Tips & Techniques to Look After Your Antiques!

The Second Installment of Helpful Hints from Yours Truly.

The sun is peeping out now and again, and between showers we are having a good old Scottish summer here in Edinburgh! On that note, we actually want to share some helpful information on sunlight and the environmental conditions in your home when it comes to caring for your antiques.

Now, you might remember our last ‘Tips & Techniques’ post, but if you happened to miss it click here to view. To recap, we came across an old manual of ours full of information on how to look after your antique furniture. We are keen to share more from this fantastic resource, so without further ado here the next section:

Environmental Conditions – Light, Central Heating and Humidity

Sunlight and humidity as well as central heating, and to a lesser extent pollutants in the air, can affect organic materials like wood, fabric and leather. Therefore it pays to give a little thought to the environment in which furniture is kept and to examine it from time to time to check for damage.

We should not keepfine furniturein strong sunlight which will fade its colour and totally dry it out (even fully seasoned wood normally contains a small amount of moisture) causing warping. Roller sun blinds can cut out harmful sun rays without darkening a room. Alternatively, curtains can be drawn during the day on sunlit rooms when not in use.

Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can damagefurniture, especially inlaid or veneered pieces. Central heating, especially above 20 degrees Centigrade dries the air and so the room moisture needs replacing. Humidifiers can be readily obtained, ranging from simple devices that clip on radiators to sophisticated electric models. Indoor plants and even placing a bowl of water near the furniture can be of help.

On the other hand, very damp rooms can also cause problems which can be avoided by using a dehumidifier. The ideal humidity level is around 50 to 55 per cent and this can be checked with humidity indicator cards, strips or a garden hygrometer. The room temperature should be kept as constant as possible, with central heating left on low at night. Rooms should be kept well aired. If, in spite of these precautions, furniture starts to warp or split, do catch the problem earlyand contact a professional restorer immediately to restore the furniture.

If you are looking for some new pieces to care for have a good browse through the categories on our site. Should anything catch your eye please get in touch, we will be delighted to assist.

Kind Regards,
The Georgian Antiques Team