Guide to furniture repair and restoration

Page 1: Furniture restoration and repair
Page 2: Furniture Costs
Page 3: What will it cost?

Hannah Shanks - Editor

Antique furniture can not only add great character and originality to your home; it can also be a great investment. If you have, or are considering buying, antique furniture but believe that your chosen pieces might benefit from some TLC, you might find the skills of a professional furniture restorer invaluable.

A skilled professional can often work wonders with ripped or faded fabrics, with damaged surfaces on wooden furniture or with seemingly entrenched stains and marks. Furniture restorers and repairers need not focus entirely on antiques. Most furniture repair companies also deal frequently with damaged modern furniture. However, it is worth considering the value of your furniture before taking it to a professional restorer. The services of a professional will not necessarily break the bank - prices vary widely and depend on the extent of the damage and the amount of time and effort that will be required to repair it but if it is likely to cost you more to repair an item than to replace it, you might want to think twice.

If you don't know very much about antiques it might also be worth checking, if doubt exists, that your piece is worth what you believe it to be before you enlist professional help. It is a sad fact that many people find out too late that they have been ripped off, and that a piece they believed to have significant value is in reality almost worthless. Restorers are frequently approached to restore worthless items by people who have been misled. The best way to avoid finding yourself in this predicament is to seek the advice of a professional whom you trust before parting with your cash.

For items which have significant material or sentimental value, it is usually worth investing in the services of a professional. Bear in mind that professionals can often make even items in poor condition functional again.

What is the difference between restoration and conservation?

Furniture restoration focuses upon fixing existing problems. This might constitute something as minor as repairing a small scratch to a wooden surface, or as major as entirely re-building the structure of a piece of furniture. Restorers routinely complete work such as: the removal of scratches or ink and liquid stains from wooden surfaces; the repair of heat damage or restoration of faded surfaces damaged by long-term exposure to direct sunlight; and structural damage to chairs, cabinets or other pieces of furniture. If serious damage is inflicted upon a valuable antique, it is likely to depreciate its value. However, professional restorers can minimise this devaluation and can often make a piece functional again, even if it appears at first sight to be unsalvageable.

Conservation work, in contrast, is usually aimed at preventing the decline of valuable antiques before any damage occurs. This type of work is usually reserved for pieces of furniture which are intended to be displayed, rather than used and is routine work in museums and stately homes. In short, if you would prefer to sit in your chair and fill your cabinets, you will probably be more concerned with professional restoration services than with conservation services.

 
 


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