pretty and you did a great job! The gold adds a touch of elegance that they desperately needed! Hope you have a great one! Hugs!

  3. "A fine line" is so true. The before panel, to me, seems dirty and worn but after your refresh of the panel, it looks well loved and polished.

    I'm a fan of keeping as much natural wood as possible. I love seeing the grain and craftmanship of the carpenter. I think the panel is beautiful!

    The more I look at your picture, the more I'm liking the black screws. To my eye, it gives the piece more definition.

    Wow...I do wish I had your talent!!! :-)

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  4. Love the golden touch on your sconce. Your version is much better and perfect in your home.

  5. I love how it turned out! Thanks for showing us your process. I think its so helpful for people to be able to see how to look at the possibilities of something!

  6. What truly charming accent lighting. I LOVE the touch of gold.

  7. Judith, what a lucky find and an even lovelier makeover. I agree with you 100%...look for potential, it's hiding everywhere. PS- your bathroom is just dreamy!!

  8. This is gorgeous. I think I would have left it chippy too. It's got the right amount or rustic and refined. I love the gold.


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