Having antique furniture in your home is a great way to add character to any space. Mixed with contemporary pieces it can really pop, or a home done entirely in antiques can be very inspiring. No matter your taste in antique décor, these pieces must be treated with great care. Often delicate and well-used, restoring antiques can be a great way to bring life back to the pieces – as long as the restoration is done correctly.
The easiest and often most effective restoration process is proper cleaning. What may look like a damaged surface might just in fact be dirt. Over many years even the most cared for furniture can develop a dull and sticky coating of wax and dust. Often, this coating can be removed with the help of an oil-based wood cleaner and conditioner.
Available in furniture shops, big box home stores and sometimes supermarkets, wood cleaners can take multiple applications to get the cleaning job done right. Be patient and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If after that your antique still doesn’t look lustrous, trying removing that built up grime with warm water and liquid detergent. This mild solution should be used sparingly and you’ll need to work quickly so as not to soak the furniture. Water can actually cause a hazy finish to appear on shellac and lacquer finishes, so be sure to rinse the detergent well with water then dry thoroughly with a dry, soft cloth.
A solvent may also work to clean your antique furniture but this should really be a last-resort solution if nothing else works. But make sure your furniture’s finish won’t be ruined by the solvent. Turpentine can be used on virtually any finish, while denuated alcohol can be used on varnish and lacquer. Never use alcohol on shellac or lacquer surfaces that also contain shellac – this can cause permanent, un-repairable damage.
If your antique furniture requires more restoration than these cleaning options you may want to seek the help of a professional to help you with the process. Many people think they can restore their antiques on their own, but the truth is that it can be a tricky project for an amateur to undertake. If you don’t do it right, you risk ruining the furniture and decreasing its value.
For help restoring your antique furniture, please contact the experts at these restoration companies: