What Happens When a French Settee Goes Boho

I admit it…I love French settees. And anytime I see one that I can afford, I buy it. You never can have too many settees in my opinion. (Read about my love of settees  here.) I found this one a few years ago and it’s been waiting for a makeover. Well, it’s day finally came. A client approached me needing a few different pieces for a special project. (You’ll hear more about this project in another blog next month.) I suggested using this settee and she agreed! Off with the peach fabric!

The exquisite carvings and curvy legs were what first drew me to this settee. They don’t make them like this anymore folks.  Love! 

Next, I had to decide on fabric. Just last month I purchased this blanket from Uzbekistan. It’s all hand embroidered designs created by the Uzbek women in red, blue, and florescent orange on a fuchsia fabric. Who would have thought those colors could work so well on something like this? After laying it on top, I knew I had the right look. 

I stripped the settee completely down to the frame. While the wood was pretty, it had a slight lacquered finish. I wanted to achieve a boho look, so I applied stripper to the wood and went to work scrubbing it. 

It’s a lot of work, but well worth it to bring this antique up to date. The wood lightened up immediately. 

I thought really hard about the placement of the fabric. What would look best on the top? How about the back, which was going to get lots of attention and views. I decided to put the key suzani in orange right there on the backside. 

The seat would have the other small suzani on the front of the seat as well as a row of the royal blue flowers. The top of the settee would showcase the red flowers.   

The more I worked on this piece, the happier I became. The bright colors mixed perfectly with the stripped wood.  This traditional French antique has a new life now.  

Taking pictures is always a bundle of fun as my two buddies like to photobomb the shoot. Zeus and Nike seem to enjoy all the new pieces coming and going around here. 

I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. French and boho? Absolutely! The next time you want a boho look, take a long look at French antiques. They just might make the perfect combo. 


I'm Wendy Conklin, The Chair Stylist.

What brings me joy is helping others live more creatively. I design antique-inspired, boutique chairs, and I teach others how to do what I do. Check out my shop, services, and courses to bring more whimsy into your home and life!

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