Collecting Antique Furniture

by Mark Astengo

Antique furniture has long been a favorite among collectors, offering a glimpse into the past and showcasing the craftsmanship and design of bygone eras. From stately Victorian pieces, sleek mid-century modern designs and unique asian items, collecting antique furniture can be a rewarding and fascinating journey. In this article, we’ll explore the basics of collecting antique furniture and offer some tips to help you get started.

Begin with Research
The first step in collecting antique furniture is to familiarize yourself with the various styles, periods, and makers that interest you. Researching books, websites, and visiting museums and antique shows will help you develop an understanding of the characteristics that define different eras and styles, such as the ornate carvings of the Rococo period or the simplicity of Shaker design.

Understanding Styles and Periods
Antique furniture encompasses a vast array of styles and periods, each with its own distinctive features and aesthetics. Some popular styles and periods include:

1. Gothic (12th-16th centuries): Characterized by pointed arches, intricate tracery, and religious motifs.
2. Renaissance (14th-17th centuries): Marked by symmetry, proportion, and classical elements inspired by ancient Greece and Rome.
3. Baroque (17th century): Features dramatic curves, ornate carvings, and elaborate ornamentation.
4. Rococo (18th century): Known for its whimsical and playful designs, delicate carvings, and light color palette.
5. Georgian (1714-1837): Encompassing a range of styles, including Neoclassical, Regency, and Chippendale, Georgian furniture is typically elegant and refined.
6. Victorian (1837-1901): Notable for its dark woods, intricate carvings, and heavy ornamentation..
7. Arts and Crafts (late 19th-early 20th century): Emphasizes simplicity, functionality, and craftsmanship, often with a focus on natural materials.
8. Art Nouveau (1890-1910): Characterized by flowing lines, organic forms, and stylized motifs inspired by nature.
9. Art Deco (1920s-1930s): Marked by geometric shapes, bold patterns, and luxurious materials.
10. Mid-Century Modern (1940s-1960s): Features clean lines, minimal ornamentation, and a focus on functionality.

Look for Quality and Craftsmanship
When selecting antique furniture, pay attention to the quality of materials and construction. Look for pieces made from solid wood, with dovetail joints and other signs of skilled craftsmanship. Furniture that has been well-made and cared for will stand the test of time, making it a more valuable and enduring addition to your collection.

Consider Condition and Restoration
While some wear and tear can add character to antique furniture, significant damage or alterations may negatively impact its value. Before purchasing a piece, carefully inspect it for signs of repairs or modifications. If restoration is needed, consult with a professional to ensure the work is done properly and with respect to the piece’s original character.

Choose Authenticity and Provenance
Authenticity is crucial in the world of antique furniture collecting. Familiarize yourself with the specific features, materials, and construction techniques that are characteristic of the period and style you’re interested in. Provenance, or the history of ownership, can also add value and interest to a piece, so be sure to inquire about its background when making a purchase.

Develop a Focus
With so many styles and periods to choose from, it’s helpful to develop a focus for your collection. This could be based on a specific time period, design style, or even a particular type of furniture. Focusing on a niche will help you become more knowledgeable and make more informed decisions when acquiring new pieces.

Buy from Reputable Sources
Purchasing antique furniture from reputable dealers, auction houses, and estate sales can provide greater assurance of authenticity and quality. Build relationships with knowledgeable dealers who can offer guidance, expertise, and access to a wide range of pieces. At Pacific Antiques Mall we offer a wide range of furniture. See Shops 4, 8 and 79 – plus our own Asian Furniture Store named “Astiques”.

Be Patient and Enjoy the Hunt
Collecting antique furniture is a journey, so be prepared to be patient and enjoy the thrill of the hunt. As you become more knowledgeable and experienced, you’ll develop an eye for spotting hidden gems and recognizing the true value of the pieces you encounter.

In conclusion, collecting antique furniture is a rewarding pursuit that allows you to connect with history, appreciate exceptional craftsmanship, and create a unique and personal collection. With patience, research, and a focus on quality, you can build a collection that will bring you joy for years to come.

Pacific Antiques Mall
10228 Pacific Ave S
Tacoma, Washington 98444
OPEN Daily 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM


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