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DIY Faux Pottery Barn Seadrift Finish With Paint (Easiest Technique!)


Learn how to paint a faux pottery barn seadrift finish to transform any furniture piece to have a gorgeous, updated finish you will love!


My absolute favorite stain finish is the Pottery Barn seadrift finish, and with this easy step-by-step tutorial, you don’t have to spend a lot to get the same look.  Turn any outdated piece into a furniture gem with this easy tutorial and video for any surface!

I’m not new to faux finishes, as I love creating my own faux stains. In fact, I’ve painted them on dozens of furniture pieces throughout the last 15 years. But out of all these faux finishes, I think this is my new favorite technique.

These are 20-year-old Target nightstands that we got when we first got married. They are made of solid wood, but the tops aren’t in the best shape and I’m tired of the old espresso finish.

before pic of two nightstands

So, What Is A Seadrift Finish?

The Seadrift Finish is Pottery Barn’s most popular furniture finish. It’s not as dark as Gray Wash but warmer and deeper than Linwood. Seadrift is a beachy, coastal-style stain that works well with any color in your home because it is a medium neutral.

Why Use A faux finish with paint instead of Stain?

I love creating faux wood finishes with paint because they are much more predictable than traditional stains. Also, you can go over any existing paint or stain without using a furniture stripper. 

Applying a faux finish to a solid wood piece of furniture gives you the best of both worlds.  The best part is that you get the same look as a high-end furniture piece without the extra cost, and this finish is more durable.

This finish will stand up to daily abuse and still look gorgeous for a very long time.

How Do You Paint a Seadrift Finish on Furniture?

This process is a great option for giving furniture new life, whether this is your first time painting or you are an old pro. 

Also, you can practice this technique on a sample board to build confidence before painting your furniture piece.

Faux Pottery Barn Seadrift Finish Overview

  1. Clean
  2. Lightly Sand (takes less than 5 minutes)
  3. Prime
  4. Base Coat
  5. Glaze
  6. Clear Coat

If it sounds like a lot, I promise it’s easy! With a little hard work, you can have the furniture of your dreams without the high price tag.

Supply List – How to Paint a DIY Pottery Barn Seadrift Finish:

*To get the best results, use my favorite brands of products with an asterisk that you can find here, along with the cheapest place to find them:  LIST OF MY FAVORITE PAINT PRODUCTS

Rustoleum Decorative Glaze in Java – 1 quart (Home Depot online or in-store)

Latex Paint Sample (Base Color) – Get the small sample container of latex paint in Sherwin Williams Universal Khaki in a Satin Sheen at Lowe’s.  If you go to the Home Depot paint counter, ask them to color match their Behr paint sample to that color as they have the code in their system.   

Krud Kutter Pre-Paint Cleaner*

Electric Sander*

220 grit sandpaper pads for your sander* or a Sanding Block/Sponge

High-quality Paint Brush*

Cheap 2″ Brush for Oil-Based Primer* (So you can throw it away)  OR get Mineral Spirits to clean your good brush

Cover Stain Primer – 1 quart (Home Depot and Lowe’s)*

Varathane Water-Based Clear Coat*

Foam Brushes*

Free Must-Have Furniture Painting Tips (Click Here to for this FREE Printable!)

Easiest Faux Pottery Barn Seadrift Finish with Paint

If the instructional video doesn’t pop up, click here: How to Paint a Seadrift Finish, YouTube Video

Step 1 – Clean The Furniture Surface

Remove any old hardware and put it in a baggie for safekeeping until you are done.  Start by cleaning your furniture piece with Krud Kutter Pre-paint Cleaner. 

Spray it on a rag and wipe in circular motions.  This step is especially important for wood tables because grease and dirt can keep your base coat from adhering well. 

Once you cleaned the furniture piece, wipe it down with a damp rag to remove any residual cleaner.

Step 2 – Lightly Sand Your Furniture Piece

Sanding will give us a consistent, smooth surface for our DIY Pottery Barn Seadrift faux finish.  But the good news is that we are just lightly sanding to scuff up the surface.  You are not trying to remove the old paint or stain.

RELATED:  How to Sand Furniture in Less Than 5 Minutes  |  The Best Sander for Furniture

Run your sander over the surface in a circular motion until you have a smooth finish.  Once you are done remove any dust with a tack cloth or moist rag.

Step 3 – Prime Your Furniture Piece:

Because we are using an oil-based primer, you have to clean your brush with mineral spirits.  Because I don’t like to mess with mineral spirits, a simple solution is to just use a cheap brush for oil-based primer and throw it away when you’re done.

Brush on the primer in the direction of the grain in long strokes.  Normally I use a roller for flat surfaces of furniture, but the brush marks from the primer are going to give us the desired effect of faux wood grain.  It will be subtle but will add to the effect of our final faux stain finish.

Be sure to check for drips immediately after painting on the primer coat.

Let your primer dry for two hours before adding the base coat. You won’t get solid coverage with one coat of primer. It will be splotchy like the pic above, but that’s ok! We are about to add the base coat.

Step 4 – Paint on the Base Coat for Your DIY Pottery Barn Seadrift Finish:

Use your brush to paint on your base paint, again in the direction of the grain, just like you did with the primer.    

If you get some streaks of white from the primer coming through, that’s not a big deal and it will just add to the overall look.

Let the base coat dry for 4 hours. 

Step 5 –  Add The Glaze to Create a Faux Seadrift Pottery Barn Finish:

Now is the fun part!

To apply the glaze, we will do the below step in small sections – namely one flat surface of your furniture piece at a time. 

For the side tables, I ended up doing the left side, top, then right side, and last the front. But you can do any order makes the most sense for you. Then do any drawer fronts but always take the drawer out of the furniture piece before you start.

Stir the glaze with a plastic spoon or paint stirrer.

First we just want to get a little bit of the glaze on the surface we are working on – enough to cover it.  Use your brush to paint on the glaze in long strokes in the direction of the grain.

At this point you just want to get the surface covered with glaze.

Now, take your deck brush and make long strokes along the grain without picking up your brush.  You can see how I do this in the video too.

The deck brush will give us the desired effect of the faux wood grain.  Keep brushing until you get the look you want.

If your finish looks too dark, dab some excess glaze off of your deck brush onto a paper plate or paper towel. Keep working the brush over the surface and dab off more glaze if it is still too dark.

Now, to give your paint finish a softer look but more detailed texture, you can use the blue brush in the same way as the deck brush. Just softly do long strokes from the top to the bottom.

When you decide you are done with that surface, decide you are done.  In other words don’t touch it anymore until you are positive its completely dry. 

I’ve messed up faux finishes before trying to get them just perfect when they were already partially dry.  Fortunately, this glaze stays moist for a long time and is very forgiving.

Right after you are done with surface, go back to the last surface you did and see how the two are meeting up. Sometimes you get a buildup of glaze and you get this with the edge of a smaller brush.

The great thing is that imperfections add to the look of the faux finish because wood grains are certainly not perfect.

Let this finish dry over night to make sure it’s ready for the clear coat.

A tiny gnat from my houseplants landed in the finish while it was still wet. If this happens, resist the temptation to get it out of the wet finish. You can just dust the poor gnat off after the surface is completely dry!

What if you want to create the look of separate planks?

If your want to do a faux finish with different planks, you can use painter’s tape and this tutorial: Easy Restoration Hardware Finish With Paint

Step 6 – Add a Top Coat to Protect Your Faux Finish

After testing many different products, I am really happy with Varathane’s water-based matte polyurethane.

RELATED: The Best Clear Coats for Furniture (Clear Wax Alternative)

The clear coat will seal in your beautiful faux finish and protect your furniture piece.  Open the can and stir your clear coat (don’t shake the can!) 

Put some clear coat on a paper plate and use your foam brush to brush on the clear coat in long strokes with the grain. 

I like to use 3 thin coats 1-2 hours apart for high-use furniture pieces.  Also, the can might say to sand between coats, but don’t.  You could possibly sand into your faux finish. 

I use a foam brush for each coat and throw it away afterward because they are cheap. You can also put the wet brush in a baggie and put it in the fridge for a couple of hours. It will still be wet when you do your next coat!

Renovate Your Faith – Why The World Needs You To Be You

If you have been around a four-year old for any length of time, you soon come to realize their expertise in question asking…endless, relentless questions.  

Here are a few of the questions that stick out in my mind:

  • Why did my pet ants decide to go to heaven instead of making their tunnels?
  • How did I watch Ipad when I was in your tummy?
  • When is the cheeseball I planted outside going to grow into a cheeseball tree?

However, there’s one question that would stop me in my tracks…  Read this short devotional by clicking here

Click HERE for More Renovate Your Faith Devotionals

Related Posts to This Pottery Barn Seadrift Finish Dupe

Pottery Barn Seadrift Table Top (Coming Soon)

Easy Guide to Painting Furniture Like a Pro

A Better Alternative to Chalk Paint and Antiquing Wax

Pottery Barn Seadrift Finish DIY Tutorial – Final Thoughts:

With these simple steps, you can turn any old furniture piece into a gorgeous showpiece without the high price-tag.  Also, you can know the final results will hold up to the wear and tear of daily use!

Be sure to comment below if you have any questions at all and I will be sure to get back to you!

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  1. Devin Brooks says:

    What kind of brush is the blue one? Where did you purchase?

  2. Hi Karen, how much coverage do you use with the paint? I have two smaller night stands and not sure if one sample can will work for both? I’m a new painter:) Thanks

    1. You should be ok with one sample container with base coat but I think for peace of mind, I’d get two samples of paint. I hope this helps!

  3. Those are beautiful. What a great upgrade. I can see why you want to do this finish again on other pieces. I’m going to have to find something to try this finish on. Thanks for a great tutorial.

    1. You are so welcome! It’s probably my favorite finish of all the ones I have done. I plan on putting it on at least 2 more furniture pieces and am debating on whether to do an entire secretary in it. Thanks for your kind words Penny!

  4. Good morning, Karin,
    I love the look of this Seadrift finish! I have never seen this technique done before! I also appreciate that this is a ministry for you, and I am always encouraged that you let your light shine for Jesus in every post!! Please be encouraged and know that you are a blessing!!

    1. Hey Karen, Thank you so much for your kind words. They are MUCH appreciated. Let me know if you ever need anything!