There is something to be said for antique furniture. It could be 100 years old or older and still be found. Often, it is still a quality piece that someone took the time to take care of for many years. More often than not, older furniture is solid and has stood the test of time that many newer pieces cannot lay claim to. While its popularity comes and goes, antique furniture deserves a revival in this day and age, where we worry about throw-away products and dwindling space for waste. Antiques are the answer!
The Case for Antique Furniture
One of the problems with modern furniture is its cheap construction. While a low price tag might make for an affordable piece at the time, sadly it doesn’t usually last. Unfortunately, modern construction materials aren’t made to last. Press-board is cheap and easy to work with, but any amount of moisture makes it buckle and break. Essentially it is no more than several pieces of paper pressed together. A little rough handling and you’ve got a hole, rip or tear, and consequently a trip back to the store for another piece of furniture. Not to mention more garbage for landfill.
Aside from cheap construction material, there is also the matter of chemicals and toxic materials that can often be found in newer furniture. Some chemicals found in upholstered furniture have been linked to developmental problems, cancer risks, and impaired fertility. You won’t find that in the solid wood butcher block table we collected recently from someone’s home. It was made to last out of good old-fashioned wood and the only chemicals in it might be 100 years worth of linseed oil to protect it.
When a product is mass designed in a factory, there is a lack of originality as well. There is no hand-carving done. No details added to accentuate the building materials. No variation in colour. Everything is uniform and pre-packaged for ease of delivery. Period.
In comparison, one of the reasons why antique furniture is so coveted, is due to the unique nature of the pieces. Craftsmen took the time to build furniture to the best of their ability, using skill, knowledge, and high-quality materials meant to last. People could not afford to replace furniture every season or even every few years, so it was important that whatever furniture they had, was built well. Some pieces were even custom-built for the homes or businesses they were intended for. You can’t get that in a big box store!
What Load of Rubbish loves about antique furniture though is the fact that so many people still love it. People appreciate the quality of the piece, the history behind it, and the unique nature of it. They understand that by buying old furniture it is kept out of the landfill and might save a few more cheap pieces from being built. They also care about their homes and the planet, and want to make sure it is around for many more generations to come.
It’s in our mandate—recycle, donate, dispose. There’s a reason why dispose is last. Choosing and valuing antiques prevents us from having to dispose of things. So any time we get old furniture, we are more than happy to see it get reused via a trip to the thrift store. If all it needs is a dust or fresh coat of wax to bring back the shine, isn’t it worth it to appreciate old furniture for many more years to come?