Why Would Anyone Want Old Brown Furniture?
Say the words “antique furniture” and you are likely to hear: oh that old brown stuff. In today’s trendy, high tech world is very easy to think that anything over a year old is out of style and obsolete. While I can appreciate and even relish clean lines, lots of pale neutrals and spare accessories, without a piece of antique furniture the words that come to my mind in describing those rooms are cold, sterile and without character. So, let’s talk about why antique furniture made from darker woods (or any wood for that matter) deserve a place in your home.
Let’s start with the fact that “brown” furniture doesn’t exist unless it is painted brown. Natural wood colors are tones of red and yellow. Various stains and varnishes were applied to enhance the color and the grain of the natural wood. When the finishes were first applied to the wood, those muddy dark colors that are lifeless and dull today were luminous and glowing. Years of dirt and grime have made them heavy and muddy. Very often all that is required is a good cleaning to bring back the luster and warmth of the wood. While collectors of extremely expensive very old period furniture by known makers want the “grunge” as authentication of the age of a piece, most of us would rather live without the grime. In most antique and vintage furniture removing the grunge adds to the value rather than detracts. Once the furniture is cleaned (and not necessarily refinished) we can see the beauty of wood grains that are no longer available today. Those woods are now so scarce and expensive that they are unavailable at affordable prices.
Antiques are green. They were made with manual labor without dependence on fossil fuels. They are made from all-natural materials and they are biodegradable---not that I recommend using them for landfill.
Antique furniture is sturdy. It’s been used by families for 100 years and more and it is still around. The scuffs and scratches it has gathered and will gather are a testament to how well it was made and how well adapted it is to the wear and tear of family life.
Well designed furniture is classic. Whether it is new or old, furniture should be chosen for its intrinsic beauty not because it’s a trend. Trends change, but good design is always current.
Antiques add warmth Modern and contemporary designs can be a bit sharp and cold. Glass, polished metals, hard surfaces and monochromatic design, are warmed and humanized by the color and scale of antiques.
Antiques individualize a design. In the age of the mass produced, antiques add depth. They give you a venue for making your room unique. Antiques takes your home out of the ordinary and help you express your individuality.
Antiques are a good value You simply cannot buy furniture of the same quality as a good antique piece at any price. Those stylish pieces at the high-end chains are adaptations of antique designs at double the cost of the originals.