How to Paint a Restoration Hardware type Finish on a Table

Finished Table

I found this little table and 4 chairs at a garage sale.

The original finish was maple.  It needed some work and I decided to update it with paint. (of course!)

I really DO NOT like to strip furniture!

But I felt like I needed to strip the top of this table so that the paint would penetrate the wood and give a more interesting finish.

 After stripping the top, I made a mix of half and half French Linen and Old White Chalk Paint®.

This mix creates a light grey color.

I added about 20% water to thin it.

I painted the top with the French Linen/Old White mixture –

as you can see, I really didn’t try to cover it evenly.

Let it dry.  (Doesn’t take too long to dry!  Maybe 30 minutes or so.)

After it dried, I sanded the top using an electric sander.

I don’t usually use an electric sander when distressing Chalk Paint® or Milk Paint, but in this case, I wanted to do alot more sanding than ususal and the electric sander is much quicker.  I used 220 grit sandpaper.

The sanding makes the surface very smooth and shows up the grain in the wood.

The next step was to apply a second color.

I used Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint “Trophy”, which is a dark grey.

The great thing about Milk Paint is that it soaks into the surface more than other paint and really creates depth.

I mixed the Trophy powder about 1:3 with water to make a wash.

I covered the whole surface with the thinned out Milk Paint.

This layer will dry quickly also!

Sand with electric sander.


My goal with the sanding was to smooth the surface again and to show up some of the warmth of the wood grain.

At this point, the overall color was a bit too gray, so I wanted to add some lightness.

I thinned down some Old White Chalk Paint®.

Painted a thin layer over the surface, not a perfect coat, just enough to cover.

Let it dry and sand again.

I have to admit that I didn’t really know what I was doing during this whole process! 

I knew I wanted sort of a white wash look but with some grey tones.

The finish evolved as I applied each layer.  At one point, I thought I was going to hate this finish but it started getting more beautiful as I added each color.   Someone had once told me  (I think it was Annie Sloan!) that, when adding layers of paint, start with a medium tone as the first color and then add the dark and light over top.  I used this advice for this table top and it worked great!

The final step was to apply Clear Soft Wax, two coats.

I experimented with adding a layer of Dark Wax on top of the Clear Wax but I didn’t like it, so I wiped it off with a little bit of mineral spirits.


The base of the table and the chairs were painted with Old White Chalk Paint® and Clear Soft Wax.

Before and After

It really is a very pretty finish and is not hard to do.

Don’t be afraid to use layers and to experiment with using Chalk Paint® and MMS Milk Paint together on the same piece!


We opened our new store in Cumming, Georgia a few weeks ago and we love it!

It was a lot of work getting it ready but worth it.

For a couple months,  I spent hours on Pinterest looking for store ideas.

Some of my favorite pins were rooms with old, white brick walls.



So is this one!

 Emily Wren Photography

 My vision for my store was a combination of whites, greys, and other neutrals.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy to achieve this look in a retail space in a shopping center!  I was on a tight budget and a tight timeline.  Unfortunately,  dirty, old white bricks were nowhere to be found!

So I settled for a mix of brown and grey veneer brick applied on the back wall of my store.

    Cumming bricks install

They definitely added character to the space but looked too new.  I mentioned to everyone who saw them that I really wanted white bricks.  Then I mentioned that I was thinking about painting them.  “DON’T PAINT THE BRICKS!”  they all said.   “You’ll ruin them,” they all said.  “They look good the way they are.”   So I didn’t paint the bricks, at least not right away.  But then a few days later we installed a new floor and the combination of all the browns and greys was just too much.  Too many colors and too much texture.  It hurt my eyes every time I walked in the door.



So one day when I was all alone in the store, I poured some Old White Chalk Paint® in a small roller pan, took out my mini fabric whiz roller, and started painting the bricks!  I have to admit I was scared to death!  What if all those people are right and I ruin all these beautiful, expensive bricks!  But I kept going and just rolled the Chalk Paint® gently over the surface of the bricks.



I tried to cover up the colors of the brick that I didn’t like and left the grey areas showing through.  After I finished a small corner, I stepped back and looked.  It was EXACTLY what I wanted!  I kept going and finished the entire wall in about 45 minutes.  I didn’t have to prep or clean the bricks because they were brand new.


  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE BRICKS NOW!  And everyone who told me not to paint the bricks….THEY ALL LOVE THEM TOO!

It was the easiest and fastest “faux finish” I’ve ever done and totally transformed my store.

Cumming store bricks2

Just another example of what the amazing Chalk Paint® can do!

 (The bricks and floor were installed by “Three Little Dogs Flooring & Interiors” of Cumming, Ga.  They did a great job and are fantastic to work with!  This is NOT a paid announcement.)