Home Decor Tips
How to Make Classic Home Interior Pieces Last
Does your home interior contain antique furnishings and décor? These items are the home’s top accent pieces and dictate the mood and ambiance of the room. Antiques, though, require care if you wish to retain their timeless look. Otherwise, these items can subtract from the look you’re aiming for.
We’ll go over some easy DIY care for maintaining your valuables.
Caring for Leather
Do you get a leather couch or other furnishings clad in rawhide animal skin? Care for your leather sofa the way you would care for your designer pair of leather boots.
Here’s how you care for leather:
- If the leather couch or loveseat gets wet, let it dry naturally. Refrain from using a blow dryer as any form of speed drying alters the leather’s chemical structure, causing undesirable crinkling and fading.
- Clean the surface with a leather cream. With any cleaning agent, you’re using for the first time, spot test beforehand on an obscure area. Some creams contain ingredients that may lead to discoloration. Do not use the following products: milk oil, shoe cream, and saddle soap.
- Does the leather furniture line directly with a window? Excess sunlight leads to premature fading. If it’s exceptionally sunny outside, close the shutters or curtains to shield the leather from UV rays.
- Know what type of leather you’re dealing with. Certain leather conditioners are not compatible with certain leather varieties. Types like suede, nubuck, or pebbled leather require very specific care.
Caring for Wood
You may have a vintage wooden half-moon table or a dresser acquired from your grandparents’ estate. Such items certainly bring an old-style charm to an otherwise contemporary home design. Wood especially requires regular upkeep due to their susceptibility to rot. Wood is also susceptible to scratches; even dust particles can cause surface-level nicks. For this reason, regular dusting using a feather or lamb-wool duster is recommended.
For maintaining surface condition, adhere to these processes:
1. Refrain from using water for cleaning wood. The only exception to this rule is using a mildly soaked cloth to clean sticky spots.
2. Use polishes with silicone oil, which provides a fair level of surface protection
3. If removing grimy spots, use a homemade mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, gum turpentine, and denatured alcohol.
4. Most wooden furniture, even those manufactured from years past, contain some form of protective varnish or shellac. Protect the manufacturer’s finish by regularly applying wax or polish.
Caring for Porcelain
It’s not just your fine chinaware that’s made from porcelain. You may have a vintage porcelain vase or dishes displayed behind an equally vintage display cabin. The trick with porcelain is to avoid temperature and humidity extremes. The care tips below apply towards porcelain and all ceramics.
- Clean porcelain once a month using an ammonia/baking soda combination and a non-abrasive sponge. This simple solution is particularly effective for removing scums and stained areas.
- For stubborn stains, immerse the area in table salt and a few drops of lemon juice. If the stain is really resistant, let the salt and lemon juice sit for an hour.
- Both steps above also apply for antique bathtubs. They’re especially useful for removing bathtub rings caused by oily shampoos and body washes.
Caring for Brass
That wooden drawer or dresser may include brass handles or knobs. To clean solid brass, use a simple solution of hot soapy water and a microfiber cloth. For tough stains, dilute the stain using tomato sauce or even ketchup. Lemon juice and salt work as well.
As mentioned, the above steps pertain to SOLID brass and not brass-plated steel. Distinguish between solid brass and brass-plated steel by using a magnet. If the magnet sticks, then it’s brass-plated steel. To clean this style of brass, use a homemade mixture of salt and vinegar. Mix until you have a thick paste. Let the paste sit for 10-minutes before rubbing the paste into the surface with a cleaning rag.
What kind of classic items adorn your home? Surely, these pieces are your prized items that you want lasting for decades and onwards. The good news is that most antiques can be maintained with simple DIY solutions using products you likely have in your pantry.
Hannah Hutchinson is an interior designer based in London, currently blogging for Westland London. She’s always chasing new ideas and likes thinking outside the box when it comes to incorporating fresh ideas to her client’s new homes.