Many people develop their particular interior design tastes early on in life. It may be influenced by the home they were brought up in, or they may have seen similar designs that had a profound influence on them. The details and beauty in antique furniture is what inspires many interior decorating dreams. For many people, this will remain a dream as the price of antiques can be very high, and out of the reach of many people. Although this does not have to be the case. Many beautiful pieces of antique furniture can be acquired cheaply if you are prepared to do a bit of elbow work to restore it to its beautiful original state. This may be simply filling holes and applying a fresh coat of paint, or it could be taking a piece of furniture and transforming it to for a completely different purpose. homify has taken a look at furniture restoration and found the best tips for restoring your timber furniture.
When taking the first steps to acquire furniture to restore, consider where you will be doing this work. Restoring a piece of furniture can sometimes require space. If you plan to sand down the surface of a piece, or apply a coat of paint, you will require a big space such as a living room with doors that can be opened. If you plan to repair the furniture, or convert a piece of furniture for another purpose, you may also require additional tools. Before you begin make a list of what tools you require, then ensure that you have them handy before you start restoring. A basement is also a perfect choice for undertaking this work as it will have the space and the tools required for this purpose.
It is now time for the most enjoyable part; choosing the furniture. Good quality, sturdy furniture can be found in many second hand furniture shops. Be sure to keep an open mind when shopping as these bargains are often found at the back of the shop, hidden under ugly layers of paint, wallpaper or laminate. Consider not only what the piece can look like when transformed, but how it can be used for other purposes besides its original purpose. An old timber desk may be great for a table, but can also be transformed into a bathroom basin by adding a porcelain bowl to the top. When you have chosen your piece be sure to subject it to a thorough quality check in order to identify whether the piece is worth restoring. If you will be replacing more than half of the parts, it may not be worth restoring. This piece was created by Florisa.
Now that you have found a place to work, and a piece of furniture to work on, its now time to start the restoration process. It is important when restoring timber furniture that certain things are completed in the correct order. Start this process by cleaning the piece; thoroughly clean the piece using a cloth with soap and water, ensure you get into all the hidden crevices and cracks. After cleaning its time to remove the paint or varnish. This can be done by applying a chemical paint stripper, once painted on, use a spatula to scrape off the paint or varnish. Repeat this process until all paint or varnish has been removed. It is often at this stage that evidence of woodworm can be seen; very small holes in the surface of the timber. To eradicate the infestation simply apply an anti-woodworm product to the affected areas with a brush and wrap with plastic. This should be repeated every 48 hours over the next four days to completely eradicate the infestation.
At this point you should have the raw bones of the piece you wish to restore. It may look a little worse for wear, but rest assured, it will look much better very soon. The next step is to make repairs to the furniture; the bumps and cracks can now be fixed. For major bumps it is simply a matter of regaining its original shape. Place a wet cloth that has been placed in hot water or milk onto the affected area. Leave it on the area for a few hours. After this time the timber will regain its original shape. Cracks in timber will take a bit more work. Fill the crack with natural wax then rub down the surface until smooth. Repeat this process until the crack disappears completely. This piece was made by The Treasure Trove Shabby Chic.
By now you are over the half way mark in your furniture restoration journey. It is now time to apply a finish to the timber. There are many things that can be done to the finish of a piece. In the past painting was a popular choice, although these day many people are preferring the natural colours and tones of wood. If you want to change the tone of the wood to a darker hue, now is time to add a tint. After cleaning off any dirt and dust, apply a tint with a soft brush. Keep applying coats until you get a shade that you like. If you want a smooth finish, consider applying varnish. These are available in a matt or satin finish. After applying, wait 24 hours before touching. For those wanting a more natural finish, simply polish. Add a polish, and rub into the surface of the wood for a stunning natural shine.
Restoring a classic piece of timber furniture is a very rewarding experience. You have seen it go from an abandoned and disused piece to a stunning and beautiful practical piece that has a whole new life. The important thing now is to look after it to ensure that it has many more years of faithful service. When it comes to maintaining restored furniture, it is a matter of consistency; ensure that it remains clean and polished in order to protect it from the elements. Keep it in a position away from any extreme changes in weather conditions. This means away from any direct sunlight. This may affect its colour and damage the wood structure. Finally, ensure that it is polished regularly to ensure the wood does not dry and crack.
You have now finished your first timber furniture restoration project. If you have followed the tips that we have outlined here, you should have a beautiful and original timber piece. You will have searched and found a practical, sturdy piece for restoration, cleaned it, prepared the surface, repaired the structure and surfaces, and finished presentation of the piece. It is now all ready to place in a prominent position in your house. You can now sit back and enjoy it. If this has sparked your interest in antiques see 6 Ideas to Integrate Heirlooms in Contemporary Furniture.