Why You Should Not Order Restoration Hardware Outdoor Furniture: Buyer Beware of Catalina Cushions

Though I carry fabulous patio furniture on my retail site, The Well Appointed House, and have a number of pieces from our collections on my property (including Kingsely Bate and Summer Classics), I was drawn in by the beautiful photos of Restoration Hardware’s Catalina Collection and decided to purchase items for home.  I ended up ordering six chaises, six side tables, the sofa, coffee table and dining table with six dining chairs for my own pool area in Greenwich, CT.  Here are some of the photos that enticed me — from the Restoration Hardware website.  Not bad, eh?

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However, don’t be fooled by the photos!  Buyer Beware.  As someone very familiar with patio furniture lines, I ordered through the Restoration Hardware trade program, assuming the quality would be good.  It is unfortunately not.  Here are the reasons why you should not purchase cushion (specifically) from Restoration Hardware:

1) RUSTY BUTTONS: The buttons on the “tufted” cushions are metal on the inside and therefore rust.  DUH!  It would be common sense not to put these on outdoor cushions.  In addition, because the cushions don’t ever drain water, they puff out and the buttons pop off (we will get to the lack of drainage below).  Rusty buttons truly ruin the look of what could be a nice set:

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2)  The cushions don’t drain water! Ouch!  So, it rains and three days later you have guests come to swim and relax by the pool, and they get soaked.  Why?  It’s because the “outdoor” cushions marketed by Restoration Hardware as the “preferred choice of leading design professionals worldwide because of their quality and longevity” and cushions that “withstand the elements” and “resist mildew” are actually  clumps of Polyester batting (81%) and Polyurethane Foam (19%)!!  Not at all what you would expect for outdoor cushions.  We always store cushions inside during Fall and Winter.  Cushions in Greenwich only see the light of day from mid May until early September and it’s pathetic (to be frank) that these hold up so poorly.  Have you ever seen outdoor cushions that look like this on the inside?  Here’s a great video that another family made about the lack of drainage on Restoration Hardware outdoor cushions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsqLrJk0d2s

On the right: That looks like mildew to me!  Though these are "mildew resistant"

On the right: That looks like mildew to me! Though these are “mildew resistant”

3) They could catch on fire – so if you plan to use them near a family grill or tiki torches by your pool, be extra careful.

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4) They have a warranty but it’s hard to collect on it.  They post a three year warranty on their cushions  However, they are nearly impossible to reach.  We emailed them photos a year ago and again a week ago and so far, no reparation.   We get confirmation emails that our notes are being received, but no followup.  We recently heard from someone from their photo desk, but nothing has come of it. Stay tuned.

*UPDATE*: In very late summer 2013, Restoration Corporate finally responded and issued a full refund for all furniture purchased.

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38 comments

  1. Jen

    Thanks for heads up Melissa…I was thinking about buying some for my home and searching for problems with restoration hardware and eventually ended up here…what do you think are the best alternatives?

    1. Terry Mattson

      I am looking for outdoor furniture for my new patio. I want it to be beautiful but also last. I live in Oregon and it rains a LOT here. Can you suggest something great? Thank you

  2. Mery

    Hi ! I’m having big probkems with Catalina cushions and I can’t find new ones to replace them here in Miami ! Can you help me ? Thanks !

  3. Elaine Sarratt

    Is there patio furniture that is truly attractive and waterproof? I am in the market for some and feel overwhelmed by all the choices.
    Thank you,
    Elaine S. in SC


    1. Post author
      Melissa

      Summer Classics is great – we sell the line and are happy to quote pricing. I’ve had it at my own house since 2010 and the cushions have held up. Janus et Cie has flow throw cushions, but is very expensive. We sell Kingsley Bate as well and those cushions are high quality. It’s also a good idea to bring cushions in when it is rainy if possible!

  4. Arthur Sweetland

    Make sure you do your research on the product you are buying. Although, there are a lot of good and reliable products there are some that aren’t so reliable. Don’t let that make you think they are all unreliable.

  5. Jeff B Dorough

    Melissa,

    I understand your frustration. Much of RH merchandise is sourced from China. I have a new site launching soon. PATIOLO.com – we will feature the Very Best of the Best in Luxury Outdoor furnishings and Accessories. Many of our Vendors will be Made In The USA. We will be Only Outdoor 24/7. All our Vendors have been in the Industry for 10, 15, 20, 25 years and are ALL family owned businesses. Stay tuned. Come say Hello in Las Vegas @ C1215.

    Sincerely, Jeff B. Dorough

  6. Marjorie Cooke

    Did you receive a full refund on ALL furniture – or just for the cushions?! Very surprised if so. I love my outdoor RH set and cushions. I am having a few issues with dew and mildew on cushions. I put covers on for the rain but when I leave covers off the morning dew causes some issues…..

  7. Jennifer Hale

    I just had to make a note that although this post is helpful – please do not heed the warning about flammability. CA TB 117 was repealed because furniture cushions that contain the chemicals that retard flames (think about the children’s pajama issue in the 1970s – they stopped putting the chemicals in children’s pajamas but kept putting it in furniture cushions until 2013!! so you do not want any products that comply with TB 117 – in fact if you have them, go replace the foam cushions!). The chemicals that slow flames in those old products actually were causing cancer to firefighters so firemen had to go fight to get companies to take action and get that flame retardant out of foam cushions. Although this restoration hardware furniture may not be good for the other reasons stated in this post, please give the store credit for not putting cancer causing toxins in the cushions. You want furniture that does not comply with CA 117 for your health and safety (and just another note, the flame retardants slow the flames only in the foam cushions and only for a very slight delay – the fabric would already be in flames so it is a useless additive).

  8. Ernie Vater

    So does anyone like RH at all ? Some of their more modern looking patio furniture look awesome – Marbella collection in particular – but reading reviews like these scare me to death – lol. Is there anything positive about these guys? Is 2016 any different in general approach ?

  9. Brenda Garrelts

    I find this hard to believe as Restoration Hardware sells sunbrella cushion covers and they are top of the line and guaranteed.

  10. Patrick McGovern

    I restore teak furniture in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lots of it.
    The worst furniture I have ever seen is from Restoration Hardware. They sell it with a cheap finish on it to cover up the poor quality of the materials and sketchy construction techniques. The best teak furniture is always sold as raw, unfinished teak. Always. If it has a finish on it, it is there to hide something.

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  12. Murphy Fox

    We had the same problem with our Restoration Hardware cushions. Thankfully we ordered a sample first and saw how poorly constructed it was. Ultimately we ended up ordering new Sunbrella Rain cushions, which is their new waterproof fabric, from http://www.patiolane.com They even came with zippers so I can easily take them off and clean them.

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  15. Shelley Smith

    I am wondering if anyone has ever filed a lawsuit against RH concerning their outdoor furniture? We have a very large investment in the furniture we purchased from them.
    Sure wish we would’ve seen your blog sooner.

  16. Shelley Smith

    Does anyone know if there has ever been a class action lawsuit against RH about the outdoor furniture? We have an embarrassing amount of money spent on our RH furniture and are having issues with about 98% of it all. We have only had it about 2 years.
    Would love any info on how to handle this problem.


  17. Post author
    Melissa

    We don’t know of anything -but they did refund us for poor quality product and dealt with the problem finally though so in the end, they did the right thing.

  18. John Riley

    About 6 years ago, we purchased some plastic wicker outdoor furniture from RH. The stuff has been slowly disintegrating for a few years. It has been on covered porches in N. California. Very lightly used. Depending on the time of day and time of year, there was some sun exposure. Seems like any bit of it that was exposed to sunlight crumbled. Possibly no UV resistance in the plastic? RH offered nothing. Said the furniture should have been covered. Photos:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnriley/albums/72157696358379911

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