In this post: This is a story all about how to protect a Restoration Hardware Dining Table. Also known as how to avoid massive disappointment.

how to protect a restoration hardware table

You know that feeling when you are so excited about something? You look forward to it and build it up in your head…for years?

Like that thing will mean you’ve arrived. You’re finally an adult. Or something like that.

You’re past your own awkward teenage years, the eating-raman-noodles-for-every-single-meal college years. You have your own place. You work hard. You pinch your pennies (um, nickles if you’re in Canada) and you save your money.

You’ve had your eye on that gorgeous thing for what seems like forever.

The timing was never quite right though. You needed your savings for the dentist or swimming lessons or car repairs. The purchase of that thing was put off time and again.

But finally. Oh finally. There’s enough money in the bank. This is definitely a splurge, no doubt about it. But you’ve waited so long and it will last a long time, so it’s worth it.

You skip off to your favorite store and, with a smile on your face so big you look like the Joker or the Cheshire Cat, you place your order. You are giddy with excitement. Like a kid on Christmas morning.

Delivery day is a couple of weeks away. So you settle in and wait some more.

Finally delivery day arrives. Your thing is ever so carefully carried off the back of the truck and in through your front door. The delivery men unwrap it and ask you to look it over to be sure it’s all good, before having you sign the delivery receipt.

You stare. You can’t believe it’s finally there, in your very own dining room. It’s gorgeous and it’s perfect.

french industrial dining room

You carefully arrange chairs around it. You add a few candles and some flowers as a centerpiece, or maybe a tiered tray. You and your kids sit down to eat lunch. You give them instructions to be ever so careful. It seems the finish is a little um, chalky.

That’s not quite what you expected.

The kids are a little terrified to spill. If you’re honest with yourself, so are you.

And then you do.

It’s just the tiniest little bit of something. But still you rush to wipe it up quickly.

And that’s when it happens. The finish actually IS a little chalky...AND IT WIPES OFF!!?!

(A few curse words may have accidentally spilled from your lips at that moment. But only maybe.)

What a huge disappointment. The finish is practically the whole reason you bought the table.


Well, since you live in 2016 you hop online to see if anyone else has had the same issue. (And you’re not entirely sure why you didn’t think to look that up to begin with.)

Sure enough. Same issue. More than once. More than five times. Hmm. Do the designers of this table expect you NOT to use it? Do they expect you to buy it and then just stare at it from afar? It’s a dining room table, people!

You’ve waited too long. You’ve looked forward to this table for years. It’s darn well going to get used! 

So you do some more looking around online. You’ve DIY’d your own furniture before, so you know there must be some sort of sealer or something that won’t change the finish, but that will protect it.

You’ve used Poly before, but it’s rather shiny. Wax would be more matte, but the process of application would very likely rub off all the existing finish. So you keep looking.

And then.

And then you find it. Something called Dead Flat Varnish. It’s by a company you’ve never heard of before, Saman. It promises to be exactly what it says, dead flat. No shine. No yellowy color. You’re beginning to get excited again. Is it possible? Might you keep the look of the finish you love so much, and yet have it not rub off?

Well, you waste no time in ordering some (because of course it’s not in your local store, so you have to order it online). You cover the table with a thick, ugly vinyl table cloth while you wait. Because you know, it’s actually a dining room table that gets used.

When the varnish arrives  you test it ever so carefully by brushing it on the underside of the table. Just in case.

You wait impatiently as it dries.

The next day (you waited extra long just for good measure) you look carefully on the underside of the table. AND YOU CAN’T EVEN TELL WHERE YOU APPLIED THE VARNISH!

How to protect a Restoration Hardware dining table.

You’ve never been so happy. Okay, perhaps when you got married or had babies. But otherwise.

The table is saved. You will be able to use it for all those family meals you’ve envisioned in your head for so long.

And maybe, just maybe, you can help someone else save their own Restoration Hardware table by sharing your story.

Want to create your own gorgeous makeovers?

Check out our DIY Paint Finishes and Techniques guide.

It includes 12 of our most popular paint finishes and techniques all in one place! Includes photos, supply lists and how to get the looks we feature on our blog Home Made Lovely all the time! 

DIY Paint Finishes and Techniques pages for blog

P.S. This post is NOT sponsored. We really did dream of our Restoration Hardware table for years and were shocked when the rather pricey table’s finish rubbed right off. But we were thrilled that the Saman Dead Flat Varnish did not change the finish and absolutely protects the table now. See, some stories really do have happy endings!

shannon photo and sig oct 2022