Amish furniture is renowned for its longevity and durability. However, even, the sturdiest piece of equipment will degrade without maintenance. From years of wear and neglect, reviving a piece of furniture requires delicate, but doable work.
The same is true for mixing styles to ensure the piece, once revived, stands out and garners the attention and respect such worn furniture deserves, such as an Amish dining table. With planning, such pieces can continue to stand strong in nearly any design concept.
Vintage Amish Dining Table
Vintage Amish dining tables are renowned for their craftsmanship, durability, and timeless design. They are known for their exceptional woodworking skills.
They often use techniques passed down through generations, ensuring each piece is built to last. Traditional joinery techniques like mortise-and-tenon and dovetail joints are common, which provide strength and stability without the need for nails or screws.
How to Revive a Vintage Dining Table
If you’re going to refinish older furniture yourself, knowing the basics is a good first step. Ideally, you could have an expert handle the work, but such experts are often thin on the ground in modern times.
Whenever you decide to tackle furniture refinishing, make sure to do your research so that the procedure is handled safely. Proper protection should be worn for the eyes and hands to protect your skin, and if using sprays make sure there is plenty of ventilation and you are wearing a mask.
Generally, removing the old finish, completely filling in any dents or scratches, and then re-applying a proper finish will take care of most issues. That’s just the most basic of basics though. As previously noted, do your research before taking on such a project.
Re-stain to Protect Finish
The stain on furniture helps protect it as well as provide additional coloration options. Re-staining the surface thus not only allows you to protect the piece from future wear but also gives you some creative options on how to help the furniture blend in or accent your current style.
Re-staining is often part of the restoration process, and so knowing how to do so safely and properly is advised. Again, under ideal conditions, an expert would handle the work, but re-staining is not overly complex, just potentially messy.
Paint the Surface for Better Matching
While not always ideal, especially when it comes to a quality piece like a dinner table by the Amish, painting a heavily damaged table can help protect it from future wear. It also makes matching or accenting the piece to match your present décor much easier.
You don’t need to repaint the entire piece, either. If there are portions of the furniture that don’t need additional protection, only painting portions of the furniture, like the legs or top, can help create a popping visual presence that can further blend with or accent your current décor scheme.
Whitewashing furniture is often considered a drastic step. However, after staining, it can help return a refinished piece to looking more like its aged splendor. A carefully applied whitewash can add an aged look to new pieces, or help older pieces regain the aged look they might have lost during the refinishing process.
As with any furniture-related project, make sure to do your research and don the proper safety equipment. Also, take into account the potential messes and plan accordingly. You may want to consult an expert as well, since, if you’re not careful, you could end up damaging the wood all over again.
How Best to Mix Old and New
Having returned your table to its former splendor through whatever means you desired, the question now is how to incorporate the finished look back into your décor. Dining tables are centerpieces in the room they occupy, so ensuring they receive their due can take some thought.
Generally, wood’s natural colors work well with natural tones. The hue of the wood can also determine décor options. Lighter woods like pine will work best with neutrals and earthy tones, while darker colors like cherry or mahogany mix better with warm neutrals and jewel tones. Here are some ideas;
Colors for lights woods:
- Whites and Creams: Crisp whites or soft creams create a bright, airy feel that enhances the lightness of the pine.
- Beige and Taupe: These warm neutrals complement pine’s natural warmth without overpowering it.
- Greens: Sage, olive, and other muted greens reflect the natural world and complement pine’s organic feel.
- Browns: Chocolate and mocha shades can add depth and warmth to the lightness of pine without darkening the space too much.
- Sky Blue: A soft, light blue against pine wood can evoke a serene, Scandinavian aesthetic.
- Charcoal and Grey: These cooler tones provide a modern, sophisticated contrast to the warmth of pine.
- Terracotta and Burnt Orange: Earthy reds and oranges bring out the rustic quality of pine, especially in country or southwestern styles.
- Mustard and Sienna: These warm, spicy tones can add a rustic or bohemian feel to the space.
Colors for darker woods:
- Ivory and Cream: These shades offer a soft contrast to dark wood without the starkness of pure white.
- Beige and Tan: Warm neutrals complement the warmth in cherry and mahogany woods.
- Emerald Green: This rich color can create a regal look alongside the depth of dark woods.
- Ruby Red and Amethyst: Deep reds and purples complement the reddish hues often found in cherry wood, enhancing the luxurious feel.
- Burnt Orange and Rust: These colors echo the warm undertones of dark wood and are ideal for creating a cozy, inviting space.
- Olive Green: A muted, earthy green can balance the richness of dark woods without overwhelming the space.
- Teal and Peacock Blue: The coolness of these colors offers a striking contrast that can bring out the warm tones of dark wood.
- Sage Green: A muted sage offers a gentle contrast and complements the natural feel of the wood.
Paint or Stain to Match?
As previously noted, part of the refinishing process for worn furniture often involves re-staining and maybe even painting the wood to restore and protect the surface. While doing so, you might be tempted to adjust the coloration to better match your style.
While certainly an option, you should think it over before committing. Part of wood’s appeal, especially when it comes to vintage or retro pieces like Amish furniture, is its natural coloration, grain, and texture.
However, that has likely been damaged and restored, so a fresh stain or paint to protect the wood is not uncalled for in most situations. As long as you’re re-staining or painting, why not make sure the piece fits in with your present design desires?
Contrast With Accents
While painting or staining the furniture to match your color scheme is a perfectly viable option, you may want to preserve the natural coloration as much as possible, even if it clashes. This is perfectly fine, and can really help the table stand out as a centerpiece.
Creating some contrast with the natural wood’s coloration not only preserves the initial coloration of the wood but also helps it stand out as a central piece.
To avoid too much clashing, accent the table with chairs or shelves that better match your color style. In a pinch, you can also paint or stain parts of the table, like the legs, to help it better blend together.
Returning vintage dining tables to their previous glory can prove a difficult task. Dents, dings, scratches, and other surface damage take careful precision to repair without further damaging the wood.
There is also the question of stains and paints. Should they be applied? If so, what colors best match your present décor scheme, but also ensure the look and feel of the wood itself stands out and proud.
Dining tables are often central pieces, and that means a lot of thought and care goes into their placement, look, and even feel. A carefully restored piece can and should look great with just about any interior design setup, as long as you do your research, plan, and, if needed, consult an expert.
Repairing furniture yourself can be difficult and requires the proper tools, chemicals, and area to safely perform the work. It also requires proper safety equipment and planning. If done right, though, you will have restored a vintage piece to match any style you desire.