How to Ship Antique Furniture

Rochdi Rais Rochdi Rais · Updated May 31, 2023

Shipping antique furniture requires extra care and attention to ensure its preservation and protection during transit. Proper packaging and handling techniques are essential for relocating, selling, or gifting precious antique pieces. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps of shipping antique furniture, from preparation to delivery.

Following these guidelines, you will learn how to ship furniture, safeguard your valuable antiques, and maintain their historical and sentimental value.

Assessing and Preparing Your Antique Furniture

Before shipping your antique furniture, it’s crucial to assess its condition, identify vulnerable areas, and prepare it for transportation. Follow these steps to ensure proper preparation:

  1. Evaluate the Condition: Thoroughly inspect your antique furniture for any existing damage, loose parts, or weak joints. Document the current state of the furniture through photographs or written descriptions.
  2. Stabilize Loose Elements: If you notice any loose elements, such as knobs, handles, or ornaments, secure them properly. Use gentle adhesives or remove and pack them separately to prevent further damage during transit.
  3. Disassemble with Care: If possible, Disassemble larger antique furniture pieces into smaller components. This makes packaging easier and reduces the risk of damage during transportation. Ensure that you carefully label and organize all disassembled parts for reassembly later.
  4. Clean and Dust: Clean your antique furniture before shipping to remove dirt, dust, or debris. Use appropriate cleaning techniques suitable for each piece’s specific material and finish. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that may damage the antique’s surface.
  5. Apply Protective Measures: Prioritize protecting vulnerable areas of your antique furniture. Use archival-quality wrapping materials, such as acid-free tissue paper or bubble wrap, to cover delicate surfaces, carvings, or upholstery. Secure them in place with non-abrasive tape.

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Choosing the Right Packaging Materials

Appropriate packaging materials are crucial to safeguard your antique furniture during transit. Follow these guidelines to ensure adequate protection:

  1. Strong Boxes or Crates: Use sturdy, double-walled boxes or custom-built wooden crates to house your antique furniture. Ensure they are of appropriate size, allowing sufficient space for padding materials while minimizing movement inside the container.
  2. Padding and Cushioning: Wrap each component of your antique furniture individually with suitable padding materials. Use bubble wrap, foam sheets, or furniture blankets to provide cushioning and protect against impact. Pay extra attention to fragile areas or intricate details.
  3. Secure Internal Support: For larger pieces, consider using internal supports such as foam blocks or custom-made cushioning to maintain stability and prevent shifting during transportation. This helps distribute the weight evenly and minimizes the risk of damage.
  4. Corner and Edge Protection: Apply corner protectors or edge guards to shield vulnerable corners and edges from impact or potential dents. These protective elements can be found in packaging supply stores or ordered online.
  5. Seal and Label: Once your antique furniture is securely packed, seal the boxes or crates with strong packing tape. Clearly label each package with essential information, including the contents, handling instructions, and destination address. This ensures proper handling and identification throughout the shipping process.

Choosing a Reliable Shipping Method and Provider

Selecting a reliable shipping method and provider is crucial to ensure the safe transportation of your antique furniture. Consider the following factors when making your decision:

  1. Research Shipping Options: Investigate different shipping methods available for transporting antique furniture, such as specialized antique furniture shippers, white-glove services, or freight carriers. Compare their services, reputation, and experience in handling valuable and delicate items.
  2. Insurance Coverage: Inquire about insurance options shipping providers offer to protect your antique furniture against loss or damage during transit. Review the coverage limits, exclusions, and any additional costs associated with insurance.
  3. Tracking and Delivery Confirmation: Choose a shipping provider that provides tracking services and delivery confirmation. This allows you to monitor the progress of your shipment and ensures accountability throughout the transportation process.
  4. Expertise in Handling Antiques: Look for shipping providers with experience handling antique furniture. They should have the necessary expertise, knowledge, and equipment to handle fragile and valuable items carefully.
  5. Packaging Requirements: Confirm with the shipping provider their packaging requirements and guidelines. Ensure your packaging meets their specifications and complies with applicable regulations or restrictions.

Documenting and Insuring Your Antique Furniture

Documenting and ensuring your antique furniture is essential to protect its value and ensure appropriate compensation in case of loss or damage. Follow these steps to safeguard your investment:

  1. Inventory and Documentation: Create a detailed inventory of your antique furniture, including descriptions, photographs, and historical or provenance information. This documentation serves as evidence of the item’s condition before shipping.
  2. Appraisals and Valuations: Obtain professional appraisals or valuations for your antique furniture. These documents establish your pieces’ monetary value and authenticity, providing vital information for insurance purposes.
  3. Insurance Coverage: Consult with your insurance provider to ensure your antique furniture is adequately covered during transit. Review your policy’s terms, coverage limits, and exclusions. Consider purchasing additional insurance if necessary.
  4. Shipping Documentation: Retain copies of all shipping-related documents, including invoices, receipts, contracts, and tracking numbers. These records serve as proof of shipment, value, and agreement with the shipping provider.
  5. Communication with the Shipping Provider: Maintain open communication with the shipping provider throughout the shipping process. Notify them of any specific requirements or concerns regarding your antique furniture to ensure proper handling and care.

Securing Fragile Components and Special Considerations

When shipping antique furniture, it’s important to pay special attention to fragile components and consider any unique considerations. Follow these guidelines to ensure their secure transportation:

  1. Glass and Mirrors: If your antique furniture includes glass or mirrors, take extra precautions to protect them. Apply masking tape in a crisscross pattern across the surface to help prevent shattering. Consider using cardboard or foam board to cover the glass or mirror and provide additional cushioning.
  2. Upholstered Furniture: Clean and vacuum the fabric before shipping for upholstered antique furniture. Use fabric protectors to guard against spills or stains during transit. If possible, remove any detachable cushions or covers and pack them separately.
  3. Fragile Finishes: Some antique furniture may have delicate or vulnerable finishes, such as gilt, lacquer, or veneer. Apply a layer of protective wax or specialized preservation products to safeguard these finishes during transportation. Use caution when handling and packing to avoid scratches or chipping.
  4. Climate Control: Consider the impact of temperature and humidity during transit, especially if shipping long distances or across different climates. Extreme temperatures or moisture levels can damage antique furniture. Use climate-controlled shipping options to maintain a stable environment for your pieces if necessary.
  5. Protruding Elements: Take note of any protruding elements on your antique furniture, such as ornamental details, handles, or knobs. Protect them by wrapping them with bubble wrap or foam padding. Secure these elements to prevent them from moving or getting damaged during transportation.

Professional Assistance and Fine Art Handlers

In some cases, it may be beneficial to seek professional assistance or engage the services of specialized fine art handlers when shipping antique furniture. Consider the following scenarios:

  1. Fragile or High-Value Antiques: If you have extremely fragile or high-value antique furniture, it’s advisable to consult with professional fine art handlers. These experts have extensive experience and knowledge in handling delicate and valuable items, ensuring the utmost care and protection during transit.
  2. Custom Crating and Packaging: Fine art handlers can provide customized crating and packaging solutions tailored to your antique furniture. They can access high-quality materials and techniques to offer maximum protection during transportation.
  3. Art Logistics Services: Art logistics companies transport valuable and delicate items, including antique furniture. They offer comprehensive services that encompass packing, crating, shipping, insurance, and even installation at the destination. This option provides higher expertise and convenience for shipping your antiques.
  4. Insurance Coverage and Peace of Mind: Fine art handlers typically offer additional insurance coverage options tailored explicitly to the value and fragility of your antique furniture. This ensures that your pieces are protected against potential loss or damage during transit.
  5. International Shipping: If you ship antique furniture internationally, navigating customs regulations and documentation can be complex. Fine art handlers have experience in handling international shipments and can assist with the necessary paperwork and compliance, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free process.


What is the cheapest way to transport a pet?

Typically, ground transport is the cheapest way to transport a pet.  Longer trips using a transportation service, like CitizenShipper, typically average around $1.00 per mile.  Using a pet transportation service ensures your pet arrives in your new location safely, while minimizing stress and overall cost. 

How much does it cost to ship a pet internationally? 

While shipping your pet domestically is a relatively straightforward process, international shipping can be more complicated.  Hiring a pet transport service to help with international logistics can save a tremendous amount of stress and time.  

Each country of arrival will have specific regulations regarding pet health checks, necessary vaccination, and possible quarantine requirements.  The cost to ship a pet internationally can vary, especially if you need to board your pet for an extended quarantine. 

How much does it cost to transport cats?

The cost to transport cats will vary depending on the transport method.  Cats can be transported via ground or air transit, and are often small enough to be considered a “carry on” item.  Transporting a cat can cost as little as $25 on Amtrak, or as much as $125 to fly in the main cabin of an airplane.

How much does it cost to travel with a small pet?

Traveling with a small pet, compared to a large pet, is much cheaper.  Smaller pets can fit under the seat in front of you and can often qualify as a “carry on” item.  Traveling with small pets on Amtrak can cost $25, while airlines can charge around $125.  Keep in mind certain companies will only allow cats and dogs to travel.  

What does it cost to ship a puppy?

While puppies are small enough to fly in most airline cabins, they can incur additional costs.  Puppies generally require more attention, and therefore can be more expensive than shipping an adult dog or cat.  

Many breeders will utilize an air nanny service to accompany your puppy.  If the air nanny is experienced, or a regular, certain airlines may provide discounted rates or waive certain fees.  Breeders regularly ship puppies to their new homes and are well-versed in arranging transportation.  


Shipping antique furniture requires meticulous preparation, careful packaging, and the selection of a reliable shipping method. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure the safe transportation of your valuable antique pieces.

Remember to assess and prepare your furniture, choose appropriate packaging materials, select a reputable shipping provider, and adequately document and insure your items. With these measures in place, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your antique furniture will arrive at its destination in excellent condition, preserving its historical and sentimental value for generations to come.