Antique baskets are not only beautifully decorative



they instantly add texture and warmth to your home



and garden.






Not just a pretty face, they are hard-working, multi-taskers that are just as practical




today as when they were first woven.






I use antique baskets all over our home and garden at FrenchGardenHouse.




Mr. FGH thinks I’ve never met an antique basket I didn’t love



and he’s right!






In this post I’ll share a little of their history




and also how to care for and clean antique baskets.







The weaving of baskets is as old as the history of humans, traces of baskets have been dated to 10,000 – 12,000 years old, found in upper Egypt. As soon as men and women figured out how to weave fibers together, they began making early forms of baskets.

During the Industrial Revolution in the 1800’s, baskets were used in factories and for packing and deliveries. Thousands of baskets were made for the war effort during both World Wars. Baskets were specially made to carry shell cases, for dropping supplies and ammunition to troops, for transporting messenger pigeons.

Until paper and plastic bags were invented, baskets in all sizes and shapes were a necessary item for every household.


Baskets often reflected in form and design what they were intended to be used for. For example, “egg” baskets were created so that the eggs placed inside were evenly distributed so the weight of the eggs on top of each other wouldn’t break the bottom ones. For many rural families, basket making was a way to bring in needed extra money, for some, farming became secondary because by making baskets they earned more. After WWII, basket making in Western countries changed over to more of a hobby.




A basket collection helps connect us to people long ago, talented artisans who worked with their hands. That is the beauty of baskets, each one is a one-of-a-kind creation.

There are so many types of antique baskets!  As with everything, collect what you love! You can choose to collect utilitarian or decorative baskets, {I think all baskets are decorative!} plain, painted, round, small or large.  I tend to fall in love with the more French Country simple baskets, but there are plenty of “fancy” baskets you could collect.


You can expect to pay a premium for perfect, unusual size or shaped baskets, a true antique basket will range from 100.00 and up to thousands for rare and exceptional ones. Baskets with their original paint are highly prized by collectors, and will therefore cost more.

Most can and should still do duty as storage, or to carry things from one place to another. If you have a very expensive basket, or one that you absolutely adore, display it as a work of art. Be sure to add your antique basket collection to your home insurance, too!






Antique baskets are valued for their condition and patina, so preserving them is important.

1. Keep them clean. {see below.}

2. If you live in a very dry home {heater, air conditioning} mist around your basket once in a while to restore a little humidity. But don’t get your baskets “wet.”

3. Handle your baskets gently.  The handles and rims should be treated with care. Try not to pick up an antique basket by the handle only, unless it is very sturdy and of the “workhorse” variety.

4. Avoid direct sunlight, it will make your basket brittle and fragile.

5. Please don’t varnish your old baskets, this completely destroys their value and makes them brittle.







I advise using an artist brush to gently brush dust off your baskets.  It will be able to dust away debris in the weave, but is soft enough not to do damage.

Another tip is to put netting or an old nylon stocking over the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner and vacuum gently.

Please do not wet or soak your antique basket!  Yes, basketmakers soak the materials before they weave them, but soaking your antique basket in water or getting it overly wet can make parts loosen and swell out of shape.  You can also remove the patina, which will not only make your basket less valuable, it won’t be as beautiful, either.





Antique baskets add so much charm to your French Country home!




à bientôt


If you want to romance your Home and Garden with antique and vintage treasures to make you smile each time you come home, visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.