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Buying & selling

Preloved’s Definition of Restoration

With over 13,000 classic cars and over 12,000 pieces of antique furniture and period collectables advertised for sale on Preloved, there are heaps of opportunities to find a tired period item and either add value to it, or turn it into a beautiful belonging for you to enjoy. We and the Preloved community are big fans of recycling and upcycling, but sometimes repurposing a period item isn’t the right answer…

What is restoration in the eyes of Preloved?

The definition of restore is to bring an object back to its original condition, place or position. So unlike upcycling where an object is repurposed like this coffee table that has been upcycled into a tortoise table, or finished off in a new look like this painted Windsor chair, restoration is all about returning an item to it’s former glory! With a whole host of different possessions able to be restored, the art of restoration comes in many forms…

Please note, if you believe your item has antique value, always consult an expert before trying any of the below. It may be more cost effective to have your item restored by an expert.

antique furniture in a living room


Older soft furnishings and fabric furniture like sofas and armchairs can be repaired or reupholstered. When it comes to antique items, you should consider recovering the furniture in fabric or leather the same as, or close to, the original fabric. This will help ensure your item holds its former appearance, and therefore maintain it’s antique appeal and value. Refurbishing may also include replacing chair springs, furniture stuffing and fastening features, and repairing any structural faults or weaknesses.


One of the most popular ways to revive a older piece of wooden furniture is to sand it down and paint it a modern colour. However, restoring the furniture to its original state can be much more effective, and it can ensure your antique items hold their value. To remove old finish from a piece of furniture you can strip it with specially made chemical mixtures, but this can be very messy and time consuming. There are much easier ways refinish furniture, some of which you can do by avoiding to sand anything! Or failing that, it can cost as little £20 to get a piece of furniture stripped by a professional, leaving you to work your restoration magic from a blank slate.


It is estimated that 25% of the electricals that go to landfill could be re-used – that’s worth around £200m worth of electrical equipment a year! When browsing around Preloved looking for antique electrical equipment, don’t be put off items that are advertised as broken. Ask the seller what the problems are, do a little research, and you might be surprised by what you could mend yourself!

antique telephone


It’s not only household items you can find on Preloved to restore, but property too! Whether you are up for an adventure in South America, or simply looking to renovate a house in your local area, have a look through our hundreds of properties for sale – who knows what dream home you might find! If you have just embarked on a renovation project and are looking to cut costs where possible, then don’t leave without visiting our home improvement category where you’ll find lots of handy second hand equipment and materials. Also, for the trickier stages in your restoration journey, check out our trades and services section to find skilled workmen for when you need them most.


Don’t let a lose button or two put you off picking up some fabulous vintage clothing. With over 40,000 advert listings for second hand clothing, jewelry and footwear, you are bound to find the perfect outfit for any classy occasion…even one in need of a little TLC and alteration. Love Your Clothes have given us some handy tips on increasing the lifespan of your clothes, so any older items you pick up can be given a new lease of life!

two ladies wearing vintage style dresses


Now, let’s face it, most of the above are actually just fancy words for repair…but here I refer to motoring in particular. Most classic vehicles in need of restoration will require some form of repair, whether that’s parts that need replacing, rust that needs removing, chairs that need recovering, or body work that needs refinishing. Whatever condition a car is when you get your hands on it, committing to a classic car may not make you lots of money, but you will be sure to get a fine motoring beauty to be proud of at the end of your hard work!

Join us on Restoration Day!

So there you have it! I hope I have given you some inspiration to kick start your restoration journey with us. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to make sure you are kept up to date with all the exciting activities and articles we have upcoming for the UK’s first ever Restoration Day on 22nd August!

If you have any hints and tips, or restoration stories you’d like to share with us, then simply get in touch over Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #reloved – we can’t wait to hear from you!


Justine Dench

Justine Dench

Creative Editor

Justine Dench is the creative editor for Preloved. Her key personal interests include sustainability, conservation and animal welfare. Justine also has interests in photography, music, gardening and home interiors.