When it comes to antique furniture appearances can deceive, and art deco furniture is no exception. For example, a couch or upholstered chair might have huge rips and tears in it, but as long as the frame is intact then it can be recovered and given a new lease of life.
Press hard on the sides of the frame and wobble it from side to side. If it feels nice and sturdy you’re good to go, but if there’s lots of give then don’t risk it – you wouldn’t want the mother-in-law landing on your chic couch and falling right through it…or would you?
While reupholstering might not seem cheap at $2,500, a real gem of an art deco sofa could be worth triple this to a collector or style conscious private buyer. Safe coverings like plain leathers and geometric patterns are fine, but not what the art deco era was all about. Why not push the boat out and go for a bold colour or vibrant pattern that harks back to the period in which the sofa was conceived. This way, you can stay true to the roots of the piece and restore it with a real sense of purpose.
Think art deco, think grand veneered finishes on ocean liner balustrades. Unfortunately, much of this veneer is often damaged on examples of art deco furniture that still exist today. Believe it or not, simply ironing over brown paper will melt the original glue and flatten out decades of imperfections.
At all costs, try to ensure that you can rescue the original veneer and you might suddenly find that the coffee table you bought at a car boot is worth a small fortune. Chips are easily repaired and, by paying an expert, you can ensure an exact match as well as a quality finish.
Finally, lacquering is an important finishing touch to ensure authentic detailing. It will provide protection as well as bringing out the grain beautifully. Of course, you don’t want your furniture to look brand new so try a 70% sheen lacquer, worn with a little wire wool for a lived-in feel.
If you follow these steps, your art deco furniture can be properly restored to its former glory.