Amping Up Antiques: Things To Look For When Reupholstering Old Furniture

Antique furniture that is has been kept and preserved in the finest condition should not be retouched or restored in any way-- such actions only diminish its value. However, you can click here or get beautiful antique furniture at a discount from a dealer, including chairs and sofas, that need to be reupholstered and repaired. Restoring a sofa or chair to it's former glory is rewarding, but it can be a little daunting at times. If you are up for a challenge, here are a few things you should look for when on the journey or bringing old furniture back to life. 

New Friends

Old furniture can be the home of small animals, including bed bugs and mice. One woman even found a python in a couch she had recovered for free from a street sale. You can hopefully avoid these zoological problem by purchasing furniture from a dealer. If you do happen upon a fixer upper for a greta place at flea market or garage sale, don't hesitate to open it up and feel around to make sure you aren't bringing home any friends. 

Another reason why you want to make sure your furniture is termite and mouse free is because both of these animals are harmful to the integrity of the furniture. Some antiques have delicate padding, such as specialized cushions made from horsehair, or are even stuffed with straw. It is better for restoration if more the original chair and sofa can be preserved. This is often not possible once a furniture has been infested with some sort of animal. 

You can reduce the changes of encountering animals in your furniture finds by asking the seller or dealer where the furniture came from. Before it was auctioned off or put into the warehouse, who owned it? Where was it stored? Has it been cleaned? Some sellers sell salvage furniture "as is", because if it needs work it may not be worth paying to clean it. If the furniture was stored in an attic, barn, or cellar space, it is more likely to be hosting come critters.

Mold And Mildew

Mildew comes with age and poor care/storage. Sofas and other padded antiques are more susceptible to moisture damage simply because the padding can trap moisture. Antique furniture is often made from all natural fibers, like cotton, silk, and linen, simply because synthetic fibers hadn't been widely marketed when the furniture was originally made. The original padding will also be made from organic materials.

If you are trying to preserve the padding of the chair, you can help to resolve mildew problems by removing the finishing fabric (do this carefully if you wish to reuse it). Use a damp sponge soaked in a mild water/bleach to wipe down areas that seem moldy. Bleach kills the mold. Be careful not to use too much bleach, as it can be harmful to the plant fibers.

After cleaning, remove all excess water with a wet/dry vacuum. Store the couch in a dry room with a dehumidifier until the cleaned sofa is completely dry. If the mildew smell or signs of mold remain, you will need to contact an expert in restoration in order to replace cushions and padding as well as finishing fabrics. 

When shopping for fixer-upper furniture pieces, check them for signs of moisture damage. Original upholstery can fade and wear out with time, but strange stains or discolorations are signs that the sofa suffered from a moisture mishap in the past. This shouldn't deter you from buying unless the damage is extensive, but it can be a bargaining chip to help reduce the price.