Antique Sofas - In a Class of their Own
Factors and guidelines for selecting & refurbishing
Despite modern trends, antique sofa furniture still viewed by many as being more luxurious and stylish than contemporary alternatives. An antique sofa is able to add an air of finesse and classic style to even the smallest of living rooms.
While antique replica furniture tends to be relatively easy to find, genuine antiques can be hard to come by, not to mention expensive. Your best bet is to look for an antique couch that is in less than mint condition and have it recovered by a professional upholster. Provided that the frame and padding of the couch are still sound, in most cases it will be more than worthwhile to reupholster the antique rather than purchase a new couch.
Listed below are some factors and guidelines to consider when selecting and refurbishing antique couches:
• If you are looking for a genuine antique, your best bet is surprisingly enough to avoid online and High Street antique stores. Sofas in these stores are likely to have been refurbished already and will probably cost an arm and a leg. Concentrate rather on furniture auctions and the classifieds where you are likely to find beautiful albeit slightly worn pieces at affordable prices.
• Before you even consider purchasing a particular antique couch, make sure that both the frame and the springs of the couch are still in good condition. Press your hand firmly against the bottom and the back of the couch. The base should strong and rigid in all parts and should not be bendable or lumpy in the slightest.
• Sit down on the couch and bounce gently up and down on the seating cushions. The cushions should be firm and springy, and should not sink as you lower your bodyweight onto them. The moment than cushions sag and allow you to slump back into the couch, it is a sign that the suspension in the cushions have gone.
• When considering fabrics, keep in mind the design of the couch and the period that it comes from. Modern materials and designs are likely to detract from the original beauty of the couch. It is best to stick to traditional materials with ageless motifs such as fleur-de-lis or damask designs. As a general rule, floral designs tend to be more classic and timeless than stripes and plain colors. As tempting as it may be to cash in on bargain materials, it is always better to spend a little extra and get a quality fabric that will enhance the design of the couch.
• Before you take your antique sofa to be reupholstered, it is a good idea to consider renewing the condition of the wood that makes up its frame and legs. Completing this step before reupholstering the couch will eliminate the need to worry about spills and stains. Apply a fluid sand solution or de-glosser to remove dirt and grime, followed by a latex primer to prepare the wood for a finishing wash. Decide on a type of finishing and apply it to all the exposed wooden sections of the couch in layers. This will bring out the natural grain of the wood and restore its original luster.
• Finally, when you purchase the fabric for reupholstering it is a good idea to consider getting an additional swatch that you can keep in case a cushion or arm of your couch gets damaged or stained. Fabrics are often seasonal and chances are good that if you don't keep an additional swatch, by the time you need replacement fabric it may already have been discontinued.