Time For a Spring Clean: Subscribe to Our Newsletter!

If you aren’t officially a customer of ours, then you most likely don’t get our quarterly newsletters sent to your inbox. That’s why we have decided to use our latest blog post to keep any non-subscribers in the loop and publish our Time For a Spring Clean newsletter right here. If you enjoy informative as well as fun readings (such as the following), be sure to subscribe to the Rustic Elements Furniture newsletter by clicking HERE!

As the time approaches for spring cleaning, we thought there’s no better time than now to send a few tips on how to care for your furniture and a few steps to freshen up any existing pieces or perhaps even add new. Keep reading to find out what to do and what’s new with our furniture.
This newsletter is in three parts. The first is a quick reminder about monitoring humidity levels as the weather warms and changes. The second explores how to freshen up existing furniture by giving it a shine that brings new life, and finally, we’ll look at adding and incorporating potential new pieces. We’ll keep it brief, so keep up!

To start, we caution all of our customers about humidity. You can have the finest quality of wood, but if your humidity is not monitored, especially in the Chicagoland area, problems can arise. Thus, we’ve made a list of the top tips/factors to keep in mind when it comes to your wood furniture.
* Wood is a hygroscopic species which means its expanding and contracting is dependent on the moisture levels in the air. This goes for all the wood in your home.
* Different wood species react differently to moisture, and even sealed hardwoods will gain/lose moisture, but at slower rates than unsealed wood.
* Ideal humidity levels are kept at 50%. However, we consider the “safe” range to be between 40%-60%. This lessens the chances of table fluctuations, but is not an absolute guarantee.
* Avoid rapid temperature/humidity changes as this makes wood more susceptible to cracking.
* Simple ways to monitor your humidity is by purchasing a humidity monitor, aka “hygrometer.” If experiencing too high humidity, purchase a dehumidifier, but if you have too low humidity, purchase a humidifier.

Over time, furniture wears with use. Our tables and furniture are coated with a very high quality finish which does not require much care, however, the occasional “polish” never hurts.
* When it comes to our furniture, daily cleaning is simple. You can use anything ranging from dish detergent/warm water, warm water/vinegar, 409, and most household cleaners since these products are already diluted. Just be sure to wipe down the entire table including sides, legs, or pedestal to get rid of any dust or unnoticed dirt accumulated over time. For hard-to-reach places, a soft-bristle toothbrush should do the trick. Simply put, the goal when cleaning is to not introduce any concentrated chemicals or contaminants.
* In general, wood furniture should be dusted once a week. This prevents dust from building up and creating layers that can scratch the surface of your furniture. To provide the best dust job, use a dampened terry, cotton, or treated cloth.
* The use of most waxes, Old English, Pledge, etc. is NOT recommended. Using these products can have the following effects: contaminates the finish and thus makes refinishing difficult, softens finish over time (especially with concentrated cleaners), and finally, attracts dust which can lead to scratching.
* For minor damage, touch-up pens/markers can help blend blemishes such as chips or where the finish has worn off. Additionally, these fixes can help reseal wood.
* What you MUST absolutely AVOID when cleaning is scrubbing pads, Magic Erasers, etc. These products act a low-grit sandpaper. Enough said.
* This does not apply to our furniture, but if you have older solid wood furniture pieces throughout your home, likely it is best to re-oil roughly every six months. Be sure to avoid silicone-based products as they simply build-up on your furniture. Applying oil will help prevent drying.

Research backs this up, but it seems the whole “out with the old, in with the new” is more true during the spring months. Perhaps it’s the influence of cabin fever and looking at the same pieces endlessly for months at a time. Whatever the case may be, we’ve found many customers often question how to mix their old pieces with the new. We’ve got a blog delving deeper into this topic, but for the sake of accessibility, we selected what we believe to be the most important and helpful bits.
* Samples: Shopping with samples, parts of existing pieces or with pictures of your furniture, is more reliable than going off of memory and what you THINK. You’ll save yourself a headache or two.
* Undertone: Look for the same color temperature or undertone. Warm undertones include yellow, orange, and red, while cool undertones include gray or beige.
* Avoid Matchy-Matchy: Mixing complementary tones usually provides a better end result. If you try to match completely different products, likely it will end up looking like a mistake. A variety of wood finishes that complement one another will look cohesive and intentional instead of an “oops!”
* Unify Pieces: A furniture piece with multiple tones, containing a variety of tones in your room, helps tie all the colors together.
* Other Surfaces: Tossing in other surfaces such as glass, metal, painted or whitewashed wood can help break up wood variation, making for an interesting room.

While you work out cabin and spring cleaning fever, we hope to have aided you in ensuring long life for your furniture, giving it back that shine, and helped you avoid a few headaches on what pieces to add next.

Until next time, happy spring!

-REF Team

In an effort to keep with the ever changing world of design, we introduce a few new pedestal designs each year. If we’ve got you curious, click to see our latest.

New Designs

We offer much more than tables. Select the link below to browse our other showroom furniture. Snag some inspiration along the way while planning your next update!

Showroom Pieces

We cover topics ranging from caring for wood furniture and monitoring humidity levels to how we run an eco-friendly shop. Click to learn and read more!

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