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Making The Most Of Your Heirlooms

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by Scarlett
(Houston,Texas, US)

Very often, when an elderly relative passes away, they leave a will instructing the division of their property and worldly goods. This usually includes the ownership of their home, bank accounts, shares, and other such assets.

But at the same time, there is often an unwritten will, meaning that a person will also leave behind other objects, such as antique vases, paintings, jewelry, and other items that may not be worth much monetarily but carry a high sentimental value. These are the things that you take with you when you clear out the home of the deceased.

Many of these items are old-fashioned and you may not feel comfortable with putting them in your living room. On the other hand, you don’t want to throw them out or give them away because they are sentimental reminders of the person who once owned them, or maybe they represent your childhood memories. So what do you do?

There are several options, depending on how these items look. For example, if it is a vase that is in a neutral color, you could either put it next to your fireplace, or you could use it as a centerpiece on yourdining room table.

If you really don’t like the color, but it is a good quality piece that has a beautiful shape, you could paint it or varnish it, or you could buy a tablecloth that either blends with it or contrasts with it, toning it down.

Don’t write off old silverware before polishing it up properly. Sometimes it is worth working very hard to polish old silver or even nickel candlesticks to reveal a beautiful work of art underneath the tarnish.

After your hard work, you may well find that you will really like them and once again they can form a beautiful centerpiece to your breakfront.

The same goes for antique furniture. Aunty Rosemary’s coffee table may look rather hideous at first, but a touch of varnish and a nice tablecloth will make all the difference.

Invest in a new area rug to put under it, such as floral rugs, or anoriental area rug to go with Japanese furniture or an antique oriental vase, and the old and new décor should look very good together.

Thick brocade curtains that have faded but could still be used for a long time can be washed and dyed. Many such items are of a high quality that you would not find today, and no one would ever know that they looked any different.

Remember, of course, that if you have inherited or acquired a lot of old furniture or ornaments, you should not overfill the room with them otherwise the room will start to resemble a junkyard rather than a living room.

Also learn to recognize the difference between good-quality furniture that is a little old and worn and old sticks of furniture that really is useless.

You are also under no obligation to keep ornaments that will never look good even when they have been cleaned, polished, re-varnished, or rehung.

Never write off your family heirlooms before you have explored their potential. Underneath the dirt and dust, there could still be a lot of good use. Enjoy them.

Your friends may well admire them as many such items are no longer easy to come by and will make your home look unique.

Updated: February 10, 2016 — 4:09 am

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