Antique Bedroom Furniture
Advice on quality and buying antique furniture
Antique bedroom furniture can lend your sleeping-space the atmosphere of a bygone age. Some people choose antique furniture purely as an investment, but most buyers use it to create a period feel in their homes.
The most sought-after and expensive antique bedroom furniture was made before the 19th century, and items made in the 17th and 18th centuries are especially valued. A piece by a famous 18th -century craftsman might fetch millions at auction. Furniture from this period can cost thousands of dollars even when there is no indication as to who made it.
Because of the cost and the rarity of earlier pieces, most of the antique bedroom furniture being bought today dates from between the late 1800s and the 1930s. Prices for this furniture usually run into hundreds of dollars, occasionally costing more than a thousand dollars. Prices depend on many factors: the age of the furniture, how well-preserved it is, the attractiveness of the original design and the skill with which it was originally made. If it was made by a well-known craftsman, this will make the price higher too.
Dressing tables have long been one of the most popular staples of antique bedroom furniture.
Keeping your make-up on a mahogany surface and styling your hair while reflected in three mirrors is guaranteed to make you feel like the heroine of a nineteenth-century novel. However, the larger models of three-mirror dressing-table can be too imposing for a small room. Vanity tables with small mirrors are a good alternative.
One of the most popular items of antique bedroom furniture at the moment is the buffet, or small sideboard. These used to be the preserve of dining rooms, but imaginative collectors have begun to bring them into the bedroom too. They're great for storing linen and towels, and you can display vintage ornaments on top of them. Carved patterns add to the style, but also bump up the price.
Of course, not all antique bedroom furniture was made in the Victorian era of the late 19th and early 20th century. Depression-era furniture is coming into its own at the moment, after a long period of being ignored by collectors and dealers alike. However, you can't guarantee that a Depression-era piece will be made of solid wood. Because of the shortage of materials, many craftsmen of the time used veneers, so the wood beneath the surface might not be of the same quality. That doesn't detract from the craftsmanship or the appeal of Depression-era furniture, but it's something you should find out before you buy.
When you're looking for antique bedroom furniture, there are a few questions to ask.
The first of these is to find out when the item was actually made. Just because it's advertised as "Federal", that doesn't mean it was made before 1820; it just means it's made in that style. You should also find out if it has any flaws or imperfections. Genuine antiques usually do; they're part of an item's individuality, and "repairing" an item can sometimes take hundreds of dollars off its value. If a flaw is going to bug you, it's usually a sign that you shouldn't buy the item.
You should also ask yourself if the piece of furniture is going to be a good fit for your space and lifestyle. That solid oak armoire makes you think of giant country houses with suits of amour in the paneled hall - but will it fit into your modern loft apartment, and will you even be able to get it up the stairs? That occasional table has beautiful carvings, but is your child going to push Play-Doh into the grooves? When you're spending a lot of money on antique furniture, it's easy to get carried away with appreciating its historical value and thinking of it as an investment, but first and foremost it's something you'll have to live with.
Of course, it's possible to avoid all these questions and simply purchase a piece of reproduction "antique" bedroom furniture. This is an inexpensive way of giving your bedroom a period feel, and you also know that you're getting something in perfect condition.