Restoration Hardware-style does not have to be expensive or time consuming to achieve. It’s simply a matter of choosing a piece that you can transform and then getting the color tones correct. See how this basic-brown-tufted department store bench was easily transformed into rustic canvas RH-style that I think could easily pass for an item in one of their dreamy stores.
This bench is one of those side projects that’s been sitting in my cellar waiting to be worked on.
The reason it sat there so long was because I over-complicated it.
Should I paint or stain the wooden base and what color? Removing the brass upholstery tacks one-by-one was going to be time-consuming, should I re-use them? And how would I deal with the tufted upholstry?
Once I simplified the process and design, the entire bench came together so easily.
Step 1 was to detach the base from the cushioned top. There were about 8 screws holding the two together that needed removing.
Step 2 was to remove the individual nail heads. Wearing eye protection, I simply pried them out with a thin, flathead screwdriver. Most of these bent coming out and could not be re-used.
Step 3 was to recover the bench with a natural color cotton canvas. Actually, my secret is that I use painters cotton canvas drop cloth like THIS one on Amazon. They are inexpensive, heavy-weight, durable, and the perfect natural color.
Natural, Muted Tones
Speaking of color… I mentioned earlier that getting the color correct was an important part of achieving Restoration Hardware style.
Just looking at the RH website, you’ll see they use muted tones of gray and brown in their fabrics and woods – tones naturally found in nature.
Their woods resemble the colors in the bark of trees or the grays of granite stone. Both are uneven, multi-color tones of the same color.
So for this bench transformation, I also kept the base simple in those natural wood tones.
Step 4: I simply took the bench outside on my front stoop (hmmm… does anyone use the word “stoop” anymore?) and with some 80-grit sandpaper, sanded back the brown stain.
The sanding only took about 15 minutes because I did not want to fully remove the brown stain; instead I wanted the brown stain to look roughed-up and rustic.
Once the cushioned bench was re-attached, I hammered just two brass upholstery tacks back onto each corner.
The fabric buttons could be added back. It would involve purchasing the two-piece metal buttons like THESE and recovering them in the same canvas fabric. Once that’s done, re-attaching them is pretty easy; but I happen to like the bench with the smooth surface for now.
And… it happens to coordinate perfectly with my Icelandic Ponies print over the fireplace.
Similar Benches on Amazon
Here are a few more rustic canvas benches. Click the images to see them on Amazon
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to product I use or love myself.