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How to Properly Care for Antiques in Your Home

By: Jennifer Topper

The antiques market in the US is currently worth more than $1.5 billion after growing at an annual rate of 5.1 percent over the past five years, according to an IBISWorld report. Antiques are still extremely valuable, and even though you may not realize it, there's a good chance that that piece of art you got from your neighborhood sculpture studio or vintage clock you inherited from your grandparents would fetch a huge sum if you were to sell it. Plus, even if you don't intend to sell, antiques can add a touch of elegance in your home, transforming the aesthetic appeal of any room you put them in. But, to enjoy the benefits of antiques, you must keep them in tip-top condition by following these care and maintenance tips.

Display or send to storage?

When you have antiques in your home, you have two options; you can either put them on display for your family and guests to see or you can stash them away in storage. If you choose to have them on display, be mindful of where you put them. You can start by placing any fragile antiques such as vases and glass sculptures on a stable surface where they won't get knocked over accidentally, especially by young kids or pets. Keep your antiques far from direct sunlight to avoid discoloration after long term exposure, especially antiques like furniture, carpets, and paintings. You must also ensure that they're a safe distance from any heat sources such as your stove, fireplace, or air conditioning vents. If you prefer to stash your antiques away, choose an area that is clean, safe, and fitted with a temperature and humidity control system so that you can maintain their integrity.

Cleaning your antiques

Whether you have them in storage or on display, antiques will pick up some dirt, some more quickly than others. For example, antiques like carpets or sofas that are constantly touched and stepped on can accumulate a lot of dirt in just a few days. To keep them looking good in your home and maintain their value, you'll need to get rid of such dirt regularly. But, you must be careful when cleaning since if you do it wrong, you risk causing irreversible damage to your precious antiques. Importantly, make sure that you're using the right cleaning materials and techniques for the specific type of antiques you have. For example, leather seats should be cleaned using a leather cleaner and tools that won't leave unsightly marks and scratches. Wooden antiques can be wiped regularly with a damp cloth to remove surface dust then waxed to remove marks and restore their shine.

Handling your antiques

You must be careful when handling antiques, especially when moving them. First of all, never bite off more than you can chew, even if you're moving them to the next room. Make sure that you have the right tools and someone to help you if you need it, even if it means hiring a professional moving service. Always wrap any fragile antiques in a few layers of bubble wrap to ensure that they get to the new destination in one piece.

If you own any antiques, you can keep them in great shape by always handling them with care, keeping them clean, and choosing a favorable environment to keep them in. You never know what they'll be worth in a few years and even if you don't plan to sell them, it's great to have something that you can leave for your children and grandchildren so that they always remember you.

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