Category Archives: Restoration Tips & Tricks

5 Best Tips for Antique Furniture Care

Antique Furniture Care – What Should I Do?

5 Best Tips for Antique Furniture Care

Here at EuroLux Antiques, we are often asked how to best care for antique furniture. Just remember these five key tips for antique furniture care, and your antiques will look great for many years to come.

Dodge the Draft

My best piece of advice when it comes to caring for antique furniture is to avoid air blowing directly on your piece of furniture. Don’t place antique furniture over or next to a heat register in the floor or under a vent in the ceiling. Wood separation, splitting, and cracking are exacerbated by fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Find out more about wood separation here.

Keep out of Sunlight

Direct sunlight falling on a piece of antique furniture will cause the finish to deteriorate at an accelerated rate. Eventually the finish will look very faded and washed out. Of course, you don’t need to keep your home in the dark in order to care for your antique furniture. Just be sure to have some sort of sheer curtains, or blinds, so that you can diffuse harsh sunlight.

Use a Humidifier

If you live in a geographic area where there are significant swings in humidity throughout the year, you may want to place a humidifier in your home in order to help care for your antique furniture. The moisture content in the wood of your antique furniture will adjust to the ambient humidity in your home. These fluctuations throughout the year, from the humid days of summer to the dryness caused by heating your home in the winter, will cause an increase in wood separation, and may result in splits and cracks in your wood.

Avoid Spray-On Products

Don’t use cleaning products that you spray on your antique furniture. These products actually create a waxy buildup over time that will make your antique furniture look hazy and dull. They actually attract dust, which means you have to buy another bottle of the product, making the manufacturer happy. Just use a soft rag, very slightly dampened, or a duster, to lift the dust on a regular biweekly or monthly basis.

Apply Paste Wax Once Per Year

The best way to care for your antique furniture, on an on-going basis, is to use a good paste wax once per year. There are quite a few brands of paste wax available on the market, but we prefer TLC wax. We find it gives a beautiful glow and is easier to work with than other brands. Apply a thin layer of paste wax with 0000 (4x) steel wool and then buff off with a microfiber towel or use a brush attachment with a drill.

Remember these 5 tips for antique furniture care and your antiques will look beautiful for many years to come!

Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her hubby and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

When It Breaks: DIY or Professional Restorer?

We’ve all felt that horrible sensation in the pit of our stomach when a treasured piece of china crashes onto the floor. Did it break? How badly is it broken? Can we salvage it at all?

Whether the damaged item is a cherished antique Blue Delft vase or an antique Belgian dining chair, it can be difficult to decide how to proceed. Some repair or restoration projects are do-it-yourself in nature, while others perhaps should be left to a professional.

As you might imagine, we do quite a bit of repair and restoration work around here. Not every item that arrives in a shipping container from Europe survives the trip unscathed. Thankfully, we have Greg’s mother, Kathy, to perform expert repairs and restoration on items that need tending. By the way, if you ever have a question as to whether we’ve repaired or restored an item in our inventory, please don’t hesitate to ask. Usually, we tell you right in the description, but I’m never offended by questions!

Because ’tis the season when glass and china items get dropped, knocked off the shelf, or otherwise broken, I asked Kathy for some tips on how to decide when to use a professional restorer. We focused on ceramic items because Kathy is a certified expert in fine ceramics restoration, as you can tell from this photo!

Step One: Consider the Monetary Value of the Object

The value of an object after restoration should be the same as it was before the object was broken. If the cost of repairs will be significantly more than the item is worth, you might want to try repairing it yourself. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to professionally restore a $2 coffee mug. And sometimes you can go on Replacements.com to find china pieces for a fraction of the cost of a professional restoration.

Step Two: Consider the Sentimental Value

You may feel an heirloom item is worth professional restoration, regardless of the cost. That’s OK. If you have a piece you want to continue to pass down through the generations, and if you can afford the cost to have it restored, then why not do it?

Step Three: Consider How the Item is Used

Most professionally restored ceramics cannot be soaked or washed in a dishwasher. This means a repaired object must be relegated to decorative status. If you’ve broken a utilitarian piece, such as a dinner plate, you may want to check other sources for a replacement rather than trying to repair the piece. If, on the other hand, the broken object is a vase, you may wish to proceed with the repair even though you know you won’t be able to display fresh-cut flowers in it anymore.

Step Four: Consider the Expense

A truly skilled restorer can make a broken piece look new again, but this expertise comes at a price. You should also take into account these factors that can increase the cost of any professional ceramics restoration:

  • If the object is broken into many pieces
  • If pieces are missing and must be fabricated
  • If the pattern has to be researched (for example, to determine the correct shape for a handle to be fabricated)
  • If a repair (such as gluing) has already been attempted and the old bonding must be removed
  • If the object includes decorative pieces in raised relief, such as flowers, that must be cast in a mold

It’s also worth noting that Royal Doulton and Dux items usually cost more to repair because cracks tend to “travel” during the restoration process, making the whole thing trickier and more time-consuming.

How to Choose a Professional Restorer

If you decide to have that heirloom vase restored, here are a few things to look for in a professional restorer:

  • Professional certification from a noteworthy training institute or school
  • A portfolio of repairs for you to review to evaluate the quality of work
  • Customer testimonials available on their website or referrals to clients willing to discuss their experience with you

If you have any questions about professional ceramics restoration, we’re always happy to chat with you by phone!

 Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

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To Upcycle or Not to Upcycle

The hot new buzzword in antiques and vintage is “upcycling.” What does it mean, exactly?

An “upcycled” object is something old that has been re-purposed into something new and functional. An upcycled object can be as simple as an old jar turned into an oil lamp, or it can be as complex as an antique sideboard turned into a dual vanity for the bathroom.

In our recent newsletter, we introduced you to a line of upcycled vintage light fixtures we’re now carrying. They’re made by Nashville artist Robbie Cook, who takes smaller vintage objects like silverplate spoons, electrical insulators, and old door plates and turns them into charming chandeliers. Here’s one example:

This “spoondelier” re-purposes 360 vintage silverplate spoons into a unique chandelier. Those spoons might otherwise have wound up in a landfill. The spoondelier may not be for everyone, but for those who enjoy their antiques with a touch of whimsy, this is a great piece. Not to mention it’s a one-of-a-kind work of art, since each one is handmade and no two are alike.

Here’s another example of Cook’s work:

Blue insulators take on new life in this fun and beautiful chandelier!

And here’s one more example of Cook’s work. This piece represents elaborate upcycling at its finest:

This delightful chandelier is a perfectly amusing piece for any cottage decor or for anyone who takes her tea with a lump of humor.

OK, upcycling small objects is one thing, but would you ever consider cutting holes in an antique server? Some designers would!

Above, interior designer Julie Murray found an antique sideboard to create a two-sink vanity for her bathroom.

And another example. This old dresser not only got its top ripped off, but it got a paint job, as well!

This upcycler did note that this particular dresser was “of no good quality.” Perhaps to ease her conscience?

I take a positive stance on upcycling. If a piece of antique furniture can’t be saved any other way, why not paint it and put a sink in it? And certainly re-purposing old insulators and silverplate spoons into fun light fixtures can’t be a bad thing. But would I ever deliberately cut holes in a fine antique French wardrobe to run cords and cables through the back? Yes, I have done it. But I saved the small hole I cut so that it could be glued back in the future. Living with antiques, I believe, means you should cherish and care for your vintage and antique pieces, but also make them useful and functional for your life today.

What’s your take on upcycling? Where are your boundaries, in terms of re-purposing antique and vintage furniture and objects?

 Aimee owns EuroLuxAntiques.com with her best friend, Greg.  Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way.  She loves her 8 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina.  Connect with or sign up to receive this blog in your inbox!

Our blog to your inbox, like magic. Just enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner. We respect your email privacy!