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Advice and Thoughts on Antique Restoration

October 4, 2012

If you’re part of the growing number of consumers who would prefer to purchase a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture rather than from a standard-issue box store, you may have already been faced with the question: to refinish or not to refinish? As consignment stores boom, DIY trends grow, and Pinterest provides thousands of ideas for “reclaiming” your used items, it becomes more and more tempting and feasible to “stamp” your own style on your pieces.

If you find yourself asking this question, we have a few thoughts on the matter. While many antique road shows and dealers will appraise a piece of furniture based on finish, there is more than one way we suggest you look at “value”. There is always the option of refinishing, or even improving an antique. The re-sale value many not be as high, but you’ll have to consider the other benefits and the actual enjoyment you’ll derive from updating and using your antique.

We suggest that you ask yourself:

  • What is the function? Does it have a use?
  • Do you want to enjoy it or to admire it? Are you going to look at it or are you going to sit on it?
  • Do you want to add value? Is your plan to sell it down the road?

Considering each of these questions will give you your answer (and maybe even assuage any guilt you may have in refinishing a piece). Truth be told, there are reasons why you should improve an antique beyond monetary value. In our experience at DCT Leathers, the pride you take in using the item and the enjoyment you have can outweigh the sheer dollars and cents.  (Here’s a photo of an antique wagon that has given us immeasurable pleasure in using over the years)

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