Three Characteristics You Should Look for When Shopping for Antique Furniture

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As any interior home designer can tell you, one of the biggest trends in modern interior design is the return to bygone eras. From Antebellum America to New York in the Roaring Twenties, more and more homeowners want modern interior designers who can give them a look that is both modern and reverent of their favorite periods in history.

As you might know, one of the most difficult parts of perfectly capturing a historical aesthetic is the furniture. The top interior designers rarely have trouble tracking down materials to emulate flooring, wallpaper wallcoverings, and the like, but most find that tracking down authentic furniture fitting the period is a little more difficult. If you and your interior home designer are struggling to find furniture that matches your design, whether you’re talking about a Reconstruction Era davenport or an Antebellum chaise lounge, here are some things you should keep in mind to help with your search.

How to Spot Antique Furniture for Your Throwback Interior Design

  • Wood is a Dead Giveaway
  • As HowStuffWorks details, if you want to spot antique furniture that fits your motif, you really should take a look at the wood used in the construction. Obviously, this immediately eliminates any metal furniture, as that’s a construction material that was only popularized for furniture following the Second World War.

    In particular, you’ll want to look for something that uses only true hardwoods — oak, walnut, maple, and the like. These woods were the materials of choice up until recent times, when particle board was popularized. In a nutshell, if it’s not real wood, it’s not truly an antique piece.

  • Antique Furniture Should Have Small Imperfections
  • Modern mass production techniques give people access to cheap furniture that looks good enough, but those same methods take a lot of the character out of furniture. As’s Home details, true antique pieces, like the custom designed furniture of today, have small imperfections all over. From a misplaced chisel strike on the surface of an armoire to coffee tables with mismatched drawer handles, imperfection is the mark of a handmade piece, which, in turn, is a mark of antique furniture. Avoid perfection to find something authentic.

  • Shop with a Reputable Dealer
  • If you’re really having a hard time finding something to fit your design, you should visit your local antique dealer. As the popular do-it-yourself website DIY Network points out, antique dealers will have had each piece in their store appraised. This means they’ll know the time period from which the piece originated, the material it’s made from, and an exhaustive list of other information. The only downside is that for the guarantee you’re buying an authentic piece, you’ll likely pay a higher price to account for appraising fees.

Are you an interior home designer with a lot of experience crafting antique-style spaces? How do you track down antique furniture? Share your tips with us in the comment section below. Find out more about this topic here.

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