Inside: Get the Restoration Hardware aged look for less in this easy step by step tutorial.
Most of us aren’t given the opportunity to scour through piles of aged barn wood or salvaged pine timbers from 100-year-old buildings in Great Britain. But most of us do own a paintbrush, paint, and maybe some glaze.
My point is, you can achieve a very similar look to Restoration Hardware’s beautiful aged finishes for a mili fraction of the cost. I was able to achieve an aged whitewash finish on my current dining table with common supplies I had on hand.
HOW TO ACHIEVE A RESTORATION HARDWARE AGED LOOK
If you study a piece of Restoration Hardware wood furniture up close you will see there’s depth and dimension to the look of the wood. For example, let’s examine the Ridgeline Rectangular Dining Table up close. Do you notice the overall worn aged look of the wood? Do you notice the white and black looking grooves and markings?
Aged wood will naturally take on these variations over time, but since we don’t have the time for our wood to age or have an abandoned farmhouse at our disposal, you have to create a varied look in the wood. To do this use a layering technique of different colors to “age” the wood, and so the grooves in the wood will “pick up” the different colors you use.
In the tutorial explained below, I was able to achieve the Restoration Hardware aged look by using a dry brushed, whitewashed painting technique, then applying a brown-gray glaze. Whitewashing wood gives it a dull, more worn, gray look, and allows the grooves and marking to “pick up” the white. The glaze adds another layer of semi-transparent color, tinting the more pronounced white areas and again allowing more grooves and markings to “pick up” the dark glaze color. You can choose any color or number of colors to achieve your desired look.
Are you ready? Grab that piece of furniture and let’s get started!
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TOOLS FOR RESTORATION HARDWARE AGED LOOK
SUPPLIES FOR RESTORATION HARDWARE AGED LOOK
- Canvas drop cloths
- White latex paint – I used Ceiling Bright White from Sherwin Williams (for the whitewashed, dry brushing)
- Newspaper or something to blot the end of the paintbrush on
- Latex paint – I used a mixture of brown and black to achieve a brown gray look (for glazing)
- Rags or old t-shirts
- Sealer – Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane
As part of my dining area refresh I wanted to lighten up the table, get new dining chairs and add an area rug. I have dark wood floors so by lightening up the table and adding a light-colored area rug, I could add some contrast to the space. Here is how my table started out. Not horrible by any means, but dark and didn’t jive with the whiter, brighter farmhouse look I was going for.
STEPS TO ACHIEVE RESTORATION HARDWARE AGED LOOK
Step 1) Protect the area under your furniture using the canvas drop cloths. Sand your piece of furniture. I admit that I didn’t sand my table and I am probably going to be a [Nervous Nellie] anytime someone uses it for fear they will scratch the new finish off. If I had to do it all over again I would at least lightly sand it. A little bit of sanding will help the paint adhere, especially since you won’t be applying a primer. After sanding, vacuum and clean your piece of furniture.
For the dry brushing, whitewashing technique, create a 1:1 mixture of water with white latex paint and stir. You can add more water to dilute the paint if you prefer. Dip just the tip of your chip brush in the paint water mixture and blot the end on a newspaper several times.
With a light stroke, go back and forth with the grain of the wood, applying a light coat. Because you’re applying a light stroke of diluted paint, the wood grain and the imperfections in the wood will pick up the white quite nicely, while avoiding a heavy coverage.
Apply as many coats until you are happy with the look. I achieved my desired look in four coats.
Related: How to Whitewash Faux Brick
My goal was to cover just enough of the wood to look white, while also allowing the more pronounced wood grain to show through. Allow the paint to dry. At this point, you can leave your furniture as is. I was able to achieve some variety in the wood grain with just this first step. However, it looked too gray for me and I wanted to warm it up since I already have lots of gray in my house. So I moved onto the next step by adding a glaze.
Step 2) Create a 1:4-8 ratio of paint to glaze mixture and stir. The more glaze you add the longer time you have to “work” with it. I mixed brown and black latex paint to make a brown-gray color. Then I mixed a 1:4 paint to glaze ratio.
You don’t need a lot of the mixture. I only used about one cup of paint glaze mixture for my whole table. Apply the paint-glaze mixture to a small section with the chip brush. Allow it to sit for a few seconds to one minute then wipe it off with your rag or t-shirt. For a darker look, let it sit longer before wiping it off. When you are just starting out, I suggest allowing the glaze to sit for a shorter period of time, then as you get comfortable with the technique allow it to sit for a longer time to achieve your desired look. If you accidentally let it sit too long, wet your rag and wipe it off and start again.
Here is the table half glazed.
Step 3) Apply a sealer. Because I didn’t sand it or use a primer, I applied two coats of a triple-thick poly for extra protection.
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