Going Mad for Gilt

Now, I loved gilt before.  But after my recent trip to London and lots of amazing castle and royalty home tours, I am going mad for gilt!  Gilt is simply a gold or golden color applied over a surface. 

It can be applied to wood, metal, plaster, or any number of surfaces.  This is NOT to be confused with brass.

This painterly effect has been around for a long time.  It used to only be available to the most powerful and wealthy.  Applied gold was definitely a status symbol.  Nowadays, metallic gold paint can substitute for the 24 kt variety.


Those royals applied gilt on everything they possibly could.  It really glams up the place!  Notice the use on outlines and borders of things like the wall panels.  It picks up details that would otherwise go unnoticed.


Now, I don’t want my home to be THAT formal, but a little gilt to highlight details can make a room come alive with unexpected glamour.

I only recently discovered my new obsession:  Ralph Lauren’s Regent Metallic paints.  It’s really difficult to capture these swatches with photography, but the luster is so fabulous.  I’ve used “Golden Candlesticks” (the upper right hand color that looks orange in this picture – but it’s actually gold) to add my own gilt, as well as some other fabulous metallics in silver, green, and plum with my clients. 

I’ve had a Victorian chair that’s been weighing me down – it really needed a little somethin’ special.

I taped off the upholstery and painted on some Ralph Lauren Regent Metallics in Golden Candlesticks.  Now, I still want to change the upholstery eventually – but this is much more fun than the before.  Even if it is a bit cheeky.

Here’s another example of gilt applied on the exposed wood of a pair of chairs to elevate the style and highlight the carved detailing.

If you caught one of  my recent posts, you’ll remember that I also used Ralph Lauren’s  Golden Candlesticks  to accent my daughter’s dresser and to brighten up its brass drawer pulls.


Before leaving for London, I picked up another quart of Regent Metallics at Home Depot.  Imagine my horror when the paint-mixer lady told me that Home Depot is discontinuing their Ralph Lauren paint line and will no longer carry it after February!  Henry VIII would have had someone’s head!

If you are digging the gilt or metallic paints like I am, better run down to the Depot before the month’s out to stock up.  You’ll probably see me there :).

Photo Credits:  Annie Brahler (1 and 6), Kristie Barnett (2,  4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, and 12),  Albany Institute, JCovingtonDesignHouseToHome.


  1. Dianne Tant

    I’m going to get RL paint today! love this post…love the blue colors with the gold

  2. Daniel

    I agree with DIanne! 🙂 Was that Weird Al next to King Henry VIII?

  3. kristiebarnett

    Don’t you love how the formality is totally toned down when the gilt is paired with the linen in two of those pics?

  4. Chelle

    Oh I LOVE it! I’m getting some ideas.

  5. LaJuana Gill

    Was that your tour guide? He looks just like Henry VIII’s portrait! WOW

  6. kristiebarnett

    Just to clarify, sweet friends – that’s a wax version of Henry VIII in the pic. I took that at Warwick castle, where lots of Madame Tussaud’s wax figures hang out. Very creepy.


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