How to Preserve Your Antique Furniture For Longer

Monday 3rd May 2021 - Belle Gait


How to Preserve Your Antique Furniture For Longer

We give some tips on the placement, care and other considerations when owning antique furniture.

Antique furniture can make a stunning statement in any home. But furniture that has been in your family for generations or has stood the test of time can be fragile and may need special handling. Antique furniture can last for decades if properly cared for, but it is important to note that a professional eye may still be required sometimes. Even with the best care, these beautiful pieces are primarily constructed of natural materials such as wood, leather, fabric, and metal. All of these are susceptible to wear and tear. Eventually, your items may require refinishing or restoration work.

Here are some tips to help keep antique furniture looking beautiful for longer.


While we appreciate that the aesthetics of a room are a significant consideration in the placement of any antique furniture, there are a few things that you may not have thought of.

  • Try to keep your antique furniture out of direct sunlight, which will cause colours to fade faster.
  • Antique furniture should be kept out of high traffic areas where it is likely to be bumped, knocked, and scratched.
  • Antique furniture should not be placed in humid spaces such as bathrooms and rooms where the temperature changes regularly. These temperature changes can damage the wood. If humidity is an unavoidable issue, consider purchasing a dehumidifier.
  • Do not place antique furniture near a radiator because this could result in an uneven finish and cause it to warp.
  • Avoid placing metal objects near an antique piece such as keys, coins, jewellery or anything that might leave marks.

Cleaning and Care:

As a general rule, antique furniture won't need cleaning or polishing regularly. Yes, the shine looks beautiful, but the products attract dust which eventually causes cracks and damage.

  • Use a soft, dry cloth (chamois leather is best) to dust off surfaces regularly.
  • Avoid using household cleaners that often contain abrasive ingredients capable of scratching delicate finishes. In most cases, you'll want products labelled 'antique safe.' Finishes like varnish can become damaged by alcohols and other solvents found in conventional household cleaners.
  • When cleaning, carefully work from top to bottom and finish with a light buffing of the surface to maintain high gloss levels on furniture surfaces.
  • Polishing should only be done once or twice a year – use a high-quality beeswax-based polish, leave it overnight, and then buff it out in the morning.
  • If anything is inadvertently spilt on an antique piece, you should use a soft cloth to blot this up immediately.
  • Check over your antique furniture regularly for any signs of damage. Termites and woodworm are a common cause of damage to antique furniture. If you spot any signs of wear, then repairs should be performed by an antique restorer who is reputable and knowledgeable.

Moving and Storage:

Ideally, you will endeavour to move an antique piece as little as possible. However, there are a few tips for moving and storage if this is necessary.

  • Ensure you have entirely emptied any items before moving to make the item as light as possible.
  • Lock any cupboard doors and remove any drawers or removable items to prevent them from falling accidentally.
  • Plan the move carefully and ensure the path is completely clear.
  • Get help – grab a family member, friend, or neighbour. Moving furniture is rarely an easy feat, but there is even less room for error with antiques.
  • If you are placing the items into a moving van, we recommend three layers of protection. Remember, don't place any tape directly onto the furniture as the residual stickiness will be very hard to remove!
  • When lifting an antique table, it's vital to lift from the bottom with two hands on either side of the furniture.
  • When lifting antique chairs, make sure you lift by the legs, not on the chair back, as this may cause damage to the wood.
  • Additionally, you can purchase furniture protectors (cloth bags) for upholstered items or those with a fabric finish and use them when storing these pieces to reduce friction against other furniture surfaces.

We trust that this blog has helped you better understand how to care for your antique furniture. Remember these tips when caring for or moving your prized possessions, and they will continue on as beautiful pieces in the home for generations to come. If you're still looking for that gorgeous piece of antique furniture to care for, have a look at the pieces going under the hammer here.