How to refinish furniture with a Restoration Hardware wood finish :: Annie Sloan tutorial

oh Restoration Hardware… how i love thee…

Restoration Hardware's Kenwood Bed

Restoration Hardware’s Kenwood Bed

Big A is currently in his converted crib.  Problem is that he’s getting too big for us to comfortably snuggle and read books in the glider. and sitting on the floor to read to him isn’t fun. so mamma started searching for a new bed on craigslist…. and look what i found.  a glossy white Pottery Barn-looking bed. the very nice fireman who sold it to me even delivered it for free. glossy white painted wood headboard close up here’s the headboard in our garage.  the pix are a bit dark, but you get the idea.  glossy white paint on a well-constructed piece. the beauty about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is that you don’t have to sand or strip any varnish before starting. you just paint. and the paint just sticks. and you’re just happy. and yes, i’ve heard the complaints about how expensive ASCP is, but really, when you take into consideration the time you’ve saved sanding, stripping, and priming, it all works out. AND, with the 4 quarts i purchased almost two years ago, i’ve probably painted out 15-20 pieces of furniture. yes. glossy white painted wood headboard looks a little girly with the white glossy paint, huh? so here are my steps to achieve the ever elusive Restoration Hardware distressed and weathered wood furniture finish:

  • using a 3″ brush, paint out the pieces in Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey.  make sure you get in all the cracks and crevices.  you’ll note that this piece is similar to a bead board, so there are lots of nooks and crannies.  let dry.

MinWax water based gray stain and Old English dark stain

  • using a mixture of MinWax water-based gray and dark Old English, brush on liberally on top of the Paris Gray.  after a minute or so, wipe the mixture off with a rag, but don’t wipe off 100% evenly.  you want some of the pseudo-glaze to stick to the paint, creating some depth on the furniture.  because this is a water-based stain, it’s translucent and allows you to see the wood below it.  the dark stain mixed in was intended to darken the color a bit.

MinWax water based gray stain and Old English dark stain mixture without flash in this experiment, i used about 1/4 cup MinWax, and 8 drops of the Old English.  the above shot is taken without a flash and it looks more gray/brown.  be sure you use the same mixture if you’re remixing for additional pieces so that you achieve the same consistency and colors as you go. MinWax water based gray stain and Old English dark stain mixture with flash in the above shot, i used the flash so that you could see that this glaze had more of a blue-ish gray hue.

  • go over all the pieces using a 220 grit sandpaper…very lightly, with the grain.  play around with the pressure.  i was trying to achieve a pseudo wood grain look, so kept my pressure very light to accomplish the right look without removing too much of the chalk paint.

Annie Sloan dark wax, gloves and old rag

  • then i brought out the Annie Sloan dark wax, my trusty gloves, and some soft rags.  i generously applied the dark wax as i wanted a darker wood look.

Restoration Hardware furniture refinish with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint   what you’ll notice about using the Annie Sloan dark wax is that you sometimes notice the brush marks.  see in the above picture at the bottom center of the headboard?  you see a dark area butted up against a lighter area.  i’ve noticed this happens with AS wax…. but never fear!  the product is so maleable that you can buff it out and even out the look with some #0000 steel wool and elbow grease. that’s right…get those arms in shape by buffing and making the wax more even across your piece. getting the Restoration Hardware distressed wood look after 1st coat of Annie Sloan dark wax see how i was able to get rid of the sharp contrast between the dark and light areas on the headboard? fancy. getting Restoration Hardware distressed wood finish close up headboard pre-0000 steel wool getting Restoration Hardware distressed wood finish close up headboard i LOVE how this piece turned out. Restoration Hardware-inspired big boy room close-up of Restoration Hardware knock-off bed footboard   close-up of Restoration Hardware knock-off bed close-up of Restoration Hardware knock-off headboard Restoration Hardware-inspired big boy room IMG_2369

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  • NeeCee

    Looks great…..I just did something simular with a dining room set….loved it too! check out my Danish Table at

  • Miss Kitty

    Thanks for sharing that great tutorial on how to make the Annie Sloan paint look even better! I agree with you that the paint is worth the price. I saw your post over at “Handy Man Crafty Woman” blog party.

  • Christina @ Floridays Mom

    Thank for you for the awesome tutorial I would have never thought about old english. I have YET to get my hands on some ASCP..I’m DYING to though. Your son’s room is just adorable and I’m loving the faux restoration hardware finish!

    • imeeshu

      You’ve got to try it. It’s wonderful and gives so many different looks.
      Thanks for reading!!


  • Pingback: Power of Paint: Paris Gray and Minwax Faux Restoration Hardware Bed @ Imeeshu()

  • Shelly Andrade

    Your bed turned out fabulous!! Great job!!

    • imeeshu

      thank you! he’s loving it!

  • Jessica

    I love this look!! You did an amazing job! Did you tint the Minwax or did it come that way? If you did tint the minwax with the Annie Sloan what formula did you use? I just want to make sure I get the formula right.

    • imeeshu

      Minwax has a water-based stain that comes in a variety of tints. Good luck and please send me a link when you’re done!!

  • Jessica

    How do you think this would look with a creamy white vs. the paris grey?

    • imeeshu

      It will definitely look good, but may have a more shabby chic look, which I also love. Do a search on my site for “shabby chic side table” and you’ll see that I used white over a wood finish.

      Is the piece you’re painting already white?

  • Jessica

    Well, I want to try and achieve Restoration Hardware’s salvaged natural or antique natural look. I am painting a kitchen table and the top I painted white already and haven’t touched the bottom yet which is just like a medium wood color. I thought maybe the way you did your drum coffee table would give me this look. I am open to any suggestions you may have. I love your pieces!!!

  • Jessica

    Sorry I meant the zero to hero coffee table not the drum table

    • imeeshu

      Gotcha! Yes, as long as you’ve got some wood poking through (via sanding), you can achieve the very rustic wood grain look.

      After painting and before waxing, be sure to sand in one direction (not the band, but the sanding technique! – sorry, bad joke!). Adding additional dry brushed colors just helps to add more depth and layer to your work.

      Using a rougher sandpaper will also have a drastic effect on the final product. For the zero to hero coffee table, I used a very rough sandpaper. On the bed, I used very fine paper and steel wool.

  • Aimee B

    It looks great…I love Old English!! Stopping over from East Coast Creative!!


    Never would have thought that combination, I have been searching for a while and you nailed it!

    • imeeshu

      thanks! 🙂

  • Mia Hart

    Thanks for the post. I have had a lot of older log furniture that needs to be refinished and I will definitely be keeping this post in mind.

  • Michelle

    You are just incredible! Oh, how I wish you lived in Michigan! Thank you for posting, you gave a really well mapped out tutorial, I’m going to try on a small piece and hope it turns out! With applying wax, any tips for a first-timer? Again, just such beautiful work, you have a true gift making old things new!

    • imeeshu

      Thanks, Michelle! I wish I were closer to you, too! I’d totally help you. The clear wax is easy and I prefer using a soft t-shirt to rub it in. The dark wax, I have to admit, is more tricky to use. I don’t find that it goes on evenly and have actually created a different method that’s more forgiving. I use Valspar clear glaze mixed with Wood Kote’s jel’d stain. It gives me more time to achieve the darkness I want in crevices and is much easier to mix to get the darkness I want.
      I now only use the Annie Sloan dark wax on pieces that have great nook and cranny details. Then I used a toothbrush or q-tip to apply in just those areas so that it gets in the nooks and crannies to make the piece more antiqued looking.
      Good luck and pls email me some pix!!

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  • Emily

    Hi. Can you use this techinique to achieve this look on a piece that is dark mahogany in color? Or does the piece have to be light in color?

    • meesh

      Hi Emily, so sorry for my long delay in responding. You’ve probably moved on already, but just in case you’re still thinking about this…YES! You can totally do this on a dark mahogany piece. The beauty of chalk paint is that you can paint over just about anything without needing to strip or sand first.

      IF you find that the dark color is bleeding through the chalk paint, you can do a clear coat over the entire piece, which essentially blocks the stain and color from bleeding through the paint. In all the years I’ve been painting, I’ve only had to do this once.

      Good luck!

  • Julie Parks

    For the Min Wax Water Based Wood Stain – how did you get the grey? Is there a paint code that they used to mix it to get the grey? After seeing your bed, I want to paint and stain a table and chairs on my back porch!

    I was advised not to use the Annie Sloan wax on a piece if it will be on a porch or outside, so they indicated that I should use Annie Sloan lacquer instead.

    This is my first time using Annie Sloan products. I’m excited!

    • meesh

      I don’t really recall, but believe there are many new weathered wood stains that MinWax carries now. Sorry that I don’t have more info, but I’m sure your paint specialist at any of the hardware stores can help you! Good luck. 🙂

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  • Very good article. I’m going through a few of these issues as

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