In recent years, television programmes and lifestyle magazines have fed an enthusiasm for the past. They have not only increased our knowledge for art and antiques but also heightened our expectations of their value. The media has drawn attention to stories of people who find valuable antiques in their attic or in a junk shop.
But why buy antiques rather than newly manufactured pieces? Where furniture is concerned, there are numerous reasons why!
Firstly, antique furniture can give a room instant character and individuality. They give a sense that the space has been accumulated over time, a quality that distinguishes a home from a furniture showroom. Antiques are more unique than todays mass produced furniture, which adds to the rooms aura. Some antique items cannot be made in todays society due to time constraints, unavailability of materials and loss of the art.
Quality and workmanship is a factor not to be forgotten. Antique furniture proves it is of good quality as it has already stood the test of time. Its solid construction is unlike many of the mass-produced factory-made articles of today, which are usually sold in flat pack for easy transportation and reduced manufacturing costs.
Construction methods used in the previous century are not only more withstanding but require skill and fine workmanship. The traditional method of dovetail jointing, for example, is stronger than dowel joints used in the present day, and are certainly more impressive and aesthetically pleasing.
There is also a comparison to be made in the quality in the materials used; hardwood was favoured in producing furniture in the past but nowadays furniture is usually constructed using particleboard and veneers.
Antiques are also an investment to be passed down through the generations. A piece of furniture today could cost a similar figure at the offset but may not bring the rewards that an antique could. By purchasing a piece of antique furniture you are investing in an asset which will surely mature with a growing market value.
There is also the impact on the environment to be considered. Today, more and more of us are thinking green by recycling materials such as glass and plastic. Yet how many of us think about being eco-friendly when selecting a new sofa or table? Its difficult to imagine them as a threat to the environment but the truth is that furniture manufacturing is a fundamentally polluting business.
Companies often use pesticide-treated wood and apply paints and finishes that are harmful to the environment. Acres of rain forests are also destroyed in the demand for tropical woods such as mahogany and rosewood. By purchasing antique furniture you are being considerate to the environment as it is a form of recycling.
Lastly, buying antiques is a wonderful pastime. Hunting down a rare piece of furniture is by far more enjoyable than selecting an item from a store, or even a home-delivery catalogue. There is also the pride you feel when you see the piece in-situ in your own home.