How to get the Restoration Hardware look for less

If you read my last blog about ‘5 tips to get the Restoration Hardware look’ and you’re now reading this blog, you’re probably like me, and don’t have a large budget. You can definitely get this look by following the 5 tips and shopping around for similar pieces.

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Our lounge before – English country style

Although our lounge wasn’t bad before (note this was before we put the TV on the wall!) it just didn’t feel like those beautiful images of the Restoration Hardware showrooms that I loved so much. In my last blog ‘5 tips to get the Restoration Hardware look’ I deconstructed the look into 5 elements to make it easy to reconstruct the same look in our lounge.

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The 3D plan of the redesigned lounge.

Walls:

Firstly the wall color needed to be darker. All the Restoration Hardware images have a warm grey / brown color on the walls to add drama and coziness. So I chose Caffeine by Behr to recreate a similar look.

Furniture:

Next, the obligatory balustrade coffee table was a must, and a French casement cabinet. I found a much cheaper version of the balustrade coffee table at Joss & Main. It’s usually $834 which almost half the price of the Restoration Hardware version, but I got it for around $400 on sale.

I really wanted a French casement cabinet also, and did find similar options for less. But being that my budget was virtually $0 for this make-over, I decided to repurpose an existing bookcase by painting it white with Annie Sloan chalk paint. Read how to do that here in my other blog post.

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Greenery:

I needed to remove all color from the previous design, and only add it back in through greenery in plants. So I added a couple of topiaries either side of the fireplace, which also added symmetry, and moss balls in a striking dish that I bought from Z Gallerie.

I also removed all color from the room from pictures and accessories, and only accessorized with neutral colored items.

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Mantel:

I wanted to get a more classic look on the fireplace, and less Mid-Century Modern, so I repurposed the fireplace mantel by trimming the length down and painting it with some more of the Annie Sloan chalk paint. I added corbels to it to give it that classic feel, which were a whopping $6 from a Goodwill store that I again chalk painted.

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Symmetry:

I really wanted to add these arched mirrors either side of fireplace from Joss & Main, however on the $0 budget I had, that’s something that will have to come later. For now I created my own version with mirrors I found on sale at Hobby Lobby for $16 each. They looked a little bit lost on the brick wall, so I made some white shutters to make them appear larger and less lost. In total they cost about $50 for the pair.

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Old prints:

A signature look of Restoration Hardware is the use of old prints or maps. Loving this look, but not the $1000 or so it costs to buy their version, I created my own. And actually, I’m glad I did as these prints have meaning to this house, as they’re the original architectural drawings for the extension they had in 1987.

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It’s not a total replica of the Restoration Hardware look, but on the shoestring budget I had to play with, I think the room is completely transformed and feels much more like the look I was aiming for. Whilst you can certainly get a similar look for less, you really can’t beat the real thing.

Thanks for reading!

Jo @britflipper

Using color and texture to bring the inside out

We had our first taste of 80F+ weather here in Minnesota this week and it’s got me thinking about our deck and indoor / outdoor living. When our kitchen finally gets finished I want the deck off the kitchen to feel like an extension of this room. Now I’m about as un-green-fingered as they come, so don’t expect any plant maintenance tips in this post! But I can tell you what I’ve found out about bringing the inside out through color and texture. (Translation note: a garden is a backyard in British English.)

Tip 1: Keep a similar color theme inside and out

I think this is where we’ve been going wrong. Our house is dark brown outside and we’ve been accessorizing with burnt orange as it added a pop of color and tied in really nicely with the brown. But nothing inside our house is orange so it just makes the outside feel very different to the inside.

Our new kitchen will be warm grays, whites and natural wood. So to tie in the deck to this room we need to accessorize with neutrals to make it flow. I absolutely love this London garden by Claire Mee.

Leopoldina Haynes’ London garden by Claire Mee

The colors are beautifully neutral. She kept the paint on the wall neutral with Dulux Chalky Downs, and tied in the fabrics in a similar warm grey. Even the plants are neutral! Which is an important point to make. Don’t buy all your furniture and soft furnishings in your theme color then forget about planting colors (like I often do!) The plant colors should be part of the design, not just the flowers but the foliage too.

Tip 2: Don’t forget about plant color!

She used white and green flowering plants, such as hydrangeas and cyclamen, and plants with silvery foliage such as the olive trees in the back. She also used round buxus topiaries to add more green and also structure.

Leopoldina Haynes’ London garden by Claire Mee

Tip 3: Use fabrics to make an outdoor room cozy

Texture can also play a big part in bringing the inside out and making a cohesive space. The fabrics Claire Mee used in this modern country garden design are natural in cotton and linen and work well for this style.

Leopoldina Haynes’ London garden by Claire Mee

Usiing fabrics outdoors can also help make the space feel cozy and make it feel more like an outdoor room. Louise Jones’ garden below uses lots of soft furnishing and makes this space feel very welcoming.

Mediterranean garden by Louise Jones

Tip 4: Use other textures such as wicker

Claire Mee also used a lot of wicker, even the planters. I love these planters! They add so much texture and tie the warm grays into the design that little bit more.

Leopoldina Haynes’ London garden by Claire Mee

You could tie in the wicker by using wicker chairs around your dining table like this design did.

Wicker dining chairs add texture

I tried to take all these points into account when giving our balcony a make-over last year.

We were on a very tight budget so I actually reused plants out of the garden and planted them in some inexpensive resin wicker planters we bought from At Home. The loungers were from Wayfair for around $300. And the lanterns were from Pier 1.

I’m hoping to create a similar style on the lower deck this year. Using neutral colors, adding in some fabrics, and textures to create a cozy homely feel. Stay tuned for that one.

For now though, thanks for reading and I hope it was helpful. I’d love to see how you make your outdoor spaces feel more like home. Please share your tips and photos with me.

Jo @britflipper

How To Paint Furniture With Chalk Paint – 6 Easy Steps

Finished bookcase painted with chalk paint

Have you ever browsed listings like Craiglist, eBay or Facebook Marketplace and loved a piece of furniture but thought “If only it was white/black/grey”? You may have skipped past it because you thought it was too difficult to make it look like you wanted it to. Well I’m here to tell you that it’s super easy to make-over furniture. This blog post explains how to paint furniture with chalk paint in just 6 easy steps. To see how to paint furniture with spray paint and regular acrylic paint read my blog here.

I decided to chalk paint a bookcase we brought over from the UK. It’s a pine bookcase we paid about £30 for and painted in Downpipe Grey by Farrow & Ball (on the left). Which I do absolutely love, but with repainting the lounge to a darker shade it would’ve looked lost. So I decided to paint it in Old White by Annie Sloan to contrast with the brown paint we’re doing.

Here’s how I did it in 6 steps, so you can try it on a second-hand bargain find too!

What you’ll need:

  • Chalk paint
  • Clear wax
  • Dark wax (if you want to age it)
  • A brush
  • Some lint-free rags
  • Fine sandpaper

I recommend Annie Sloan chalk paint, it’s a little pricey at $40 per quart but has better coverage and color than others I’ve tried. I also used the Annie Sloan clear and dark waxes. Make sure the rags are lint-free with no fluff or dust on them, otherwise you’ll end up waxing bits of fluff into the finish.

Step 1: Firstly give your furniture a light sand. You don’t need to sand things when using chalk paint, but it helps to get rid of any imperfections that you don’t want showing through at the end.

Step 2. Start painting! Chalk paint is quite thick, so if you don’t want it to look so textured you can water it down to give a smoother finish. I didn’t thin mine down, I wished I had now. But the texture definitely picks up the dark wax at the end if you’re distressing it which gives a nice effect.

First coat of chalk paint
After one coat

Step 3. Keep painting until none of the old color shows through. It took me three coats, and I probably should’ve done four, but I have no patience!

Step 4. If you want it to stay looking perfect and clean, then all you need to do now is apply the clear wax. I applied it with a rag, rubbing it all into the grain. Then rub off the excess with another clean rag.

Step 5. If you want it to look distressed, start sanding off the edges to make it look worn.

Sanded edges on distressed furniture

Step 6. If you want to make it look really old and worn, apply the dark wax. This step takes a lot of skill to apply it well without making it look too dark. I ended up mixing a tiny bit of the dark wax with some of the clear wax so it didn’t make it too dark. If you do apply too much dark wax, just apply more of the clear wax over the top until it lightens up. Or if all else fails, try sanding it back a bit more before it dries.

Chalk painted bookcase
Chalk painted bookcase with dark wax
Finished bookcase with chalk paint and wax

And that’s it! 6 easy steps to paint furniture with chalk paint to transform a bargain into a beauty! You can also paint other things like books, lamps, fabric etc. Annie Sloan’s website has some great tutorial videos and tips. You can check it out here: Annie Sloan website.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear how your chalk paint projects go. Share in the comments section or tag me on Instagram @britflipper.

Please feel free to Pin It!

Until next time,

Jo