How to Care for Antique Furniture Before and After Restoration

Detailed seattle table refinishing job

Owning a piece of antique furniture comes with a fair share of both responsibilities and rewards. Including a piece of antique furniture in your home or commercial space also means you’ll need to educate yourself about proper care methods to keep your investment in good shape.

Antique furniture care is not a matter of simply choosing a basic furniture cleaner from the local supermarket. Your piece will likely require specialized attention that is a bit more nuanced than modern day furniture upkeep. For example, if you do not use the appropriate polish, adhesive, or finish when you are maintaining antique furniture, you risk compromising its value.

Not only are the kinds of products you use to maintain antique furniture important — the way you use them is also key. Start with these basic tips and techniques to ensure you properly care for your newly refinished or restored antique furnishings.

Avoid Spray Products

When it comes to cleaning your antique furniture, the number one rule is to avoid spray cleaners at all costs. The goal in cleaning an antique is to preserve the patina, not the shine. Most spray products will only leave behind an oily residue that can do more harm than good.

No Rough Textures

Never use a cleaning tool that has a rough texture. Antique furniture can be delicate and scratch very easily. This means you should stay away from anything that might cause damage to the surface of the furniture, including feather dusters. While a feather duster may seem safe, it is important to remember that the feathers can break and scratch the surface of the piece you are cleaning.

Dusting Is Important

Before you apply a cleaning product to antique furniture, be sure the piece is dust-free. Take the time to make sure the dust is completely gone and you did not merely move it around the surface. This typically happens if you use a spray cleaner. Of course, avoid that feather duster if possible, and perhaps try a soft, clean, and dry microfiber cloth instead.

Choose the Right Wax

A high-quality paste wax or English beeswax are the best options for maintaining antique furniture. The wax will help to preserve and nurture the patina of the piece. Apply only a little at a time and rub it in softly along the grain of the wood. In order to properly care for antique furniture, you should do this at least once per year.

Use a Soft Cloth

When you are waxing a piece, you should do so with a soft cloth. Use the wax sparingly and only spread it in a thin and even layer. Gently buff with the soft cloth until you achieve a high polish. Be sure to build up a solid wax finish so that the wood surface is protected.

Gentleness Is Key

When you are working with antique furniture, always remember to use a gentle hand. If an inlay or piece of veneer comes off while you are moving or cleaning your furniture, keep in mind that the piece is irreplaceable. This means that you should not attempt to make the repair yourself. Instead, take the piece to a local furniture restoration expert who specializes in antique pieces.

Monitor the Environment

When arranging your furniture, try to keep antique pieces away from heating or cooling vents, radiators, fireplaces, and stoves. Consistent direct sunlight also causes severe damage to antique furniture. You will want to arrange your antique furniture in a location where you can control the humidity, temperature, and light exposure. You don’t want so little moisture in the air that the furniture dries out or cracks, but you also don’t want so much that mold begins to grow or the wood warps.

Taking care of your antique furniture the right way can make all the difference in its longevity, value, appearance, and functionality. If you own a cherished piece of antique furniture that is ready for restoration or in need of repair, contact us to handle your heirlooms and other special possessions with the TLC they demand.

When to Reupholster vs. When to Buy New

If you’re ready to makeover a room in your home, you may be considering a furniture shopping spree. In many cases, however, that’s neither necessary nor the best option. Even if your furniture looks dated, worn, or just wrong for the room’s aesthetic, you may not need to replace it entirely. Reupholstering and refinishing furniture can give it new life and a modern look. Instead of stressing about finding a new couch to fit in a tricky space or to finding a way to dispose of the old furniture, you could simply turn your dated piece into something fresh, eye-catching, and ready to be enjoyed for years to come.

A reupholstery professional will first help you select your preferred materials, including fabric (based on color, texture, pattern, and more), cushion density and support, and many more custom features (for instance, a chair can be fitted to meet specific mobility needs). They will then begin the reupholstery and refinishing process, starting with fabric and stuffing removal. Old springs and other interior materials will be repaired or replaced, the new fabric will be seamlessly applied, and wood components such as arms and legs can be refinished (or repaired to correct any structural or stability issues).

When done properly by experienced professionals, reupholstery and refinishing can turn a treasured old furniture item into one that looks and feels like new.

Is reupholstery right for your piece?

Not all couches, chairs, or plush furniture pieces must be replaced once they show signs of wear and tear. Consider whether reupholstering the piece in question might the better option. Generally speaking, the older the furniture, the better it can withstand aging. Decades ago, solid wood frames and legs were standard. Modern pieces built within the last ten years are more likely to be made of lower quality materials. Even with reinforcement and new foam, springs, stuffing, and fabric, a structurally unsound or flimsy piece may simply be nearing its expiration date.

Other factors to consider include exposure to smoke, water damage, or mold, as well as the item’s sentimental value. The armchair in your living room may not be a top-of-the-line luxury item, but perhaps if it was a wedding gift from a beloved family member, you may be attached to the memories it represents. Even mass-produced modern furniture pieces may benefit from the TLC that comes with professional reupholstering.

If an item’s fabric or interior stuffing were exposed to mold or water damage, or if there is a lingering odor due to smoke, reupholstering and refinishing can also solve those problems. Metal and wood components and legs can be treated and sealed against mold, if necessary. All potentially contaminated materials can be disposed of properly. The resulting piece of reupholstered furniture will be safer, cleaner, and more attractive than a piece that you steam-cleaned after smoke or water damage.

Buying new furniture isn’t always the best option

When years-old furniture shows its age, it’s natural to assume that buying new furniture is the only option. In reality, buying new furniture can sometimes make a room makeover more protracted and frustrating. If you aren’t buying custom pieces, your style and color options will be more limited. You may have to compromise on a piece you don’t really love. Then, you’ll still need to get rid of the old furniture — which often means hauling it to the dump or attempting to sell it.

By comparison, reupholstering is often simpler. A professional will carefully tend to your furniture, plus you’ll get to select the perfect fabric and other important details. The end product will look and feel the way you dictate. Reupholstering and refinishing furniture can give you beautiful (and more hassle-free) results.

A Guide to Your Summer Upholstery Needs

Warm summer days are a welcome refuge from cold winters and spring showers, and now that the seasons have changed, many of us are dreaming up ways to enjoy ourselves outdoors — and to stay cool inside our homes. Thankfully, select upholstery services can offer several practical and unique solutions to ensure your summer is comfortable and stylish.

With so many options available, your dream fabric awaits to add the perfect pattern, color scheme, or texture to your space. No matter your style preferences, the right upholstery can turn any indoor or outdoor area into a luxurious summertime escape. Here’s where to start to create your own.

Add (or replace) curtains or drapes

Investing in heavy, thick, or dark-toned drapery can help keep the glaring sun out of your home. The right drapes can inject a sense of drama or romance in a room while also helping to reduce your cooling costs. Old slat blinds can only do so much to shade your home from solar heat. They can also project bothersome glare lines onto walls and media screens, especially in direct sunlight.

On the other hand, drapes can easily be shut during times with direct sun exposure and opened when the light is soft. Replacing dated window treatments with drapes will make your space feel fresh, inviting and cool (in both senses of the word).

Invest in patio furniture upholstery for chic outdoor comfort

While sleek wood furniture may offer a clean and modern appeal, sitting or reclining on unpadded furniture is far less appealing. Outdoor furniture is typically constructed from treated wood, plastic, or PVC-based materials that are meant to withstand environmental conditions, and as such, your patio chairs, chaises, or loveseats may need some comfortable weatherproof cushioning.

Especially on clear summer days, you want to be able to sit back in that patio armchair with a good book. When entertaining guests at a backyard barbecue, you also want to ensure your furniture is inviting and comfortable for friends, family, and neighbors. Upholstered cushions are the finishing touch on any outdoor lounge area, as they offer a comfortable place to relax and a stylish addition to your patio furniture set.

Whether your patio furniture is fitted with old upholstery or no upholstery, upgrading with fresh upholstered features for this summer’s outdoor entertaining season will make your yard the envy of the neighborhood.

Enter boating season in style

If you own a boat or yacht, don’t forget to update the upholstered touches on your home away from home. Going out for a day or weekend on the waves or lake is a great way to relax during the summer heat. Outdated or damaged seats and other furniture can be an eyesore at best or, at worst, can make your boat ride uncomfortable.

Outdoor and water-resistant upholstery fabric can refresh your yacht’s appearance. Yacht cushions, vinyl boat cushions, window treatments, and leather seats can elevate your style and comfort, while a custom Flexima mattress makes the perfect luxury upgrade for your sleeping quarters. 

With the right upholstery, you can turn your yacht into a summer escape that you and your guests never want to leave. Water and sun-resistant fabrics can be used to customize cushions, seats, mattresses, and other features that will last for many seasons while making you feel more at home.

Preserving the Character of a Chair

A customer came to Queen Anne Upholstery and Refinishing hoping to preserve their chair as much as possible. The customer came to our furniture repair shop and explained that the chair had been in her family for several decades and it was left to her when her mother passed away. We let the customer know that we would preserve the chair and bring it back to originality as much as we could. The customer reluctantly left the chair and we reassured her that the chair would be safe in our care.

Chair Refinishing Project Begins

This Bellevue chair refinishing piece made the customer really happy - Queen AnneWe removed the fabric and the seating cushions from the chair, then we started repairing the springs in the seating area, then we added new foam to the seating area so sitting in it would be comfortable. The next step was gently hand sanding the legs and wood on the chair. This sanding is all done by hand. Then we applied the stain that would match the original color. We let the chair sit overnight, so it would be completely dry before we applied the finish to the chair. The following morning we added the finish to the chair. The wood finish was restored to its original state.

The seat was updated to a distressed leather with button tufting details. The back seat of the chair kept the same fabric as before, and the leather and original fabric came together and looked wonderful together. We were able to have the chair refinishing and furniture repairs done a day before we told the customer that the chair would be finished. We called her to let her know she could pick up her chair and she said she would come over immediately to look it over.

The customer arrived and was thrilled with the way her chair looked. She couldn’t get over how beautiful it looked and the original fabric that was left on the back of the seat really pleased her. This fabric reminded her of the long life of the chair and all the memories in her family that it held. The customer said the chair looked even better than she could have imagined. She thanked us for doing an amazing job.

Queen Anne Upholstery and Refinishing restores and preserves your treasured pieces. Call or email us for a quote regarding your next antique furniture restoration. We can bring life back to your prized antiques and heirloom furniture pieces.

Looking for Ballard Refinishers?

If you are searching for Ballard Refinishers or Furniture Spa of Seattle, look no further! Queen Anne Upholstery merged with both of these companies and is able to provide all of their services and more.

Pet-Friendly Fabrics for Reupholstery

One of the most asked question at our showroom is how to choose a fabric that is kid and/or pet friendly. At Queen Anne Upholstery & Refinishing, we provide our customers with different options that are available for different fabric lines. We have a great selection of fabrics available for reupholstery in Bellevue and Seattle. The top three main options that are kid and/or pet friendly which include Crypton, Nanotex, and Fabric Guard.

Fabric Options for Chair and Sofa Repair, or Reupholstery:

  • Crypton Home Fabrics are resistant to stains and odors, but is a soft and durable fabric. Customers can choose from an array of textures and colors with Crypton Home Fabric’s. The fabric is stain and spill resistant, and is easy to clean. The fabrics stay fresh due to the built in odor resistance. The fabric is processed in the United States and is a pet and kid friendly fabric.
  • Nanotex is a stain and spill resistant. The Nanotex Fabric is Eco-friendly and comes with an odor neutralizer. The fabric provides the cool comfort, as it balances body temperatures by wicking away at any moisture. To have the Nanotex finish applied will require an additional 3-4 weeks lead time.
  • Fabric Guardis a finish that our production facility would apply for an additional fee. Fabric Guard is a stain protector coating that replaced Scotchgard (an old solution), which was banned by the EPA in 2002. This finish is applied once your project is complete, so it can be applied on areas that wear easily such as the seating area and the arm area.

This fabric is great for any seattle reupholstery projectIf you would like the Nanotex or Fabric Guard process added to your project, you don’t have to worry about these processes changing the look, feel, or texture of your fabric. These applications will protect the fabric while adding life and keeping your fabrics safe and attractive for many, many years.

Queen Anne Upholstery & Refinishing provides professional upholstery, reupholstery, and chair refinishing in Bellevue and Seattle. In addition to upholstery, we can perform furniture repair or refinishing for any pieces before they are reupholstered. Our customers can select any of these fabrics that are kid and pet friendly, and when your upholstery project is completed you will have beautiful furniture without having to worry about stains from rough play or naughty pets. Call today to discuss these options in further detail, we’d be happy to answer all your questions.

New Pillows Make for Excellent Upholstery Project

A woman in Seattle wanted to revitalize her breakfast area by having some custom throw pillows made. One of her friends told her about the custom pillows that Queen Anne Upholstery & Refinishing created for her, so the woman contacted us, then came in to talk with us. The woman took some pictures of her breakfast area, so we could get an idea on what she was wanting done, and it didn’t take long for us to impress her. She went ahead with the Seattle upholstery project.

Seattle Upholstered Pillows by queen anne

Another shot of our awesome Seattle upholstery workThe Queen Anne Upholstery & Refinishing team showed the woman some of the work that we have done for our previous customers, which impressed the lady very much. Our knowledgeable staff showed her different custom fabrics and the lady fell in love with one. We measured the size of pillows that she wanted and when we had the pillows done for her we gave her a call and she immediately came to see the final product. The custom fabrics on the pillows are a top-notch material and the overall fi
nished pillows really added to the décor. The customer couldn’t be happier with her custom throw pillows that we created for her. The customer said that Queen Anne Upholstery & Refinishing in Seattle were the upholstery experts, because we exceeded her expectations and the custom throw pillows was exactly what she was wanting to revitalize her breakfast area. Queen Anne Upholstery & Refinishing provides quality upholstery Seattle homeowners would be proud to have in their homes.

Queen Anne made this Seattle Upholstery customer happy
Another Successful Queen Anne Seattle Upholstery project

Some of Our Favorite Fabrics for Furniture Repair Projects

We have some beautiful unbooked samples from Pindler here at our Bellevue Furniture Reupholstery Showroom.  Whether you are looking for some fresh spring stripes, glammy animal prints, textured velvets, up and coming colorways, or just need inspiration—we have the fabrics at your finger tips!These would be perfect for antique furniture restoration in bellevue You can Use These for your next Bellevue Sofa Repair These leg styles are great for Bellevue Table Refinishing More Otions from a great Bellevue Furniture Repair Shop Chair Refinishing Options in Bellevue

Inspiring Colors for Queen Anne Upholstery!

Chair reupholstery in Bellevue has these fabrics available

Here are some of our favorite wools from Pollack and Maharam fabric companies!  Do you have a midcentury modern piece that has unique curves?  These are perfect for your next Bellevue chair refinishing project. We love using these fabrics on pieces where there is a unique form required to reupholster.  These colors will provide the pop of color and attention your special piece deserves in a room.  From egg chairs to womb chairs to Eames chairs—we have you covered.

Bellevue – Furniture Refinishing Expertise

Furniture Repair in Bellevue

Our company has been around since the 1930’s, passed down generation to generation. The amount of experience and knowledge gained through the years and passed down to the next family member about the craftsmanship of upholstery and refinishing is immense. We like to compare it to inheriting that box full of hand written recipe cards from a great grandmother, full of the secret ingredients that set it apart from the rest. We have inherited those secret ingredients in the art of upholstery and furniture refinishing in Bellevue. Our eyes have seen the most incredible pieces of furniture carried through our doors, ranging from uncovering intricately carved wood chair frames that have been hidden under upholstery since the early 1900s, to refurbishing an old trunk that once carried one’s entire possessions from Finland after World War II.Antique Furniture Restoration in Bellevue - CradleWe are excellent wood, table and Bellevue Chair refinsihers

Having said all of this, we were lucky enough to have aQueen anne Upholstery is an expert Furniture Repair Shop most cherished piece come into our hands recently, one in which we had not seen before. A customer called in to tell us he had an heirloom that was sitting in his family’s garage in Midwest; a rocking baby cradle with an intricate crank mechanism that was in utter disrepair and a missing handle. He was hoping to return it to its original functioning state so he sought out the experts at Queen Anne Upholstery and Refinishing to complete this dream of restoring it. We had it shipped from the Midwest, all the way to Seattle to be assessed by our experts.

This is not something we could order offline or walk into the local hardware store to find the missing part. We received the precious piece to our production shop and took some time studying the original vintage mechanism. The cradle rocking system had a spring mechanism that went from one end of the cradle to the other, and was not functional. We ended up restoring the old spring and reengineering the system. We re-tightened the whole mechanism, and used a weight in the cradle to simulate the weight of a baby. We made adjustments and technical refinements to follow and were able to return the cradle and crank to its original functioning state. We also re-created the missing handle that replicated what would have been used originally, stained to blend with the existing finish patina.

The frame and spindles were also loose and wobbly, in need of re-gluing and strengthening– another area of work we take pride in. All joints were re-glued and the entire stain finish was touched up to its former glory.

Queen Anne Upholstery and Refinishing has a knack and a passion for working on items such as this one, where we need to step back a few generations into the shoes of the former craftsmen who created the furniture we are privileged to work on, to recreate and restore the beauty and quality of antique, vintage, or specialty one of a kind items.

antique furniture restoration for this cradle in Bellevue