In Living Color: How to Decorate with Casa Florentina

Ballard Designs' Casa Florentina San Marino Secretary with Hutch
When we developed our Italian-made line of furniture, Casa Florentina, we envisioned creating what we like to call the heirloom piece – that one special piece that stays with you through every move, every renovation and every transition through life and always, without fail, makes any room shine.

We obsessed over every single detail, right down to the drawer liners (Florentina style marbleized paper, of course). So it shouldn’t be a surprise that we didn’t stop until we got the 15 amazing hand-rubbed finishes just right.

Drawer liners of Casa Florentina furniture pieces

Our wide-ranging palette is inspired by the many rich colors and textures of Italy, from the earth and sky of the Tuscan countryside to the faded beauty of a centuries-old ceramic vessel. Each distressed finish, applied by Italian artisans using the same techniques of Florentine artists for centuries, captures the essence of Casa Florentina.

Ballard Designs Casa Florentina San Marino Secretary Desk with Hutch

Our favorite finishes in the collection are the more unexpected colors, such as Distressed Blue (shown on our San Marino Secretary Desk with Hutch). We love the idea of pairing a great body with a bold color to make it that knockout piece in any room. However, years of decorating experience has taught us that when it comes to furniture, it’s hard to commit to color. So, how exactly do you add that special “heirloom piece” in such a unique finish to an existing décor?

Casa Florentina Louis XVI Armoire with Mirrored Doors

Don’t be afraid to mix and match.
For years, conventional wisdom told you to match the furniture and finishes in your room. Well, not anymore. For a more collected, lived-in look that gives a room soul, go ahead and mix furniture styles and experiment with color. For example, we wouldn’t think twice about placing a bleached salvaged wood coffee table next to a traditional Louis armchair upholstered in an Ikat fabric. Similarly, the distressed pieces in Casa Florentina can easily mix in with your existing furniture, whether you lean more traditional or modern, without competing.

Don’t be afraid of color.
A consistent color scheme is important, but don’t be afraid to add that unexpected pop of color. Much like the bold hues lighting up the fashion runways, color is the quickest way to punch up a neutral decor.

Here are some ways we would use Casa Florentina:

Casa Florentina Sorrento Dining Table and Sorrento Console Table

In the dining room

Add our Sorrento Console with Mirrored Doors finished in Distressed Red to accent your table and chairs. The spicy hue adds instant warmth and creates an inviting atmosphere. You can work in extra pops of red in the chair cushions or wall art if you prefer a more pulled-together look.

Casa Florentina armoire in the bedroom

In the bedroom

An armoire is a no brainer in the kitchen, and the Louis XVI Armoire is a piece you’ll want to pass down to future generations.

Casa Florentina Louis XVI Poster Bed from Ballard Designs

We love the Louis XVI Poster Bed in Distressed Blue Gray. Why not make your bed the focal point? Layer in linens and keep your side tables and cherry dresser and you have created a room with personality and great European style.

Casa Florentina Lungarno Console table

In the foyer

For grand foyers, the Caprice Pedestal Table centrally placed with a large vase of flowers adds major impact. The Lungarno Console (above in Distressed Blue) is the perfect piece for small foyers and provides a spot to drop your keys and sunglasses. Foyers are usually more neutral, so here’s your chance to go bold with the finish for an unexpected — and welcoming — pop of color.

Ballard Designs' Casa Florentina Medici Secretary with Hutch

In the living room

The Medici Secretary with Hutch is both functional and fashionable. Choose a finish you love, then add accessories in the same color family, such as a vase, candlesticks and art work, and spread them throughout the room for a more cohesive look. We used a pair in this living room to create height on either side of a fireplace mantel. So chic!

Casa Florentina wood swatch of hand painted finishes

When you select your custom-made Casa Florentina piece, you make it yours with the finish you choose. So we want you to be absolutely sure of your choice. Ask us for a hand-painted swatch.

Shop our entire Casa Florentina collection, or find more gorgeous rooms in our Photo Gallery.

How to Decorate Team

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.



  1. Reply


    September 19, 2013

    awaiting for my design Catalog ” Ballard Style…love the options

  2. Reply


    December 18, 2011

    Love this line but I don’t understand why All your buffets in all your lines are all the same size. Anyone who needs a buffet 72 inches wide or more is stuck. NO one else is making them either. It seems to me that making a little wider buffet might be a good business plan for you.Andrea