When is Antique Furniture a Good Investment and Choice?

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Antique furniture is easy to fall in love with but it’s not for everyone. How can you decide whether or not to go for that old piece you’ve fallen in love with?

Be Realistic About Your Budget

Antiques can cost a lot of money and you need to make sure getting the piece isn’t going to blow your finances out of the water. You need to know how much you can spend on a piece of antique furniture without disrupting your household budget unbearably. Bear in mind that might not just be the ticket price – there are other costs which you should bear in mind also. If you buy at auction, there will usually be a premium and may be other sales fees too. You’ll need to pay a storage fee if you don’t pick it up soon. Moving antiques is a specialist job and so you find the removal carrier doesn’t come cheap. Also factor in the cost of any restoration or preservation work which may be necessary.

Antiques Need A Big Enough Space To Flourish

Do you have the right space for the furniture, or will you have it in the future? The first consideration here is practical – can the antique fit in and out without any damage to it? I once bought a beautiful old wooden wardrobe without measuring it against my doorway. To my eye, seeing it in the seller’s house, it looked as if it would squeeze through my door alright. Once the removal men got stuck at the top of my stair for an hour, though, we realised that although it was only fractionally too big that meant it wouldn’t fit. Antique furniture is usually solidly built, not modular like a lot of modern pieces. That is good for quality but doesn’t help when you need to fit it in your place. In my case, we had to take the wardrobe back downstairs and ended up hoisting it up and over a balcony by rope, adding more costs on removal. Secondly, antique furniture often works best as a centrepiece in a room. Its look will depend partly on whether the room is sufficiently large to showcase it, and how it fits with the look of other pieces on display. If you don’t have a good space in which to house the antique, you won’t enjoy it as much as you could.

Having The Right Conditions Is Important

Like people, as furniture gets older it becomes more fragile and likes ever more delicate handling. Many antique pieces have survived as long as they have because they are well-designed and sturdily constructed. However, after time even the best built furniture can show its age. It may have been moved and handled extensively over decades or centuries. Different parts of it may have warped or dried out at different rates, affecting its structural integrity. Decorative motifs, lacquer, paint and the like may have become weakened and crumble when you touch them. For these reasons, it’s important that you help conserve such furniture by following a few simple, common sense rules. For example, it’s better if you do not move it around often. Housing it out of direct sunlight is a must, and the less light on it overall the better. Also, if you decide to use it in your everyday life – for example to store things or as a T.V. cabinet – then you need to take special care not to damage it further when you are doing so.

Buying Furniture You Like Is Smart

You can make money on antique furniture but it’s far from a sure bet. That’s why it is smart to purchase furniture which you also like the look of and can imagine appreciating as furniture in your home. If others share your taste, maybe its value will appreciate over time and you can turn a tidy profit on your smart buy. But either way you’ll have something  you value to show for your purchase. Buying antique furniture solely as an investment is a skilled and risky enterprise best managed by professionals who devote their working lives to it – and against whom you would be competing. There is a good reason to fall in love with a piece of antique furniture, just like often the reason it has survived for so long already is because others have fallen in love with it over the years before you. But it can be a costly and in some ways impractical investment, without any certain financial return or ready market. So only when you have  the resources, environment and passion for a piece of antique furniture is it a good idea to get it.