Searching for (and Not Finding) Inspiration at Restoration Hardware

If Restoration Hardware had a presence in social media (the fact that they don't baffles me), our relationship status would be "it's complicated." There are times when I lust after their pieces and other times when I just don't get what they are doing. Those inch-thick sourcebooks still get the side eye from me.

But there's no denying that Resto has some luxurious looking beds on their website. In recent weeks, as I've been searching for some inspiration for our master bedroom, I have found myself on the RH website.

One of the color options for the bedding in the second image, the "Italian 19th Century Medallion Bedding Collection," looked kind of interesting to me, so I decided to stop by Restoration Hardware to see it in person.

Does anyone else miss the bright, cheerful RH store? The stores used to be painted in their signature color (Silver Sage) and brightly lit. Now, they are painted dark gray and have dim lighting. I'm sure it appeals to many, but it makes me want to take a nap, not shop.

Anyway, I wandered around the Resto store looking at all the different beds. They were scattered about, so it was hard to compare them and aside from the stonewashed linen line, no swatches were out for inspection. I wound up going to the service desk after a while because no one approached me. I flipped back and forth through the bedding part of the sourcebook and the man behind the desk didn't say a word. They have a big bed and bath sale going on right now, so you'd think they'd have some sort of incentive to help someone shopping for bedding.

Finally, I said "excuse me, I could use a little help." The man told me that the different bedding lines were out around the store and I pointed out that many of them weren't (there were probably six beds set up and they have several more lines) and it was hard to know the differences. When I asked for the difference between "vintage washed" linen and "stonewashed" linen, he just said "stonewashed is thicker, that's what I have on my bed." So was I supposed to get excited based on that information alone?

I can't remember what my next question was, but the guy seemed to get frustrated with me. He said "come here" and walked briskly to one of the "rooms" within the store. He opened a drawer in a dresser and pulled out an armload of swatch rings. He dropped the on the bed with a "here" and walked away. I kind of laughed. That was exactly what I wanted. That's exactly what every Restoration Hardware should have displayed somewhere in the store. Once I laid the swatch rings out and could see and feel the different linens side-by-side, it was easy to see the differences.

One problem: there were still swatches missing from the rings. Poor Silver Sage, formerly the dominant color in RH stores, was missing from every ring in it's two versions (dark and light). That medallion pattern that originally interested me was missing completely. In fact, they didn't have swatches for any of the patterned bedding.

Despite the sale, there was no way I was going to buy anything without being able to see all of the options, especially since I was hoping to find a pattern to inspire the rest of the bedroom design. To be honest, once I started feeling the swatches, I wasn't too, to impressed with the feel of RH's linen anyway. The dismissive salesperson obviously didn't help.

Anyone else have a love/hate relationship with a store? Sadly, I think my relationship with Restoration Hardware is over now.


  1. I'm unhappy with the direction RH has gone in: the sombre colors, the ponderous style. I considered them when we needed furnishings for our new patio, and I didn't like anything they had to offer--not even as fantasy furniture that I wish I could buy but couldn't afford. Even worse, we had an uncomfortable experience in one of their stores. I can't remember what city we were in, but I popped in to browse with two of my children (pre-teens, well behaved) and they followed us around like they thought we were going to steal something. Unacceptable.

  2. We had the WORST customer service experience in their Tampa store yesterday! Just like yours - the sales staff didn't acknowledge us even though we were the ONLY ones in the entire store. I showed interest in a couch & a chandelier & not a single sales associate offered to assist. While I love some f their styles, I will not be giving them my money! Thank you for your blog!

  3. @Anon2 I LOVE Silver Sage so much. It's such a beautiful color.

  4. @Madison Especially when it comes to colors. They give the tiniest swatches on the website. It's hard to know if a color is right.

  5. @amanda a I love their lighting, too. I always keep an eye on the Copy Cat Chic blog. She often posts pieces from Overstock and other stores of the like for some of the trendy RH items.

  6. I've been over Restoration Hardware for awhile now. I miss the old store with kitschy products (which they always ramped up at the holidays) as well as linens, furniture, hardware, etc. In 2000, I painted my first kitchen silver sage (I was obsessed with that color) and bought a wall mounted mailbox (that the current owners still use) for our row home. Today, the store is so depressing looking that I can't walk by without shaking my head at how sad it's become.

  7. Don't order ANYTHING from them unless you want the headache of fighting with them to take a return because it arrived damaged!

  8. I love Restoration Hardware, but agree that it's frustrating when you can't see things in the store.

  9. i'm obsessed with orb chandelier. but found almost same on overstock for 300...LITTLE savings. i would say i look there for inspiration but no purchase.


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