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How do I Choose the Best Oak Antique Chairs?

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  • Written By: Elizabeth West
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2016
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When choosing oak antique chairs, a buyer should consider both personal taste and the d├ęcor of the room they will inhabit. Chairs are easily found in shops, flea markets, and online. Antique furniture can be expensive, so buyers should consider how much they want to spend. For budget shoppers, good reproductions of oak antique chairs are available that function as well or better than the real thing, and are crafted in the same style.

Oak, a plentiful hardwood at the time, was first used for furniture in the Middle Ages. Its durability made it an excellent choice for chairs, tables, cupboards, and chests that were used every day. The wood ages to a dark patina, almost black in the case of extremely old pieces. It is easy to care for and water-resistant, and well-made oak antique chairs have survived into the current century. They are not as comfortable as modern chairs, and will probably have to be modified with cushions or used purely for show.

A spindle back Windsor chair with an arched frame is a timeless style that complements a modern or old-fashioned kitchen or casual dining room. All kinds of rockers are popular in bedrooms and nurseries. The Mission chair was very popular in the early twentieth century, with simple straight lines and leather upholstery. Oak antique chairs in the Craftsman style are a less rigid version. Both Mission and Craftsman chairs work well in a simple, plain room where the furniture can be showcased.

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Antiques are available from dealers online and in shops. Buying locally allows one to test chairs, but reputable dealers who sell on the Internet have good return policies and stand by their stock. Oak antique chairs commonly available in flea markets and consignment shops, as well as those online, tend to date from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Estate auctions are sometimes a good place to find rare complete sets of matching chairs. If sets aren't available, similar pieces can work well together in an eclectic room.

Reproductions are a good choice if oak antique chairs are too expensive or not practical in terms of comfort. Many of the same styles, like the Windsor, are still being made. Crafty decorators may like to distress newer chairs for an aged look. Oak antique chairs may need some work if they are found in a flea market or at a tag sale. The buyer should consider whether the time spent restoring a battered bargain piece is worth having it, even at a substantial savings.

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