29.04.2021

Tips & trends

6 tips to care for vintage and antique furniture

As active promoters of reusing, reviving, and rediscovering pre-existing home furnishing, we know a few little tricks to maintain and improve vintage and antique items. Discover with us a few DIY tips to care for your favorite objects.

In 2018, 12.1 million tons of furniture were thrown away in America, a staggering figure when you consider that 2.2 million tons were discarded in 1960. Certainly, the population in the United States, as in the rest of the world, has multiplied, but what has really changed are our habits. The advent of fast furniture has invaded homes with new, beautiful, inexpensive, and, above all, rather poor quality furnishings, and as a result, the habit of disposing of these objects without great regret has spread.

And not only that, new services, such as home delivery and the creation of custom-made furniture at low cost, have contributed to the decadence of hand-me-downs, pushing us to reject second-hand furniture, still well-functioning objects inherited or unique pieces found at the street markets. But, fortunately, habits are constantly changing and we are witnessing a trend reversal: also thanks to the advent of platforms that allow you to buy and resell used fully functional furniture online, the reuse and recovery of selected second-hand furniture is returning in vogue. Today finding these objects, often collector's items, is increasingly easy and you can count on short delivery times and the security of the right of return.

Because, let's face it, buying something new is nice, but buying a vintage piece that we like and that is still in almost perfect condition gives much more satisfaction. Of course that "almost" can create some problems and that's why today intOndo points out 6 simple tricks to take care of your favorite objects.

1.Labels

Labels and tags are fundamental elements of a vintage or antique piece and often help us to reconstruct the origin of the object, enriching its value. But it can happen, for example with a piece of furniture purchased at an auction, to find annoying labels applied recently perhaps to price an object or to number it. Before removing them, we suggest you carefully evaluate if they really contain irrelevant information, and then eventually remove them using the right technique. To avoid leaving a sticky halo that will attract dirt and dust, dampen the affected area with alcohol, vodka, CRC or vinegar, the latter being most suitable for more delicate surfaces. Leave for a few minutes and then remove with a soft cloth dampened with the same substance.

2. Stains

It can happens that somw tea drop on your favorite armchair, or it may happen that the vintage sofa of our dreams has a small stain on the fabric. In these cases do not disparate, there are a couple of solutions that in most cases will solve every problem: in a container create a mixture with a cup of hot water, a quarter cup of white vinegar, and a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid, treat with this solution the stained part of the fabric by applying a dab with a sponge or a soft bristle brush. Then remove the solution with a damp towel. Almost all fabrics respond very well to treatment, but in the case of silk, velvet or other delicate weaves we recommend steam cleaning which will be less aggressive and just as effective.

3. Rust

Metal, one of the structures chosen by many designers between the '30s and '70s is often the main element of our favorite chairs and lamps; it guarantees their durability, but it can also give us some problems especially when it remains exposed to dust and moisture for too long. Even in this case, simple homemade solutions can be an easy remedy. Try rubbing a chrome surface that has rusted with half a lemon and if that is not enough add a handful of coarse salt to a little lemon juice. An alternative, this time for oxidized steel, is the application of a paste formed by a little water and baking soda, this mix will have the same beneficial effect that can be obtained with the starch of half a raw potato or a glass of apple cider vinegar. 

4. Wood

When we talk about wood everything seems very delicate and fragile. But there are not so many rules to know, and the most important one to keep in mind is that fibers must be treated as living elements. Wood needs to move as the humidity level of the environment in which it is located changes: it expands when it is filled with water and dries out when the air is too dry. That's why a coat of clear varnish is always good nourishment and protection. For gouges and shortcomings, you can risk some restoration with shellac, but first, we recommend consulting with a good restorer who, with a little luck, will also be a good teacher. 

5. Electrical systems

Speaking of vintage items remember that they often increase in value when they are complete with all their original parts. That said, it is possible to bring elements of the past into our present without depriving them of their function. A lamp with a broken button panel can be rehabilitated while respecting its original nature by choosing a high-quality replacement piece that perhaps reflects the original materials and colors. In the same way, a modern light bulb (preferably with a warm flame) can give a pendant light the desired effect.

6. Restorations

In general, we always recommend that you rely on experienced restorers who know their job and use reliable suppliers. Just like a patient of a certain age, an antique piece of furniture or a historical design piece also requires a "doctor" with great passion and experience. At intOndo we have a network of selected professionals who can help you restore the splendor of your favorite objects. 


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