The Easiest Way to get a Restoration Hardware Finish

This tutorial will show you how easy it is to get that Restoration Hardware, raw wood finish using just paint and wax!

Do you love the soft, raw look of the wood furniture at Restoration Hardware? It's so quintessentially farmhouse. I'm a sucker for the look, but not the price tag! But I found a super easy way to replicate that look and all it takes is paint and wax! Keep reading for the easy tutorial.

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Welcome to the July edition of Thrifty Style Team! We are a group of thrifty loving DIY and home decor bloggers who come together once a month to share our ideas with you! We know you'll be inspired. You'll find links to all the posts at the end of my tutorial.

Vintage Wood

I recently found a vintage wood vase at the thrift store for $1.99. I brought it home, planning to sand the shiny orange finish down to the raw wood. However, sanding did not produce the results I was hopeful for. You can see the original vase as well as how it looked after an initial sanding below.

Weird grain and differing wood tones led me to try another way to get that natural wood finish that I was longing for.

How to get that Restoration Hardware finish using paint

When we gave our bedroom an update a few years ago, I painted our oak dressers using the same method that I'll be sharing today. The weathered wood look I gave our dressers was so much better than the orangey oak, but it still wasn't quite what I wanted. I found the secret to achieving that gorgeous gray wash look that RH is known for and it is SO easy!

You might also want to check out how I gave a bleached wood look to dollar store chargers as it's very similar. You can watch the video here.

First I painted my wood vase with 2 light coats of this chalk paint. This color is super popular and sells out fast, but you might find it at Home Depot or the craft store. I like using chalk paint because it dries so quickly, and the dried finish is matte.

You can see that my coats were light, allowing some of the grain to show through. For your finish to look like authentic raw wood, you don't want a heavy coat of paint.

The true magic happens in the next step, rubbing on dark wax directly to the painted finish. Now, if you're cautious about doing this because you can't correct mistakes or you're afraid you'll get it too dark, read on for my best tips.

What if I'm too afraid to use dark wax directly on a painted surface?

  1. Apply a light coat of white or clear wax first, in small sections. While it's still wet, rub on the dark wax. The clear coat will allow you to easily manipulate the strength of the dark wax, removing it in areas that look too dark.
  2. Another suggestion is to use mineral spirits on areas that appear too dark. Rubbing on a little mineral spirits will effectively erase the wax.

A few years ago I splurged and purchased Annie Sloan dark paste wax. I love how soft and creamy it is; a little goes a long way! But I've also read good things about this less expensive wax, and I've used this budget brand of dark wax for years. I have a pile of old t-shirts that I rip into rags to use specifically for wax.

The dark wax gets into any grooves, scratches and the grain itself to give such a beautiful, soft finish. I always apply the wax in small sections, working it well into the painted piece in the direction of the grain. It's so fast and easy, this whole project took me less than 30 minutes! There is no need to add a protective top coat as the wax IS the top coat! It will feel slightly damp to the touch until it cures, which takes just a couple weeks.

I especially love how I was able to perfectly match the wood candlesticks I already own, with this easy paint technique.

A couple things to note about this paint technique:

  • Your finished product will depend largely on the color of paint you use as a base. You can compare this wood vase to the painted dressers I did and see the difference. I much prefer this lighter finish... darn, now I'm wanting to redo our dressers! I'm excited to try this with white chalk paint to see what finish I can achieve!
  • The finished look will also depend on how much dark wax you use. If you apply it with a heavy hand, or do several coats, the finish will be darker
  • You aren't limited to wood! Believe it or not, you can achieve a faux raw wood finish on other surfaces as well. Here's a sneak peek at a silver tray that I just finished using the exact same products.

I am so happy with this easy painted finish and now want to repaint everything in my home so it looks like I got everything from Restoration Hardware, HA! Obviously that's not very realistic, but I love the possibilities! Any piece of furniture you find that isn't the finish you like, can be transformed with this super easy technique!

Before and After

I hope you're inspired to try your hand at painting a Restoration Hardware faux finish on something you own!

Love it? Pin it to Remember!

But wait, there's more DIY thrifty goodness! Just click on the links below to see all the projects from the Thrifty Style Team!

Thrifty Style Team projects

Chaz' Crazy Creations -  Easy DIY Chalkboard TV Tray

Sweet Pea -  Antique Mirror Makeover

Postcards From the Ridge -  Designer DIY Wall Art with Sun Prints

DIY Beautify - you are here

2 Bees in a Pod - Vacation Memory Map Wreath

Cottage on Bunker Hill -  DIY Mini Flower Pot Wreath

Lora B Create and Ponder - Repurposed Old Wood Crate Tote Caddy DIY

Cottage at the Crossroads -  No Sew Ruffled Tea Towel

bringing beauty to the ordinary,


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  1. Cindy, these look amazing. The new finish looks so much better than the original one. It's amazing what you can do with paint!

  2. what was the color of the paint? It looks white but link took me to gray?

    1. Thanks Vicky. Primitive is a linen color, kinda gray, kinda beige. The link might look darker for some reason.

  3. This looks fantastic! So much prettier. Pinned

  4. This is beautiful, Cindy! Thank you for such a detailed tutorial.

  5. Your vase looks amazing! Love the update you gave it.

  6. I love how this finish turned out! I have a similar wood vase around here somewhere - if I find it I'm going to try this!

  7. Cindy...I can't get over this!! What an amazing difference. Your tutorials are always so good!!!

    1. Thanks so much Julie, it is pretty amazing and I can't wait to transform more pieces!

  8. Cindy, you achieved an amazing finish! I can't wait to try this myself!

    1. Thank you Jane, you're going to love how easy it is!

  9. Cindy - we absolutely love the finish that you created! Thanks for sharing your fab tips!

  10. I LOVE this look so much, I have some wooden bowls in the project hopper and i need to try this technique! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Oh my gosh what a great idea, and I love how it turned out. Thank you so much for sharing and wonderful hopping with you!

  12. What a beautiful idea and a fun technique. You did an amazing job. I can see why you want to paint everything, now!

  13. I get no photos with your interesting posts. Have any idea why?


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