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Wood furniture restoration: how to care for antique wood furniture

This clean, paint and care guide will get you stunning results on your next furniture restoration.


Wood furniture restoration: how to care for antique wood furniture

Antique wooden furniture is stunning – the character, quality of workmanship, and unique features in each piece. That makes it oh-so-satisfying when you can take a prized but tired piece and restore wood furniture back to its best. Follow our guide to antique furniture restoration and you’ll love the end product.

Take time with cleaning and preparation before you paint your beautiful antique furniture. Restoration always looks best when you do. Use a powerful surface cleaner like Handy Andy to remove any dirt or stains from your wood furniture!

How to clean wood furniture

When it comes to cleaning antique wood furniture, gently-gently is the way to go. After all, the last thing you want to do is damage any original features when restoring old furniture. Follow this guide to get the job done:

  1. Dust using a super soft cloth and/or the brush setting on your vacuum cleaner.

  2. Using a soft cloth or sponge, you can start to gently rub away any grime. It’s best not to use any chemical cleaners, as these could well damage the wood, and don’t use too much water as this could leave marks.

  3. If using water hasn’t worked completely, you can try a mix of equal parts of vinegar and olive oil to shift stubborn stains – always test any solution, whether natural or commercial, on a small area first to see how the wood reacts.

  4. Use a toothbrush to get into hard-to-clean places.

  5. Once you’re happy with the finish, and if you’re not painting, you can apply a light polish.

How to paint wood furniture

Repainting old furniture well needs a thorough plan. Here it is:

  1. Prep the surface – clean, fill any chips or holes with wood filler, and then sand.

  2. Apply at least two coats of primer – let the primer dry and then sand each time.

  3. Roll on the paint – use a mini roller to get full coverage, work fairly quickly and then use a quality brush to sweep over in long strokes. Let it dry, lightly sand and apply further coats until you’re happy. If you’re wondering what type of paint to use on wood furniture, gloss and satin are great options. Just make sure you use an appropriate primer.

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How to care for antique wood furniture

Once you’ve seen the results of your wood furniture restoration job you’re going to want to make sure you look after it properly. As with cleaning, the key is to be gentle. Here’s your plan:

  • Dust when you need to with a soft cloth.

  • Keep it dry – wash with water and detergent only when absolutely necessary.

  • Keep away from excessive heat, as this can cause warping.

  • Try to keep out of direct sunlight, as this can fade the wood.

  • Polish once a year with a light wax.

Once you’ve got a plan, restoring and taking care of antique furniture is good fun. Follow our guide to restoring old furniture and it’s a fairly simple task too. Turning old furniture from tired to fabulous is a labour of love, so take your time, enjoy the process, and look forward to loving the finished look. 

  • Be gentle when cleaning old furniture.

  • Take your time with cleaning and preparation.

  • Sand and prime the surface before repainting old furniture with gloss or satin paint.

  • Look after your furniture with on-going care.

Originally published