the linen press.

Whenever I’m considering how to paint a piece of furniture, my go-to for inspiration is usually Pinterest.  If I’ve purchased a empire style antique dresser, I’ll go on Pinterest and search “painted antique empire dresser” and see what comes up.

But it was pretty comical when I started researching “painted linen press” recently because the majority of photos that came up first were all my own pieces staring with this one.

This was one of my early postings here on the blog back in June 2014.  It’s painted in Annie Sloan’s Duck Egg and I applied vintage wallpaper to the insets.

Let me note here that in my own personal lexicon, a ‘linen press’ is any piece of furniture where you open up doors on the outside to reveal inner drawers like the ones shown above.  I believe that pieces like this were initially intended to store linens.

I suspect that not very many people call them by this name and that’s why, when I searched Pinterest for examples of linen presses, photos of my own pieces dominated the screen.

In addition to that wallpapered piece, there were also a few shots of this piece

I painted that one back in 2017.  It’s painted in Homestead House milk paint in a color called Bedford on the outside and has an early prima marketing transfer on the front.

The inside on this one was a little more unique in that it was half shelves and half drawers.

I painted the interior in a custom mix of Fusion’s Liberty Blue and Coal Black.

Pictures of this one from October 2018 came up several times as well.  This one is absolutely one of my all time favorites.

It’s painted in Dixie Belle’s In the Navy on the outside, and Fusion’s Limestone on the drawer fronts followed by the French Ceramics transfer from with prima.

It had a gorgeous wood top that I stripped and then just waxed with Dixie Belle’s brown wax.

Another piece that showed up in the search was this one from April 2018.

This one was a bit of a challenge.  I initially painted it with milk paint that pretty much entirely chipped back off.  So I sanded it down and started over with Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth on the outside, and their Mint Julep on the inside.  I also added my old favorite Seeds transfer from Prima to the front.

This piece from March of 2016 came up as well.

It’s painted in Rachel Ashwell’s short-lived line of chalk paint in a color she called Caribbean Sea.  I added some vintage wallpaper to it as well.

I have to say, all I can think of when looking at the photos of that one is how much I struggled to try and make my shed work as a photo cottage.  It took a lot of photo editing to get those pictures to look even semi-decent.

This piece from September 2014 came up as well.

You know what stands out to me in that photo?  Look how small my Limelight hydrangea was in 2014!  It’s the one on the right side.  It’s about twice that size now.

Anyway, it’s painted in American Paint Company’s mineral/chalk paint in Navajo White.

The inner drawers are painted in Annie Sloan’s Louis Blue.

I guess you could say that I’ve painted a good number of linen presses over the years.  And I’ve used quite a few different brands of paint.  I was really hoping to get inspired by someone else’s linen press makeover on Pinterest though!  There were a handful of other painted versions, but nothing that really jumped out at me.

As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, I am about to start working on another linen press dresser.

But so far I haven’t entirely decided what my plan is.  For now I’m going to get started on the prep work.  I will sand it down and give it a coat of Dixie Belle’s B.O.S.S. because if you look closely in that photo above you can see that this piece is a bleeder.  The stain and/or tannins in the wood have bled through the white paint.  I also may (or may not) attempt to strip the paint from the top and the front legs.  I don’t know, we’ll see.  So be sure to stay tuned, I want to get this one finished up before the temps drop too low to paint outside.

In the meantime, tell me, do you call these linen presses?  And which one of my linen press makeovers is your favorite?  Leave a comment and let me know.

32 thoughts on “the linen press.

  1. What strikes me is how much I like all of them and how timeless the design of each one is. None look dated or frumpy. I think my fave is a toss up between the seeds transfer one and the navy one. I love that wood top! Can’t wait to see what you do with this gal!


  2. I think my favorite is the one from 2014 & In the Navy would be second. I love the one you’re getting ready to do. I would love it in Drop Cloth.


  3. The thing that turns me off on the new piece is how much the hardware looks like a face! I hate that in furniture. Is there any way you can disguise that on a piece?

    As far as favorites, the white with dark wood tops and writing are always winners for me. I do think it is kind to your customers to stick to a paint color they can buy for touch ups. And maybe include a card taped in a drawer with paint brand and color? When you do a custom mix, your customer will never be able to duplicate the paint for a touch up


    1. I will do my best to disguise that face! As for the custom mix, whenever I use a custom mix I put the excess paint in a little container and send it home with the new owner.


  4. Good morning,thanks for the again timely post. I recently painted a linen press (posted it as a chifforobe) and it was posted a long time with no luck. You have given me some ideas for a redo…maybe in the spring. When I do a custom colour I always include a small bottle of paint with the purchase.


    1. Chifferobe … I always forget about that name. However, I think of a chifferobe as a piece of furniture that you can hang clothing inside of. So none of these would qualify. And ditto on the custom color. I always have some leftover and then send it home with the buyer.


  5. They are all beautifully done but my favorite is the one painted in In The Navy with the blue and white transfer on the drawer fronts. The contrast is stunning.
    I had no idea that were called linen press dressers. I would have been looking for an old fashioned iron press! Now I know better.


  6. All of these make overs are fantastic! My favorite is the 2014 in duck egg with the wall paper, followed closely by the 2018 navy. But really – all are great! Looking forward to seeing what you do with this latest one.


  7. They are all gorgeous, but the duck egg & wallpaper one has always been a favorite! I loved Shabby Chic’s Caribbean Sea and hoarded my last can for that perfect piece…unfortunately it dried into a hard clump before I could use it…


  8. I learned something new today, which is always a good thing. I never had heard the phrase, linen press. I was surprised to see what it actually looked like in your photos. The in the navy piece was definitely my favorite……….but they all are beautiful.


  9. I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but I still love the very first one on this page with the lovely green and glorious vintage wallpaper. So me!


  10. My favorite is the one In the Nace with the French ceramics transfer. I have that transfer. Just waiting for the right piece to use it on. I didn’t know what a linen press was but I do now so that’s what I will call them.


    1. The only think I didn’t like about that French Ceramics transfer was that it actually took two sets of it to cover those drawers. So, keep that in mind when you use yours. Make sure it will actually cover the space you want it to (it has a repeat, much like wallpaper).


  11. Well, Miss Quandie, I had vaguely heard of a linen press, maybe in my reading of all the Dickens novels or some place like that! I don’t know but it might be that I’ve only heard the term on your blog in this day and age! And I like the term a lot because it just sounds old fashioned and more SUBSTANIAL 😁 My faves are mostly usually non-floral as you KNOW (though I hundred percent appreciate your EXECUTION as you know) and so my faves are the half shelves/half drawers and the Seeds Catalogue ! I’m sadly very predictable 🙄 I’m late to this party so not sure you’ll even see this!


    1. I agree, it does sound old fashioned. After all, does anyone actually press their linen these days? I can answer that question, my handyman Ken’s wife still presses their linen. In fact, she still presses almost all of their laundry, including jeans. And she does this after first hanging it on the line to dry. She hangs her laundry out nearly year round. Ken has to shovel a path to the clothes line in the winter. I’m not sure how much longer she’s going to be doing this though, she is 85. Now, as for the non-floral thing … um, well, you may be disappointed in the direction I ended up going with this latest linen press. You’ll have to let me know next week when I post it!


  12. I’m thinking they broke the mold after they made Ken’s wife……..that’s so sweet and nice. But don’t frozen clothes thaw out wet again inside? Hmmmmmm……..


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