Investing in antiques means recycling, or re-using rather than consuming, and the creative re-use of your old worn-out furniture can also breathe new life into old items. Whether you are redecorating or just getting started furnishing your home, antiques are an excellent, educational way to extend the lifetime of furniture and be eco-friendly as well.
Acquiring Your Antiques
Contrary to the opinions of some individuals, antiques aren’t always expensive, nor do they have to be. In some Amish communities, antiques can be found for very little (simple chairs can be easily found for less than $10, and small shelving for less than $20). At yard sales and flea markets, even better deals abound.
If you keep your eyes and ears open, you may be able to obtain antique furniture for free – some people have been known to put antique furniture out on the curb for trash pick-up. With some creativity, obtaining antiques can be far cheaper and more eco-friendly than buying new furniture.
Care and Maintenance of Your Antiques
Antique wooden furniture is subject to drying, and sunlight can fade and discolor wood or upholstered antiques. To minimize and prevent drying, use a good quality furniture oil on antique wood. You can make your own using olive oil or sweet almond oil and lemon essential oil. In fact, olive and almond oils can be used straight from the bottle to enrich and protect your furniture. Use oil soap to clean wooden antiques.
Draw the shades and curtains to protect furniture from sunlight during the day, or invest in ultraviolet tinting for your windows. Such tinting comes in sheets and is simply pressed against the inside of windows. You can also cover antiques with attractive slip covers. Use doilies, throw blankets, lace, tablecloths, and so forth to protect your antiques in a creative, attractive way.
Refinishing and Restoration of Antiques
Some people are able to see the potential in even the most shoddy-looking piece of antique furniture. Collecting trash and turning it to treasure can be one of the most rewarding ways to furnish your home, and do your small part in helping tne environment. Such refinished pieces combine the re-use of furniture with your own individual expression.
You can take a piece to a professional for refinishing and restoration, or attempt it yourself. There are tutorials on television and the internet, and copious books have been written on the subject.
Creative Recycling of Antiques
A step further than refinishing and restoring, creative re-use of antiques means using a piece of furniture or parts of it to make something else. An old kitchen hutch can be made into an entertainment center, for example, and old kitchen cabinets can be stacked and made into shelving. If you have bits of furniture lying about or a damaged piece that is beyond salvaging, break out the wood stain and paint, and let your imagination flow. Although it may not seem like Antiques are a green alternative to new furniture, you would be surprised as to how much it could help, especially if a lot of people do it. It would reduce waste, cutting of trees, and all the other materials needed to make new furniture, and to top it off, would reduce the production of toxic materials used in the manufacturing of new furniture.