Asked on Sep 16, 2014

Can antique bed be saved?

This antique bed has been in storage for the last 20 years. I recently pulled it out and it's seems so damaged I'm ready to throw it away. It's cracked, warped and discolored. Then I though Hometalkers might know what to do! What ideas do you have to save it OR should I put it out for trash.
Damaged headboard and footboard.
From the side you can see how warped the headboard is. The too curves front from learning against the wall.
Large crack goes right across the middle of the footboard.
Another crack in the footboard goes up the side.
The wood and veneer have had water damage.
  82 answers
  • Hannah V Hannah V on Sep 16, 2014
    Of course it can! @Interior Frugalista is right, headboards turned into benches are the coolest! Check out Marie's board as well as this search feed: Also! Another one of my favorite repurposes of an old headboard is @Confessions of a Serial DIYer Headoard to Coat Organizer post! Check it out here :)
  • Shari Shari on Sep 16, 2014
    You might want to contact this HomeTalk member to see if she has any advice for you regarding repairs and possibly painting. You might also think about sending Marion aka "Miss Mustard Seed" and email with photos. She does some amazing things with furniture pieces that are well past their prime. (She's in PA too and might even be interested in buying if you want to sell.) I hope it can be salvaged without cutting it up. I'm sure in its day, it was stunning.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Sep 16, 2014
    I would give it a good cleaning with a damp make take several rubbings...then I would glue it where I could, using clamps until it dries. Then I would use some wood filler and patch...which may work on that cracking. You can use a texturing with texture paint or perhaps chalk paint...I have used texture paint, but not chalk paint. I would not trash it and I would keep it as a bed.
  • Jackie D Jackie D on Sep 16, 2014
    Bench, that is the best idea.... Just love old benches made form that sort of decor. Do the bench and them post it finished. It will be gorgeous.
  • Carole Carole on Sep 16, 2014
    If you don't want to make a bench out of it, or feel the wood is not strong enough to take hammering, nailing, glueing and screwing that may be required to add a seat part to it to form a bench, then you could literally make a 'garden bed' from it. Paint it up, after repairing as best you can and sit in the garden to make it look like a planted up bed with headboard and footboard. There are some posts on this site that may show this. You could also repair and paint and use each board as a sign in the garden - such as a welcome sign or seasonal fall or summer sign. Hope this gives you some ideas!
  • Lee Cunningham Green Lee Cunningham Green on Sep 16, 2014
    I think it is beautiful, and benches are a great idea, I once had a headboard that was too beyond to bear weight, I used it as a backdrop in my garden I painted it leaving the imperfections and placed it upright on a garden wall, the mums looked lovely in front of it. Paint is a marvelous thing.
  • Adrianne C Adrianne C on Sep 17, 2014
    An antique appraiser I spoke with recently recommended Howard's furniture products.
  • Wanda.ll Wanda.ll on Sep 17, 2014
    Yep I would try Restore too. I also might wet part that is wrapped and try to straighten it out. Put something really heavy like concrete blocks till it dries.As far as cracks leave them. As we get older we get cracks too(he!!!he!!!) they are just part of something being old. I love the design in the center it would be a shame to cover it up.
  • Kathy Conley Kathy Conley on Sep 17, 2014
    Save it! It it so beautiful! Lots of great suggestions. I echo the Howard's products, wood glue. You might have to remove all the veneer from the very bottom of the foot board. Check out Patty Henning of Fabulous Finishes, she is truly a professional specialty painter and she teaches you how to do it. Her blog is very informative. Please be sure to post an after picture for us. Good luck :)
  • Terri W Terri W on Sep 17, 2014
    I like the refinish/refurbish ideas to save it!
  • Lis535043 Lis535043 on Sep 17, 2014
    The "damage" gives it charmj. Re doitbj
  • Rho332617 Rho332617 on Sep 17, 2014
    Restore it , the veneer can be saved and the cracks smoothed with light sanding and pressing . It will be gorgeous and valuable !
  • Kristi Bennett Kristi Bennett on Sep 17, 2014
    Save it!!! Lot's of great ideas here. I hope you post here what you do with the lovely bed frame.
  • Patricia Linn Patricia Linn on Sep 17, 2014
    Tell me where you live, set it out by the trash and I'll come pick it up! LOL!!! Just kidding of course! These are ALL great ideas! It is beautiful and screams "make me beautiful again!" Good luck!
  • Betty819 Betty819 on Sep 17, 2014
    Oh my gosh! That is a beauty, but like the others have written, I think it is worth trying to restore. I've never restored or paint furniture except bookcases so I know nothing about the process but I'm sure you'll get a lot of good ideas..If you are uncomfortable about doing it yourself, call in 3 different furniture refinishers and get their opinion and estimate for restoring cost. It is beautiful! When my dear MIL passed away in 1998, she had an old bedroom set very similar to that. We advertised it in local newspaper and called several antique dealers to get an idea of the age of it and the style..the ones that i thought would be interested turned their nose up at wasn't old enough to be considered an antique..but could tell me it was "Depression style" Some small pieces of the veneer were off but Mom had kept them. We called an another antique store in a nearby county and he came and looked at it, offered us $50 and we actually saw him load it inside an old Station Wagon, and he was thrilled with it, said he'd have it refinished and put it in his antique shop by next week for sale. It was amazing to watch him fit that full size bed, dresser and chest of drawers in that SW..Nothing had to go on the roof either, the way he loaded it.
  • Carolyn Hoxton Carolyn Hoxton on Sep 17, 2014
    I would try Pinterest, they tell how to clean with 1/3 cup of vinegar mixed with 2/3 cup of cannola oil, (check to make sure of the measurements), my furniture looks brand new! and it was dusty! and some of it came from an auction and was dirty. Good luck, don't get rid of this, it is indeed a treasure. Have you seen the picture of the vanity on Hometalk a girl painted, it is GORGEOUS! It began looking a bit like this.
    • Grangerite Grangerite on Sep 17, 2014
      I am going to check out vinegar and canola oil. I use vinegar to clean all the time. Keep a spray bottle of straight vinegar in my shower. Spray it down each time and no calcium build up
  • Betty819 Betty819 on Sep 17, 2014
    Please keep us informed what you finally decide to do with it.
  • Betty819 Betty819 on Sep 17, 2014
    The first thing I thought when I saw the posting was "Annie Sloan Paint" to the rescue!
  • Carolyn Hoxton Carolyn Hoxton on Sep 17, 2014
    here is the pic 4 Refinished Antique Vanity in Teal I knew this pretty, little vanity just had to be mine when I found it as part of a bedroom set on Craigslist. She had a few veneer issues, but I knew with a little paint and stain she could be a beauty queen again! You can fiture, I hope....
  • Carolyn Hoxton Carolyn Hoxton on Sep 17, 2014
    I can't seem to get the picture on here, but check out.... Refinished Antique Vanity in Teal on here, it is gorgeous!
    • See 1 previous
    • Bleu Pom Bleu Pom on Sep 17, 2014
      That is breathtaking!! Where can I see more photos?
  • Grangerite Grangerite on Sep 17, 2014
    Take to a specialized wood smith store and they will have products to enhance the wood. Looks like it just needs a good cleaning and a wood restoration product. Linseed oil maybe. I would do light steel wool or light sanding. Think steel wool. Don't paint it until you see how the cleaned up wood turns out.
  • Carrie Barnett Duffner Carrie Barnett Duffner on Sep 17, 2014
    Thank you all for posting!! I got this out of storage because we are redecorating my daughters room and she wanted to get rid of her twin bed. Your feedback has me wanting to save it! Now to figure out if I can restore it or if I'm going to paint.
    • Barbara Barbara on Sep 17, 2014
      @Carrie Barnett Duffner I had a vanity that had veneer problems. I raised it as far as I could with a thin long blade then used wood glue. After applying that I sat a few heavy objects on it and left it for a few days. When I took them off the veneer was glued down very well. I wish you good luck with this beautiful old bed that I would love to use.
  • Patches Patches on Sep 17, 2014
    It is a challenge but I know from first-hand experience it can be done! I used Howard's and 18th century furniture cleaner on some tough spots. After placing it in an area that had more moisture in the air some of the cracks were less noticeable.
  • Pam Longville Pam Longville on Sep 17, 2014
    As a professional antique refinisher and restorer, I just did a bed like this and it turned out like brand new. All the repairs are fairly easy, and the stripping and refinishing is straight forward. Let me know if you want help,mi can walk you through the process.
  • Susie Susie on Sep 17, 2014
    Please don't give up on it! I'm in Pgh area, and could help, I've painted and/or refinished a ton of cast off furniture. If you do decide not to keep it-- I'm close, with a truck, I'll come get it!
  • Amy Amy on Sep 17, 2014
    Make a bed bench. I would love to have this piece!
  • Judy Gray Judy Gray on Sep 17, 2014
    That crack appears to be in the veneer and a corner has popped away. Get a recommendation for a good restorer and have it repaired. I did it once with the help of my expert grandfather, some special glue and clamps.
  • Marilyn Roenneburg Marilyn Roenneburg on Sep 17, 2014
    Veneer issues unfortunately are a hard fix, b/c most veneers are glued on. However I do believe the outer edges are all natural wood, so you could easily restore that, and then for veneer area on the headboard you could always have that area upholstered.
  • Shannon Bickerton Shannon Bickerton on Sep 17, 2014
    I too would love to have this piece. The opportunities are endless! Good luck with it! It really is Gorgeous!!!
  • Sharon La Tour Sharon La Tour on Sep 17, 2014
    repair and some lemon oil or some linseed oil. Oh please don't throw it away!! If you are going to throw it out, let Susie from Rochester PA. have it! :) I think it is beautiful and it can be fixed
  • Tuesday A Tuesday A on Sep 17, 2014
    I've got a bed just like it. It was my Grandparents first bed. I used it in both son's rooms when they outgrew their twins. They have both loved it! I hope you can restore it!
  • Miranda Miranda on Sep 17, 2014
    I would make a trendy bench out of it ...
  • Linda B Linda B on Sep 17, 2014
    Carrie - You have lots of ideas on how to refinish it, so I'll give you a suggestion for what to do with it after you finish it. I would love to have both of those pieces! I have a much older single size head board with heavy scrolling carved on it, that I cleaned up and made a beautiful silk flower arrangement the size of the length of it. I attached the arrangement under the design part of the heard board - across from post to post to fill in the empty space. Then we hung it over our bedroom door that just fit that size of a head board. It hangs on the living room side walking into the bedroom, so everyone can see it. It's gorgeous and have gotten so many compliments. It's so unique. You can do that with both pieces in different places in your home. Just make sure you screw (hook) them into studs on both sides. Don't want it falling on someones head. Have fun and be creative :-) Don't ever throw them away or sell them. They are priceless!
  • Susan Sease Susan Sease on Sep 17, 2014
    It won't be easy, but totally worth saving. Please don't throw it out!
  • Brenda Smith Brenda Smith on Sep 17, 2014
    Some old things' real beauty lies in their imperfection . Focus on cleaning and nourishing the wood and use strong adhesive to stick down the veneer but don't stress about concealing the cracks .
  • Janet koons Janet koons on Sep 17, 2014
    Wow! I LOVE this. Those cracks just add more character. As far as ideas, I have to meditate on everything that I do. Heh. I would like to see it when you are finished. I am battling that covetous spirit right now. Ugh.
  • Jill Jill on Sep 17, 2014
    Yes! It's not really that far gone. The lifted veneer can be glued back down using wood glue, and the cracks can be lightly sanded and filled with wood putty if necessary. If from there staining it would still show the damage, paint it! Any missing things like the runners, can be replaced. Have at it and reclaim your treasure!
  • Barbara Bugin Andrew Barbara Bugin Andrew on Sep 17, 2014
    I reglued veneer with wood glue and clamps. I used my bed set to make a bench. Pinterest is full of ideas.
  • Meburke Meburke on Sep 17, 2014
    Coconut oil..plumps the wood( even if a veneer! )natural can glue it & clamp it down w a vice..try it. SAVE IT @all cost.PRICELESS!
  • Susan Merry Susan Merry on Sep 17, 2014
    I've seen some awesome garden benches made out of bed ends. Just a thought
  • Tina Tina on Sep 17, 2014
    This is what I did with an old headboard for my son's wedding table!
  • Edith Edith on Sep 17, 2014
    Ask Miss Mustard Seed- she'll have great ideas. She may advise you to remove the veneer, but she just sold a bed that she restored that looked very much like yours.
  • Rebecca Platt Rebecca Platt on Sep 17, 2014
    Don't get rid of this.! We had one similar to this that was my husband's grandmothers. We shored it up, sanded it, and it's just beautiful.
  • Marcella Hazelwood Marcella Hazelwood on Sep 17, 2014
    i am with all who whats 2 restore it, but please dont make a bench out of it., keep it as bed, even if u have to only use headboard and hook it up 2 wall. how beautiful it would be and priceless
  • Brenda Young Brenda Young on Sep 17, 2014
    If the main structure isn't warped to badly it can be resurrected with a little work, if the veneer is beyond patch repair, it can be replaced maybe not matched in grain but it could be painted. Or you could keep it's weathered charm as well spruce it up with some oil, or go for the chippy flaked look, all depends on the look you are going for really.
  • Ruth Wolery Ruth Wolery on Sep 18, 2014
    @Carrie, I love your bed pieces. I feel chalk paint that I saw on Pinterest would show off the beautiful designs. From Ruth Barnett Wolery
  • Jacki Nino Jacki Nino on Sep 18, 2014
    Totally worth saving,a lot of patience & TLC,it will take time but do-able
  • Lisa Cuddy Lisa Cuddy on Sep 18, 2014
    If you thow it out, throw it to me! It's beautiful! DON'T paint it, or make a bench out of it! You can restore it with Formby's restorer. Or use coconut oil as suggested above. Reglue the veneer as necessary. What's wrong with using it as a bed.? Maybe in a spare room if you're lucky enough to,have one. If you must repurpose it I might try topping a shelf unit , or even the top of a dresser. It's a lovely old piece and must have been important to someone at one time. Best of luck and please show us your results. I am intrigued by this piece and can't wait to see it's next life.
  • Bev Deardurff Bev Deardurff on Sep 18, 2014
    It's difficult to tell exactly what shape it is in by the photos. Personally, I'd restore it the best that you can DIY. Talk to a restorer Use it as a bed. I restored an old " desk " that was attached to a wall in an old house we lived in. When I turned it over the underside had white paint can rings on it and an advertisment! Never thought I'd find that on an antique piece. It's carpenter used whatever materials he had around. It has claw feet on it. Funny. Good luck.
  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Sep 20, 2014
    It's a beautiful piece. Don't get rid of it.
  • Jean Kiehl Kloska Jean Kiehl Kloska on Sep 20, 2014
    Meburke , above, offered a coconut oil idea. I've never tried that, but wanted to share that glue and oil do not make for good adhesion....unless you glue first, oil last.
  • Meliss Etner Meliss Etner on Sep 21, 2014
    All the cracks lifting flaking do not send it to the junkyard unless you do not want the sweat equity that it needs. Having said that, makes for great yard art. Still it's wood and should be preserved either way. Also you don't have to keep head and foot together. I have a very decorative headboard that now sits in the guest bath w/glass knobs to hang towel. For the foot board I'm thinking master bedroom w/knobs and hooks for jewelry and hats or scarves. Good luck and happy pinterest-ing for more ideas.
  • Saundra K Saundra K on Sep 21, 2014
    I purposely purchased an old bed, headboard and footboard, similar to these, did a little patching and repair, used some artistry in the grey/taupe/cream/silver combination, and created a stunning headboard. You have an antique GEM! I'd hate to see it wasted on an outside bench when it has so much potential. I took the footboard, cut off the lower posts, then created a matching wall décor, painted, added wood baroque embellisments for interest, some nice hooks at the bottom for hanging hats and whatnots in the guest room. Then I did the entire room in antiques of the same color combinations, painted the room to match, and changed out décor. The headboard and footboard became the INSPIRATION PIECES. Just 'sayin'.
  • Carolyn Hoxton Carolyn Hoxton on Sep 22, 2014
    Carrie, we will all be looking forward to seeing what you do with this bed! Please let us all know, and post pictures! Ok! Thanks.
  • Cori Warner Cori Warner on Sep 22, 2014
    I think it is still more than usable, just needs a little love! I'm a paint fan, and ooooh, I want to see it painted!
  • Susan Dillard Susan Dillard on Sep 23, 2014
    RESTORE!! If you have a queen sized bed, use the head board as the head board. Take the foot board, attach upside down or right side up over the head of your bed (from ceiling? O attached to wall?) as a Valance. Hang sheers if you like from the back of the foot board for a softer look or from the sides to highlight. It is beautiful, It just needs a little TLC. It will be a focal point for all to see. It has wonderful details. By the way, if you decide to get rid of it, I will send you my address and pay for shipping
  • Linda Weeks Linda Weeks on Sep 23, 2014
    Yeah, it all depends on how much work you feel like investing in it. You might remove the broken veneer, or use glue to adhere it to its backing... but it obviously was beautiful at one time, I hate to see things like this thrown away!
  • Carolyn Hoxton Carolyn Hoxton on Sep 24, 2014
    I would bet the easiest way would be to paint it, really
  • Kym Kym on Oct 05, 2014
    Chalk Paint! Have you looked it up yet? You will find AMAZING examples of what it can do!
  • Carolyn Hoxton Carolyn Hoxton on Oct 11, 2014
    I was hoping to see a new picture...where is it?
  • Nancy Watson Nancy Watson on Oct 11, 2014
    Murphy's oil soap to clean,then rub tung oil all over with a sock on your hand.sparkles!
  • Zana Home Spun Crafts Zana Home Spun Crafts on Oct 11, 2014
    You can fix most of the veneer with an iron,painting out and antique it or clear coat it . I would use the head board for the back of a bench ,and the footboard for a coat rack.Beautiful piece
  • Judy Capone Mantell Judy Capone Mantell on Oct 12, 2014
    It is beautiful! Do save it. Zana is right. You might take it to a restorer and pick his brain if it is too expensive. Check these sites out:
  • Angel w/ Attitude Angel w/ Attitude on Oct 13, 2014
    So beautiful, please try to restore, what do you have to loose. We are all cheering you on. Think outside of the box! 😉
  • Angel w/ Attitude Angel w/ Attitude on Oct 13, 2014
    I have a crazy idea, turn these pieces into a vanity for a bathroom...😃
  • Marcella Hazelwood Marcella Hazelwood on Oct 15, 2014
    everyone has such great ideas, but me, personally, thinks it needs tlc and to be a bed again. i can so see this beautiful bed in a room covered in an erray of lucious bedspreads and quilts and cotton crochet bed skirt to match....can u c it now
  • Jackie Jackie on Oct 18, 2014
    It's beautiful!
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Oct 18, 2014
    I believe so. It is a stunning bed. I don't think you can save the original finish. It will take a lot of work. And if your willing to do the work. You can save it. It looks like the missing veneer is at the bottom. I would take it off. If the veneer wasn't missing any place else unless it is buckled I wouldn't remove it. If it is buy a heat gun and start stripping. To me it looks like the vanish has gotten hot and crackled. It would make a great bed to shabby.
  • Amy Amy on Oct 19, 2014
    Make a bed bench, but then again try to restore it.
  • Carol Tomlin Carol Tomlin on Oct 20, 2014
    Too beautiful to toss out. Bed or vanity - Take your time it will be worth it !
  • Betty Baker Betty Baker on Oct 20, 2014
    if you tho
  • Betty Baker Betty Baker on Oct 20, 2014
    try restoring it first..lots of videos on youtube to help
  • Glenda Glenda on Mar 04, 2015
    Sure hope you saved this. It just makes me sick to think of it thrown in the trash. I'll take it if you don't want it!
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Mar 05, 2015
    I only buy really junky furniture I can get older, nice pieces that way. But everything has to be torn apart and put back together. If I can do it anyone can! If you need help let me know! It is a beautiful piece!
  • Karen Reilly Karen Reilly on Aug 21, 2015
    At first when you look at it you think what a project but if it were mine and I had the skills I would rob the nice parts from it. Like the legs all the trim and the thing on the front that is to cool and you could frame and make a wall hanging or cut it so it is a table. How about this cut out the tulip thing and use one for the top of a table and the other for a bottom shelf on a table. The legs could be used for legs and the the leftovers could be used for other projects.
  • Denise Denise on Aug 21, 2015
  • KG In CA KG In CA on Aug 25, 2015
    Well, the original post is quite old, but I would at least use the foot board for a wall shelf - all the shelf and a few hooks below. Wipe it down with Restor-a-finish by Howard to make it look better.
  • Annie Annie on Oct 04, 2015
    This would really be a knockout when refinished. I hope you don't cut it up.Yes, chalk paint. And the details, when touched up, will really stand out. Who needs another wall hanging? This bed is a queen!!!
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Feb 06, 2016
    Oh no, keep this beauty. Glue, nail, brace up whatever you have to and then oil it! Seriously. A dark oil will bring out the beauty in the wood and hide some of the flaws. Embrace it and use it. What a gorgeous find. Just look at the inlay! :)
  • Sandy Sandy on Feb 06, 2016
    I absolutely weep at the thought of anyone destroying this bed for parts! If it took me years, I'd redo this baby to its former glory and love doing it every minute! It'd be like shooting an ancestor--lol...not on my watch! But that's just how I roll.
  • Stacy Stacy on Jul 05, 2022

    Oh! It's so beautiful! Give it a try! What do you have to lose? You could sand, clean, paint, distress and seal your bed frame; that would be lovely! If it's cracked there are wood glues that you can fill the cracked clamp them until dry and sand. There are so many talented DIY people out there. Take a look through YouTube or some of the wonderful blogs out there. I would make a bench if it was mine.😊 Blessings, Stacy

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Aug 19, 2023

    You could ask for a price to restore from a Furniture Restorer. If too expensive you could look into whether you have Insurance. Failing that you could wipe it over with Bees Wax to see if that would be enough. You could stick down the Veneer and maybe replace any missing (try a Craft Store) for supplies. Buy a book on Furniture Restoration!