Key Care Tips for Your Fine Antique Furniture

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Collecting fine antique furniture is more than just an oblique hobby. Indeed, it can become something of a lifestyle for those that catch the bug well enough. Not only is hunting for a good antique deal a thrill in and of itself, but a successful find can also be indispensable when set against the rising costs of high-street items.

Your relationship to your furniture collection does not stop with purchase and installation in the home. Antique furniture must be kept, and kept well, in order to continue showing them and your wider home in the best possible light. Whether you were born an antique hunter, or had antiques thrust upon you… You might be looking for some tips on how best to care for your collection! Well, look no further.

Maintain the Finish

Every piece of fine antique furniture has been finished in some beguiling way, whether a sheen of varnish or natural finish. Many will say that nothing short of a complete re-finish will keep your pieces in best shape, but that’s not always true. Antique furniture can be low-maintenance in good conditions, needing little more than a regular dust and occasional buff with polish.

Regency Chinoiserie cabinet
Regency Chinoiserie cabinet

However, there are instances in which a re-finish may be necessary. For instance, when antique have already suffered damage or degradation (more on which shortly). But even re-finishing is not quite as daunting as it sounds. Something like a Milwaukee multi-tool can make short work of sanding off the existing finish, and also of cutting away any rotted areas, before continuing with a fresh coat of oil or varnish.

Reduce UV Exposure

To stave off the need to take such measures, you can ensure your pieces aren’t enduring too much direct sunlight. UV exposure can lead to the degradation of varnishes in particular, and especially older shellac finishes… Resulting in discoloration, raising and brittleness.

Home interior mixing modern and antique elements
Home interior mixing modern and antique elements

If that’s impractical to keep your furniture shaded, polarising sheets can be used to filter UV rays at your window.

Mitigating Moisture

Another major risk factor for vintage furniture is that of moisture or humidity. The presence of either is a danger for wood items of any kind, and can also be impactful for older finishes that may once have protected from moisture. With high humidity, wood can swell, and varnish can crack… A simple de-humidifier unit in each room can help control this. Natural solutions can be even more beneficial, in ensuring that some moisture remains in place – after all, extremely low humidity can also be risky!

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