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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

French Country Mirror Makeover

Friday, September 17, 2021

A new reproduction French Country mirror was too rustic for my style. With a lot of sanding, new white paint, and a little antique gold wax the mirror was transformed. 

French Country Mirror Makeover
For several months the new French Country mirror hung in the entry way powder room half way through its transformation from too rustic to just-right patina. The monochromatic overall white paint was a big improvement to the original faux patina, but did nothing to enhance the beautiful carving at the top. The one-tone paint masked the intricate details of the mirror. 

F R E N C H   C O U N T R Y 
M I R R O R   M A K E O V E R  

b e f o r e 

French Country Mirror Makeover
Large sections of exposed wood, flaking too thick paint, and heavy applications of a plaster-like substance by the manufacturer were designed to give the new wood carved mirror instant patina, but instead made the mirror frame look dirty to me. 

French Country Mirror Makeover
Heavy gray colored plaster filled in the intricately carved wood details. Places where the paint and plaster were sanded off the original finish you can see the mirror frame and carving are real wood which made this mirror worth a makeover. 

So many new mirrors are made with resin, plastic, or MDF (medium density fiberboard), none of which can be sanded down and refinished for a nice smooth surface by the ordinary DIY person.  

First Step - Sanding

French Country Mirror Makeover
Much heavy duty sanding with a hand-held power sander was needed to get a smooth surface on the frame and wood molding layers. You can still see some discoloration spots from where the heavy plaster had been, but now the mirror's wood frame was smooth enough to apply fresh white paint. 

Hand sanding was required to sand off the plaster in the detailed carving at the top of the mirror. 

Second Step - White Paint 

French Country Mirror Makeover
Two to three fresh coats of white paint cleaned up the mirror in time for the Christmas holidays. With a promise to myself to complete the makeover after the holidays the French Country mirror replaced a smaller white mirror in the powder room. 

And, the mirror stayed the same for many months. 

With the discovery of a perfect French Country scroll leaf wallpaper this summer a plan emerged to give the powder room a mini makeover, which included completing the mirror's refinish. 

Final Step - Antique Gold Wax 

French Country Mirror Makeover
Small amounts of an antique gold wax were barely dry brushed onto the tips of the wood carving at the top of the mirror. Just enough was applied to make the pattern visible. 

French Country Mirror Makeover
More small amounts of the antique gold wax were dry brushed along the wood molding of the mirror's wood frame. From a distance and in the photos the wax appears light brown instead of gold. 

French Country Mirror Makeover
Now the French Country mirror has just the right amount of contrast between the white paint and gold wax to accentuate the beautiful features of the mirror. Look back at the first photo to see the difference made by the antique gold wax. 

With a little minor touch up work the mirror will be ready once again for the upcoming Christmas holidays. 


This is a glimpse of the final look for the mini makeover of the French Country powder room in the entry area. The new French Country ceiling light fixture was hung today, and the room is finished! Before I share the reveal of the entire bathroom, I will share the makeover of a new wood medallion we used as a ceiling medallion with the new light fixture. 

Little by little the bathroom projects are moving forward. The general contractor for the upstairs bathroom talked with me a couple of days ago and said the only thing still needed for that job is to get the bid back from the cultured marble supplier. 


Gold Wax - Rub 'n Buff (Antique Gold, not Gold Leaf) at Hobby Lobby or Michaels 

White Paint - Heirloom White by Rusteolum at Home Depot 

French Country Powder Room - design board elements