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What Should I Look for in an Antique Rocking Chair?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

An antique rocking chair can improve the aesthetic of a room and provide an interesting topic of conversation. When choosing an antique rocking chair, it is important to find one that is in good condition or that can at least be restored to workable or presentable condition. Regardless of whether you intend to use the antique rocking chair exclusively as a showpiece is irrelevant, as people will always be tempted to sit in the chair. The chair should therefore be able to support the weight of a person, whether or not they are supposed to be sitting in the chair.

Consider the materials used to make the chair, as well as the overall design of the antique rocking chair. Choose one that fits your needs and desires, but also choose one that is made from high quality woods and a well-crafted design. Hardwoods are best, and woods that show off their grain and natural beauty are even better. Consider craftsmanship as well, as some chairs are less noted for their materials and more noted for the ways in which the chair was built. Find out what is notable about the chair, when it was constructed and by whom, and why the chair is considered antique before purchasing.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Of course, some antique rocking chair models are not antiques at all. Some chairs are constructed new, and they are made to look like antiques through a process known as weathering or antiquing. Be sure to find out what kind of chair you are buying, and only pay an appropriate price for the chair you are considering. To avoid being deceived, try to buy from a reputable antiques dealer, or become educated on ways to determine a chair's true origins. This may involve researching manufacturers, construction techniques, material analysis, and so on.

Buying a chair that is not a true antique is not necessarily a bad thing, either. Some people want the look of an antique rocking chair without the hassle of maintenance or risk of financial loss due to damage, so a faux antique may be the best choice. If aesthetics is the most important priority for you, rather than authenticity, consider a faux antique and save yourself some money. If, however, you are looking for an authentic chair that will hold its value and continue to be a show piece in your home, find a true antique rocking chair. It may help to decide what style of chair you want to find before your search begins, as the style of chair can also help determine what indicators may tip you off to a true antique.

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