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

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

  3. Reply

    Linda Whalen

    October 8, 2011

    I love this furniture. I will be ordering the secretary desk in antique white over gray. I don’t like the fact that it has to be assembled, also that you have to use I think it said clear paste wax to clean and preserve the finish. Makes me think the finish is a little delicate.I can always count on Ballard to have pieces that are the perfect scale for my little cottage style home.

  4. Reply

    Jacqueline Damon

    September 26, 2011

    Love this collection. Many of the pieces would look great with the type of home I have. Would love to see a little lower pricing or a big special……

  5. Reply


    September 25, 2011

    This collection is exactly what I have been looking for. I ordered the swatches, and when ready, I will order the Secretary. Perfect size, style and color. I think we all just need a little incentive from Ballard as far as the pricing goes. Hopefully there is a discount in the near future.

  6. Reply


    September 17, 2011

    Love the style, but think these pcs are overpriced in this economy. I have been searching for the right furnishings for my sunroom. I was excited to see these pieces and then I saw the prices. This is furniture I have to put together when it arrives. I was disappointed.

  7. Reply


    September 16, 2011

    Am looking for a french style or European style large dresser!
    Love these things in your collection, but not a large enough dresser. Would prefer something longer for the wall I want to put it on.

  8. Reply

    Janna Moody

    September 15, 2011

    I love love your catalogs! This new addition is absolutely fabulous, makes my imagination soar!!! Although at this time in my life I cannot afford Ballard Designs it is always on my wish list for the future!! I love that you guys are full of new ideas and I borrow them from time to time, my whole family will celebrate when the day actually comes that I get order one of your amazing pieces!!
    Thanks for inspiring me!

  9. Reply


    September 15, 2011

    Having just spent time in Italy this summer, I was thrilled to see this new line from Ballards! I feel like I am right back in Florence…..thank you Ballards!

  10. Reply

    Sharon Brown

    September 15, 2011

    I just viewed the Casa Florentina collection on line and couldn’t order the swatches fast enough! I am so excited to reinvent my bedroom and dining room with COLOR! Thank you.

  11. Reply


    September 15, 2011

    Just my style so excited!!

  12. Reply


    September 14, 2011

    I was blown away when the new Casa Florentina catalog arrived in my mailbox today. If this is the future of Ballard Designs I am absolutely thrilled!