7 simple tricks to give new life to your furniture

October 9, 2015

Don't buy new furniture to replace old, worn out furniture. Try these simple tips and give that antique chair new life in your home:

7 simple tricks to give new life to your furniture

Revive wicker

Wicker furniture can be a challenge to clean, but that's no reason to pay a professional. Stephen Berne, a Vancouver-based antique chair restorer who is especially knowledgeable about chair caning, Danish cord and wicker repair, offers these insider tips.

  • Use a vacuum with a brush attachment to lift dust, dirt and lint from within the woven reeds.
  • Wipe wicker with a clean cloth moistened with paint thinner (first try a little thinner on an inconspicuous spot to make sure it does not harm the finish). For stubborn stains, lightly rub with a green pot scrubber moistened with paint thinner.
  • To boost sheen on wicker, apply furniture wax with a clean cloth.

Tighten sagging seats

First, make sure the chair is made of some natural material, such as rattan or bark (and not paper rush).

  • If so, turn the chair upside down and wet the bottom for a minute or two by wiping it with a clean sponge dipped in warm water.
  • Once the bottom is soaked (the top should remain dry), then right the chair. When the woven seat dries, it will be tighter.

Repair frayed woven seats

If you have a chair with a woven paper rush seat (wicker made of twisted paper), you probably already know that the paper has a tendency to tear in front, where legs constantly rub it.

  • Here's a quick cosmetic fix:  squeeze a bit of white craft glue underneath the torn strands, and tape it with masking tape to hold it in place. When the glue is dry, remove the masking tape and no one will ever know the strands are broken.

Mask furniture scratches

You can hide scratches using one of several inexpensive methods.

  • Drop by the hardware store and pick up a putty pencil or scratch polish. Make sure it matches the colour of your wood finish.
  • Apply as directed — and presto! — the scratch disappears.

Follow the antique golden rule.

Do as little as possible to change the original construction and finish of antiques. By stripping a finish and putting on a new finish, you drastically reduce the value of antique furniture. You don't need fancy chemicals to clean and protect wooden chests, desks, tables and chairs, even if they are your prized possessions. In fact, those products can do more harm than good. Use this simple regimen of preventive care and cleaning for your wood furniture:

  • Protect the wood from moisture. Use coasters, wipe up spills and avoid cleaning with water.
  • Dust regularly with a soft, dry white cloth.
  • Wax once a year with a furniture wax, such as Johnson paste wax — but only if the wood's finish is intact. The paste wax, which protects the finish without penetrating the wood, keeps dust from binding with the surface, the same way car wax makes water bead.

Steam out dents

Dents on wooden surfaces can often be fixed by swelling the compressed wood fibres back to their normal size using moisture and heat.

  • Prick the varnish finish of the dented area several times with a fine pin so that moisture can penetrate into the wood. Cover the dent with a pad of wet cloth, put a metal bottle cap on top of the pad to spread the heat, and apply a clothing iron on a high setting for a few minutes. Be careful not to scorch the finish. When the wood dries, fill the pinholes with a thin coat of varnish.

Some antique furniture is priceless -- definitely something you want in your home. Don't get rid of furniture simply for its cosmetic blemishes; use these tips to give furniture new life. It's much less expensive than replacing it!

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu