Distressed crib from Restoration HardwareRHBabyandChild.com

Restoration Hardware has joined other home furnishing chains like Pottery Barn in rolling out a luxe kids line, complete with furniture, linens, lighting, apparel, gifts and more.

Sold online only, Restoration Hardware’s neo-classical nursery furniture is arranged in over 50 collections, each with crib, dresser, and (sometimes) a bookcase and armoire. Finish options are limited: two choices in most cases, although new distressed options (pictured) have been added along with upholstered end panels on some designs.

Most of Restoration Hardware cribs are made by Bassettbaby, reviewed separately. Obviously, these are upgraded models compared with what Bassett sells to other chain stores—hidden hardware, distressed finishes, etc. Dressers include English dovetail joints, cedar-lined drawers and tip guards.

FYI: Some designs are also made by Million Dollar Baby (MDB). How can you tell which is which? RH won’t reveal it, but we found that by opening the assembly instructions PDF for each crib and copying a phrase to Google . .. voila!  You’ll find the same wording in instructions for Million Dollar Baby cribs.

To give RH Baby some credit, the chain has been a trend-setter in recent years. We meet with many crib designers from other brands/stores who tell us this new style is “similar to the Restoration Hardware look.” The entire rustic, textured wood finish look is largely credited to RH Baby.

So, what’s not to like about RH cribs? Well, the prices are in the stratosphere: $950 to $2000 for a crib. And that doesn’t include “unlimited delivery” fees ($200-$400, depending on your distance to a RH store; Hawaii & Alaska are $1200) and hotel mini-bar prices for accessories (a $600 bookcase, anyone?). “Unlimited delivery” does include assembly, so it may be worth it to have them assemble the crib if time is tight.

In the past year, RH started a members program—for a $100 annual fee, you get 25% off full priced items, another 20% off sale items. Other perks include complimentary interior design services and early access to clearance events.

Here’s the kicker: most RH cribs only convert to toddler beds, not twin or full size beds as most convertible cribs. Hard to imagine, but Restoration Hardware has managed to make even the most expensive nursery brands sold in specialty stores look like a bargain. At least if you are spending $1000 for a crib in such stores, most likely you are getting a convertible model that turns into a full-size bed. We suppose the point here is you are supposed to go back to Restoration Hardware and spend another $1000 on a big kid bed.

Restoration Hardware's Chesterfield Tufted crib with upholstered ends

Restoration Hardware’s Chesterfield Tufted crib with upholstered ends. If your baby throws up in this nursery, guess where it is going to land!

Another negative: RH has gone all in on the upholstered crib look (see photo). Currently, a dozen of their designs are “tufted” or upholstered. Thankfully, the upholstery is not on the inside of the crib—and RH claims the fabric is stain resistant, but color us skeptical. If you’re a first time parent, you’ll have to take our word for it that your child will surprise you with all the possible mess he or she can create in places that don’t seem reachable.

Reader feedback has been mixed on RH—one reader complained that much of her nursery furniture order was on backorder . . . for months! And the quality? “Many of the things I ordered (the mobile in particular) were sub par in terms of quality or arrived broken, however highly priced.”

Other online reviewers complain about RH’s returns process and customer service. The shipping fees can be exhibortant—$125 to ship a $199 mattress! And RH Baby’s stores (there are 10 or so galleries around the US) are more like showrooms than actual stores—few items are in stock, most things must be special ordered with long waits for delivery.

Bottom line: lots of folks love the look, but customer experience sucks. And the prices? There is much better value and service elsewhere. Rating: F