Just as you can consider your home or vehicle as long-term investments, so too is your furniture. After all, a good piece of furniture can have a useful life of decades and even become an heirloom, used across generations. For this reason, high-quality furniture doesn’t come cheap.
When you buy quality furniture, you get what you pay for and this can often mean a high initial cost that pays for itself over the years. However, too many people today do not take proper care of their furniture and find that it wears out long before it should.
Here are a few tips that will help you extend the life of your furniture, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in new pieces over the years:
Buy Timeless Furniture
One of the simplest ways to ensure that your furniture lasts for many years is to get furniture that has a timeless style to it. While it’s easy to simply get cheap furniture that follows some kind of new trend, ultimately it will go out of style and you’ll be desperate to get rid of it – that is, if it doesn’t break first. Head to a manufacturer such as Paul Schatz to look for furniture that won’t ever go out of style.
Avoid Extreme Conditions
Extreme heat, extreme cold, extreme dryness, extreme humidity – all of it is bad for furniture. Wood and leather can dry out, or swell up, or otherwise become warped and damaged by these conditions.
One of the first things you should do to help ensure the life of your furniture is to make sure the heating and cooling in your home are doing its job. During the summer, regularly using the AC can dry out the air, so invest in a humidifier to protect your furniture and your own comfort at the same time. During winter, make sure your home is properly insulated so that the temperature never drops too low, even when you are not home.
Keep Pets Off the Furniture
Animals are among the top causes of undue wear and tear on furniture. The lovely leather upholstery on your new couch can quickly be ruined by a mischievous cat looking for an improvised scratching post.
Similarly, an overzealous dog can easily chew up a beloved old chair. We’re not asking you to get rid of your pets, and there’s no way to stop cats from needing to scratch and dogs from wanting to chew, so what do you do?
First and foremost, make sure the animals are properly trained to learn that the furniture is off limits. While it’s tempting to allow Fido to nap on the sofa whenever he wants, over time even the gentlest dog will damage the upholstery. So, train animals to avoid quality furniture or, if you must, cover a certain part of the sofa or chair with a blanket and try to teach them to remain there.
You should also furnish your pets with something to satisfy their need to play without harming the furniture; for example, make sure your cat has a scratching post and your dog has plenty of chew toys.
Don’t Eat on the Furniture
This one may seem simple, but many people like to eat dinner from the comfort of their couch or easy chair. While that can be a pleasant way to spend an evening, eventually spills will occur and, either through stains or cleaning, will damage your furniture and reduce its useful life. Avoid this by simply avoiding food on the couch or recliner.
Eat dinner at the dinner table, and when you want to have a relaxing evening, try eating outside at a picnic table or other area that’s easy to clean.
If you do find that you really want to enjoy a dinner in front of the television, that’s fine every once in a while. Just have a few cheap fold out tables you can break out for the occasion and keep the food off of the quality furniture!
Regularly Clean and Maintain Your Furniture
As with any valuable piece of property, furniture needs regular care and upkeep. Don’t let your furniture pieces go too long without being cleaned; keeping them polished and looking new will go a long way toward extending the lifespan of your furniture.
Regularly vacuum chairs, sofas, recliners, and other large pieces of dust and crumbs. Make sure you get under the cushions! Do this at least weekly for maximum results.
Keep leather upholstery in good condition with a product specifically designed for cleaning leather; also regularly polish wooden furniture. Make sure to apply wood care products in the same direction as the wood grain, never against it.
Besides simply cleaning, you’ll also occasionally want to go in for larger maintenance work. For example, the scratches, peeling, and cracks that inevitably develop in leather upholstery can be fixed by a leather repair service – as long as you get to them before the problem gets too bad!
Protect Your Furniture From the Sun
The ultraviolet rays of the sun can absolutely devastate wood, leather, and other upholstery over the years. One relatively easy way to extend the life of your furniture is simply to keep it out of the sun. The challenge is doing this without keeping yourself out of the sun; after all, you want some light in your living room!
Since you don’t want to avoid sunlight in the house entirely, you’ll have to try a few different tricks. Sealing your furniture with something that can protect it from the sun will help a lot; with wooden furniture, occasional coats of varnish should do the trick. Leather can be conditioned but will eventually dry out and crack with too much sun exposure. Try to position leather sofas in areas with a little more shade. If you really want a couch in a sunny area, consider alternative materials. Polyester and acrylic, for example, do a lot better in the sunlight than leather does.
Contact Your Furniture Supplier for Further Questions
The best way to care for your furniture depends on the type of furniture you have. Different materials require different kinds of care. Whenever possible, turn to your furniture supplier for the best advice on the care of your particular type of furniture.