Tips and Guides

3 Ways to Maintain Antique Furniture

Keep your heirloom furniture in good condition with these expert tips

Photography: Paolo Feliciano

When the 240sqm home owned by the Antonios underwent renovation, they chose to keep the original layout and salvaged most of the furniture. To be able to match the look of the space, the pieces were refurbished. If you also have antique furniture at home, you should make an effort to keep them in tiptop shape. Antique dealer Alan Tan shares these tips.

Click here to see more photos and view the complete home tour of the Antonios' house.

Refinish your pieces

Fixing, upgrading, or reworking the surface of a certain item can bring it as close as possible to its original state. Working on your old pieces may mean sanding the surface to bring out the original patina or grain of the wood, or covering up any damages or scratches it may have accumulated through time.

Consider deconstructing it

Unfortunately, there are instances when the antique is too damaged to be repurposed. Alan advises deconstructing it or taking it apart, though restoration is different. "When restoring, you have to be faithful to the original. In several instances, I have used materials or parts from different objects to be able to assemble a single item, say a cabinet," Alan shares.

RL Tip: Always consult with a professional before working on your antique piece. There are stores that offer restoration and you may also ask them for helpful tips.

Repurpose it

An old piece shouldn't be left in the storage room or garage. You can still breathe new life into old furniture by thinking of another purpose that it can serve. “This is especially challenging for old pieces that we do not use anymore in our daily lives. An example is an abacus. Hardly anyone uses one now, but it can be repurposed as a lamp or an accent piece,” shares Alan.

This snippet originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

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