Conservation: Furniture

View larger map. View smaller map. What some see as simply utilitarian, you recognize as art.

Furniture has been made from every imaginable substance, from wood, to plastics, to cardboard, but in its essence it is created from two types of material, organic and inorganic. It is the combination of the two that makes care so difficult.

Light, changes in temperature, and humidity do the most damage to furniture. These factors must be discussed with a conservator to insure the safety and wellbeing of your piece.

Pests are also a real danger, in case of an infestation, immediately contact a conservator for information on how to handle the situation.

The beauty of a piece of furniture is undeniable and its value is unquestionable. Once the value has been established, then care is essential. Be certain to speak with a conservator on keeping accurate records about your piece and always decide ahead of time if the pieces will have everyday use or not. Because most furniture is made from various materials, the care of your object can be difficult. Consult a professional conservator to decide what is appropriate for your individual piece


  • Consult a conservator for appropriate light, temperature and humidity settings
  • Furniture must be kept out of light
  • Temperatures should be maintained at an even amount, with little fluctuations. If fluctuations occur, they should be slow, so the piece may adapt to the change
  • Keep pieces away from heating and/or air-conditioning sources
  • Simple dusting is best for furniture (taking care if there is any damage to the piece)
  • Wax pieces only once a year and use discretion
  • Beeswax can be mixed with mineral spirits to create a paste that is applied in small circular motions
  • Afterward, wipe with the grain and buff piece after a few hours
  • Do not disturb or clean metal parts
  • Upholstered pieces may be vacuumed with soft brush nozzle
  • Do not use anything that says it ‘feeds the wood’
  • To maintain the value of your piece any repair work done to any part, including upholstery, must be done by a conservator


  • Always use care when moving furniture, even across a room
  • Be mindful of where and how you pick up the piece
  • If possible, always have more than one person to move piece
  • Remove anything that could cause damage to the piece, including rings or watches
  • Do not drag or push furniture
  • Always remove any separate pieces first. For instance, take drawers out of a dresser then move the dresser
  • For long distance moves consult a conservator


  • When storing any piece, always consult a conservator
  • Never store a piece in an attic or basement
  • Be certain the piece is stable
  • Take into account the light, as well as the temperature of the storage situation

Featured Providers

Nancy E. Beck

[Not Rated Yet]
Nancy Beck
Richmond, VA

Parr Conservation Services, LLC

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Deborah Duerbeck Parr PO Box 239
Burkittsville, MD 21718

Heller Conservation Services

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Thomas and Dawn Heller
Nashville, TN

Heller Conservation Services

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Thomas and Dawn Heller
Greenbrier, Tennessee

Schuettinger Conservation Services, Inc.

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Bruce Schuettinger 17 North Alley
PO Box 244
New Market, MD 21774


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Jean Easter 1134 East 54th Street
Suite J
Indianapolis, Indiana 46220

Period Furniture Conservation, LLC

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Yuri Yanchyshyn 37-18 Northern Blvd STE 407
Long Island City, NY 11101

F. C. Vogt Company, Inc.

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Fredrick C. Vogt 1831 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23220