Restoration Hardware Dining Table (or, Nightmare)

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Pin
  • Email
  • I haven’t written about our Restoration Hardware Dining Table since shortly after we received it because I allowed it to paralyze me. The stress, disappointment, frustration & overwhelm was just too much. Instead, our family of 5 sat at an antique table, intended to be my kitchen desk. It was tight. Chris & I’s legs didn’t even fit underneath it. We just “closed off” the sunroom & pretended that it, along with the table didn’t exist.

    restoration hardware dining table

    We poured over the options time & time again, & realized that the perfect Restoration Hardware table just doesn’t exist. The table we purchased has a beautiful powder finish. That soft, dusty look is unachievable in a maintainable form. No matter what product you use, the finish is going to be altered.

    Even Restoration’s website notes that “For dining tables, use of tablecloths, placemats and coasters is recommended to prevent staining”,  “Clear furniture wax can be applied to protect the finish from minor spills. Use coasters or placemats to help prevent marks or stains” & to “Wipe the table clean with a soft, dry cloth after each use.”

    I did notice it now says this as well “Care: Wipe using a damp cloth with mild soap and water, followed by a dry cloth. Wipe spills up immediately with a dry cloth.” However, that conflicts with their detailed care instructions & I, along with many of you found that a damp cloth takes the finish right off.

    I wish I was writing this with a solution for you today, but I think that it’s a decision each individual has to weigh. Instead, I’m sharing what we chose to do & how we’re moving forward.

    1. If you recall, we immediately panicked. My first piece of advice is DON’T PANIC! Nothing good will come of it!
    2. If you plan to do anything with it, determine if you need to wipe the finish off first {if you’ve damaged it} or just go over the powder finish. The powder finish easily wipes off with a damp cloth. Below are pictures depicting the wood without the finish Restoration Hardware applies. Restoration Hardware table restoration hardware dining table natural how to protect your Restoration Hardware table Tips, tricks, colors & ways to protect your Restoration Hardware table
    3. We chose TRUE Tung Oil, ordered online. There’s a difference – Tung Oil Finish is not 100% Tung Oil. I’m listing the pros & cons based on my understanding & experience:
      1. It’s not supposed to alter the color of the wood. However, the first coat must be used with a combination of paint thinner, which does. It released red tones in the wood we finished. A week later & I found it less noticeable.
      2. It has a matte finish. It can have a slightly more matte appearance with A LOT of steel wool & willpower.
      3. It protects the wood from stains. It fills the pores, which seals the wood & allows it to easily wipe clean.
      4. After using it for a few weeks, I’ve found it durable – oils, crayon, etc have wiped without staining.

    Tips, tricks, colors & ways to protect your Restoration Hardware table

    You can see the sheen from the tung oil in the picture below:

    restoration hardware dining table

    * The Tung Oil Finish I used on our harvest table provides a decent amount of protection, but not as wipeable as what we needed for everyday use. You can read more about the first Tung Oil Finish we used on this table here.

    Another great option would be a matte varnish. They’re difficult to find in stores, but easily accessible online. We used a matte varnish on our stairs & living room at our previous home. This will seal & protect the wood, without altering the color.

    What Stain Color Best Matches Restoration Hardware’s Natural Finish?

    If you have to stain your wood for various reasons, Minwax Driftwood came the closest to the color that I could find. After searching Lowe’s & several local hardware stores, I found it at Home Depot. It seeps into the pores of the wood, so the quicker you wipe it off to remove it, the less color that will be applied, however, it gets pretty dark in the grooves. Here are some examples on various boards. I applied it & Chris followed behind wiping it off. These images are before the tung oil was applied.

    Tips, tricks, colors & ways to protect your Restoration Hardware table

    Tips, tricks, colors & ways to protect your Restoration Hardware table

    Tips, tricks, colors & ways to protect your Restoration Hardware table

    Tips, tricks, colors & ways to protect your Restoration Hardware table

    In the end, it’s not perfect, but it’s functional & looks nice. I would not recommend purchasing this table, but if you have experienced a similar situation, know that you will make peace with it, eventually! I have learned so much from this table. One of the most important lessons is that sometimes we need to redefine our expectations.

    Through all of your comments & emails, I learned that I am not alone. More importantly, I remembered that it’s just a table. Despite wasted time, money & energy, it’s still just a table. It’s a table where I can share breakfast, lunch & dinner with my family. It’s a table I can {& have} shared laughs, wine & tears. It’s a table where I can invite friends & family to get together & share the story of those laughs, wine & tears. It’s a table that brought us together to help each other. If you have an experience with your table & can offer additional help to others, please leave a comment below. If this post & comment thread can save someone even a few of the hours & frustration we put into our table, it’s worth it.

    How to Protect a Restoration Hardware Table with Natural Finish:

    7/21/15 Update: new table, kept Restoration Hardware powder finish on with white flour sack towels, applied Tung oil and used 0000 super fine steel wool to dull the finish. Below are a couple of snapshots of the result. Please use comments below rather than emailing me directly so that they might also help others. Also, many questions have been answered in comments along with reader’s notes, suggestions, and experiences.

    traditional breakfast room / dining area

    salvaged-natural

    11/11/16 Paula graciously sent a photo of her table sealed with Dead Flat Varnish. We used it on our kitchen island you can learn more about it here and the protection it provides.

    protect restoration hardware table dead flat varnish

    Update October 2018: 4 years later I still receive a lot of questions about our Restoration Hardware dining table and how the tung oil is holding up. It has continued to fade over time, but still not the natural finish it once was. However all glue, marker, candle wax, etc have been effortless to eliminate!

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Pin
  • Email
  • Disclosure

    Join Julie Blanner in Celebrating Everyday!