How to Get the Look of Antique Wooden Embellishments

I have a thing for antique bed headboards and footboards, and have been fortunate to get quite a few of them at auctions at prices that blew me away.  Unfortunately, none of them were the right size for my bed, and they are hard to sell online, because the shipping often costs more than what I charge for them.

This was an antique headboard that I turned into a coat rack (more about it here).  Not only did it have a gorgeous shape, but the wooden appliques on the front were stunning.  It sold fast in my shop (and I’ve regretted selling it ever since!).

Repurposed Headboard Coat Rack

Here’s the footboard that went with it (more about it here).  It also sold fast, and I miss it too!  It has the same stunning shape and wood appliques.

Antique Footboard Coat Rack

This is another antique footboard that I brought home.  While it has a beautiful shape, it lacked the wood embellishments, and it never sold.  It’s been languishing in my workshop since its listing expired in January.  I thought the original wood was gorgeous, so I didn’t paint it, but I think it may have looked too dark for most people’s taste , and I think the little knobs I used weren’t grabbing most people either.  I finally pulled it out again recently, and decided to see how I could improve its look.

antique footboard

I decided to paint it white like the other pieces, but it still lacked the decorative appliques that the other two pieces had.  I went to the craft store to look for some wood embellishments to add, but couldn’t find any that would look good on my footboard.

I was afraid I was going to have to forget the idea, but then I discovered Efex Decorative Latex Appliques.

Efex appliques look like the real antique wooden appliques, because they were created from molds made of antique moldings from France and England, but the difference is, they are totally flexible, so you can use them on pieces that aren’t flat, as well as those that are, like my footboard.

The hardest part was deciding which pieces to get.  These are just a few of the swag style appliques they have.  Aren’t they beautiful?!

furniture appliques

I ended up deciding to use this trim, called Swag and Swag.  It reminds me of fabric bunting that old theaters had above their stages.

Efex Swag and Swag

 I used painter’s tape to mark the area I wanted to line the applique on, then used rubber cement to affix the trim onto the headboard.  Because they are latex, which is like soft rubber, I was able to cut the trim piece to the length I need for the headboard.

antique headboard tutorial

 Once it dried, I painted over the headboard and trim with white paint, but I wanted it to keep its aged look, so I used antiquing powder from the Vintage Storehouse Restoration Co.  I used a brush to get wax into the crevices, then another brush to dab the antiquing powder over it.  Putting some more wax on a dry cloth, I wiped away most of the antiquing powder , leaving just a dusting in the crevices, so it looks naturally aged.  I took this photo in the evening, so the paint looks really creamy looking, but you can see in the next photo, that it’s brighter white.

antiquing powder and furniture wax to age wood embellishments

The appliques look so much like the real antique wooden ones, I would have never guessed they weren’t.

wood applique on headboard

Here’s how the footboard-turned-coat rack looks now.  Not only is it brighter looking, but the appliques added just the decorative element the footboard needed.  I removed the spindles from the previous headboard and footboard that I turned into coat racks, and was undecided about whether to remove them from this piece.  They do seem to make it look a little bit top heavy, but for the time being, I’m leaving them on.

I’ve listed it in my shop here.  If it doesn’t sell fairly soon, I’ll probably remove the spindles (because they could become parts of tiered stands).  I realize most people aren’t looking for a coat rack that is so tall, but they look so pretty on the footboard, I just wasn’t ready to remove them.

Antique Headboard Coat Rack

I switched out the first set of knobs for these knobs that are shaped like old door locks.  They work better as hooks than the other set did, and I just love the way they look..

headboard coat rack

  I am so impressed with these Efex appliques.  You can make anything look like a fine antique with these, and because they are flexible, there are a ton of different ways to use them.

Look how stunning the appliques look when added to a fireplace mantel!

mantle finished


This isn’t a paid review of Eflex Appliques.  They did send me these to try for myself, and I can honestly, 100% say that I am totally impressed with them, and you will be seeing more projects that I will be using them on.

Be sure to visit their website HERE, where you can view their gallery with more inspiring ways others have used these appliques. 

Repurposed Headboard Coat Rack


Antique Bed Footboard Makeover



  1. Looks awesome, Angie…love the appliques!

  2. I have been wanting to try the FX appliqués-I usually use the ones from I will try them!

  3. Great Job Angie…. lovely look and simple to do. I love it!

  4. Can you tell us where you got the tealish-colored knobs? Thanks!

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