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Beginner’s Guide to Decorating with Antiques

Tuesday, 23rd September 2014 No Comments »

Incorporating older pieces of furniture to interiors has become a rising trend in the recent years. (See this infographic for interior design trends in 2014). Having a few vintage or antique pieces can infuse any room with class and elegance. In addition, these furniture pieces are often durable, functional, eco-friendly, and increase in value over time.

Photo from Coco + Kelly

While it does take a trained eye to spot a valuable piece, decorating with antiques doesn’t have to be difficult.

Here’s a simple guide to follow when welcoming antiques into your home.

1. Add antiques to modern-styled rooms.

Photo from Interior Design Files

The first thing to learn when working with antiques is that such pieces can be incorporated into modern-style rooms. In fact, antique furniture pieces are most often used as the focal point in room decorating.

When placed strategically, antique furniture can work very well with most modern pieces. The important thing is to have a recurring theme throughout the spread of old and new. This can be achieved through the use of color combinations or textures.

2. Don’t limit your options to one style.

A common pitfall beginners make when decorating is limiting themselves to one style. Try exploring other styles of furniture to make the space look less of a showroom in a department store. (Find out other common mistakes beginners make.)

Adding in a few key antique furniture pieces is a great way to enhance the overall look of your room. Not only can it bring out a whole different level of elegance, it can also provide good value for your money.

3. When antiquing online, do your homework beforehand.

Buying antique furniture can conveniently be done online from the comfort of your own home. While it can be very rewarding, it can also be frustrating without proper research and preparation.

Before bidding or placing an order, know exactly what you are buying. Know the real condition of the item; don’t be afraid to ask for photos or exact measurements.

Here at Antiques on Old Plank Road, we provide our customers with photos of the item from different angles and with closer views to ensure its quality.

4. Mix and match.

There’s really no right or wrong way to decorate a home, as decorating involves personal preferences. Rather than restricting yourself to following guides on how to achieve a certain look, follow your own style.

Mix and match pieces of antique furniture with modern ones and play with colors until the outcome ultimately screams your personality and taste. Essentially, your home is your own living space.

Photo from House Beautiful

Decorating your home solely with antiques or incorporating a few key pieces such as antique dressers relies on what type of look you’re aiming for. With the right kind of antique piece, there’s really no limit to what you can do in terms of decorating.

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Decorating with Antique Rugs

Tuesday, 9th September 2014 1 Comment

Photo from Apartment Therapy

Antique rugs, like antique furniture, have a style and elegance that’s all their own. They can enhance any kind of room just through strategic placement. While there are many people who think that older carpets only work well for traditional setting, such as those used in historical homes, antique rugs are remarkably versatile and can be incorporated into any kind of style.

 Vintage Persian Shiraz Rug

Almost always handcrafted, these rugs were weaved by master weavers over 80 years ago and have come to be prized by collectors throughout history. Indeed, their value not only comes from being aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but also from the quality that’s allowed them to last through the years.


Given their value and appeal, it is important to know how they can be showcased in the best possible way within the home.

1. Consider the age and quality.

Before deciding where to place the antique rug, thoroughly check on its quality and age.  A good quality rug could withstand the normal wear and tear brought about by daily use. However, avoid placing an antique rug with a bit of wear in busy areas of the house such as an entryway. Taking note of the rug’s condition rug can help in preserving it for years to come.

2. Note its design and size.

Vintage Turkish Kilim Geometric Patterned Rug

The design and size of your antique rug should also be taken into consideration when deciding its placement. A medallion carpet or rug shouldn’t be hidden beneath a huge dining table. Instead, consider placing it in an area where the central design can be thoroughly admired.

The size of your antique rug also dictates where it would best be placed. A too-small rug might be overlooked in a large room with a busy design, while a large rug may be overwhelming in a small room.

3. Don’t stop with floor decoration.

Photo from Houzz

Antique rugs are commonly used as floor pieces, but they certainly don’t have to be limited to the living room floor. Many antique rugs are the perfect size and design to be showcased as artwork on walls, or even over furniture. This way they can also add that final touch to elevate your room’s overall look to another level.

When deciding to utilize antique rugs for anything other than floor design, consider its material and quality.

4. Pay attention to the overall look.

Rather than worrying whether the colors of the rug would clash with the color theme of a room, consider the overall look.

Antique rugs are usually made of no less than ten different colors, which provide an interesting dynamic. With the right kind of placement, your high-quality antique rug can very well compliment the rest of the room, and up its visual appeal.

A rug can dramatically alter the overall effect of a room. Antique rugs shouldn’t be intimidating pieces to work with. They can be incorporated into both modern and traditional homes, and are great decorative pieces that can enrich any kind of style.

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What to Remember when Displaying Antique Books

Tuesday, 2nd September 2014 No Comments »

Books can often increase their value as they get older becoming prized possessions, especially in this day and age of electronic devices. But preserving old books can be difficult. The materials that make up books – paper, leather, cloth – normally wane as time goes by as a result of dust, water, heat, and others factors.

 Set of 28 Antique American Leather Bound Law Books

 For many, it is important to preserve and display their old books. Displaying your old books at home is a way of telling a story to your visitors; perhaps it shows that you value reading or that you enjoy the arts.

Caring for your old books is not as hard and expensive as most people think. Here are a few tips on how to properly display classic printed copies in a way that preserves them for a longer period of time.

1. Protect books from harmful elements.

Old books should be kept away from the following damaging sources:

  • light
  • moisture
  • fire
  • water

For example, visible light damages books by fading dyes. However, UV light is the most destructive form of light for books, damaging at the chemical level. It’s hard to see books in the dark, so alternative solutions include putting ultraviolet filters on your windows and using low level diffuse light for regulated amounts of time.

Certain levels of humidity can also have significant and permanent effects on books. Don’t store books in places that tend to be very hot or very cold, damp and moldy, such as basements or attics. Instead, your bookcases should be in cool and dry places, most likely between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Having suitable air flow also helps prevent mold from growing.

2. Don’t cram your books

When books are crammed together, not only is it harder to get books out, the book spines might break which can also damage book covers. Keep the books in an upright row by using bookends to allow air to flow in between books. However, books that are 18 inches or taller should be placed horizontally.

3. Keep books in glass shelves

Glass or baked enamel shelves are better than wood shelves. Wood tends to transfer harmful acids to books’ bindings and paper, especially if it hasn’t been sealed properly with epoxy.

4. Other tips

  • Keep the books free from dust.
  • Avoid eating or drinking while reading books.
  • Don’t fold page corners.
  • Don’t put newspaper clippings or photocopies inside books.
  • Don’t use adhesives or tapes to try to repair books.

There are many more tips on how to display old books, but perhaps the best tip is to consult an expert so he or she can address your personal concerns.

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How to Ceruse Oak

Tuesday, 26th August 2014 No Comments »

Ceruse, an old term for white lead, was used in cosmetics during the 1500s. Soon after furniture makers discovered that it could be used to keep insects away from oak beams.

The furniture makers also discovered that when ceruse was applied to bright orange oak, the grain lines turned white, revealing a beautiful contrast between the wood and its grain lines. The process didn’t change the color of the wood finish either.

 Furniture makers continue to ceruse oak, making the piece look more stylish.

 Vintage French Louis XV Cerused Oak Buffet

 So how can you ceruse oak wood? Getting a ceruse finish can be done by professionals or the home DIYer. If you’re the latter, here are some steps to follow:

Step 1

Make your oak surface clean with noticeable grain patterns. If you’re dealing with varnished wood, strip the varnish first with a paint remover. Once the varnish is removed, wash the wood with water and lightly scrub it using a brass brush, raising the grain.

Next, wait for your wood to dry and use sandpaper lightly to smooth over the top. Finally, use steel wool to remove the leftover dust.

Step 2

With your wood completely dry, apply aniline dye using a brush or a rag until you get a decent solid color. Don’t stain it, as stain will absorb into the softer part of the wood. Using aniline dye results in an oak which is non-glossy and porous.

Step 3

Smear one or two thinned coats of clear shellac to make the oak surface slicker. Shellac is perfect as it does not fill the grain. It also makes it easier to lightly wipe the cerusing material off the surface while leaving it in the grain. Give it an hour to dry.

Step 4

Use a soft cloth or wool to rub the cerusing material of your choice onto the grain. Be sure to remove any excess and let it dry thoroughly.

Step 5

Finally, seal the surface with a protective coating (varnish or sealer) using a clean cloth. Wait 15 minutes for it to dry then polish it with a clean cloth.

Cerusing allows you to stain the gloomy dark grains of oak white. You can use other colors as well, but keep in mind that the result is more appealing if there is more contrast.


 Photo: Van Gregory & Norton

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French and English Furniture: Similarities and Differences

Tuesday, 19th August 2014 No Comments »

France and England are two of the most influential countries when it comes to traditional European furniture. In fact, even after 200 years, their furniture styles are still in place.

Both pioneers may have similar furniture styles depending on the time period, but they also have distinct qualities that differentiate one from the other.

Here are the similarities and differences between two of the most favored furniture sources of past and present times.

French Antique Furniture

18th Century Antique French Oak Side Writing Table with Drawer

Amazing 8’4″ Antique French Oak Cabinet w/Original Wavy Glass

French furniture can be divided into several categories of styles in terms of periods and characteristics. One of the most popular ways to categorize them is the distinction between French provincial furniture; Parisian and French royal furniture.

Provincial or Parisian furniture is characterized by simple scalloped carving and wheat patterns that are reflective of the artisan’s surroundings. Parisian furniture displays its influences from other European styles including characteristics of pieces from Spain and Russia. Meanwhile, French Royal furniture is created by favored master craftsmen and is intricate and lavish. They often are incorporated by works of the era’s best silversmiths.

18th Century Antique French Walnut Louis XV Cupboard/Console with Original Marble Top

The 17th and 18th century French furniture is considered to be some of the best in the world. During these periods, high demand for craftsmanship was satisfied. This resulted in furniture that exhibits excess, femininity, and a delicate quality.

English antique furniture

English antique furniture are in line with the styles and designs of Northern European furniture. They also appear more refined than French furniture.

Antique English Chippendale Armchair

Antique English Pine Corner Cabinet

 The most identifiable period in English furniture is the Victorian period.  This period has been widespread because these pieces were made to answer the demands of its middle class audience. These antique pieces are accessible and therefore popular in most regions.

Pieces from both regions are highly sought after today. These pieces may have differences in origin and style but they are both highly regarded for their fine character and distinct elegance.

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