Protect Your Investment: 8 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Furniture

Let’s face it: Furniture is one of the most expensive things you’ll put into your home. In fact, Americans will spend $122 billion a year on furniture by 2020. To limit the amount of money you spend on furniture, you have to get the most out of the pieces you already own. That requires the proper know-how — understanding how to clean different types of fabric and wood, for example — some simple household tools and a little bit of elbow grease. Here are some of the simplest things you can do to protect your furniture investment for the long-haul.

  1. Get on a Regular Cleaning Schedule — Regular cleaning should be at the top of your maintenance plan. Do some research to figure out exactly how and when to clean your furniture. For example, upholstered furniture should be professionally cleaned once a year — more often if you have kids or pets. In the interim, you should regularly vacuum upholstered furniture and always address spills immediately. Wood furniture can be cleaned once a month or so using a cleaner that’s safe for the specific type of wood and finish. Be sure to vacuum the entire room regularly, too, in order to prevent dust and dirt from traveling deep into cushions and settling on wood furniture. Make sure to clean the furniture and floors after you dust or wipe down surfaces, as the loose particles will settle onto everything below.

  2. Don’t Let UV Rays Fade Fabric — If your most expensive furniture is placed in a room where there’s a lot of natural light, you need to consider a protection plan to prevent UV rays from damaging the fabric. Unfortunately, too much light exposure can cause your upholstered furniture to fade, and it can even change the color of some flooring. Minimize the room’s exposure to sunlight with blackout roller shades that can be easily drawn to totally block light when you’re not using the room. Room-darkening shades can also diffuse light so that it’s not totally dark in the room, but your furniture is still protected from color-compromising light.

  1. Use Furniture Glides and Slides — You may think of furniture glides as floor protectors only. Indeed, they will help protect your hard-surface floors from damage, but they’ll also help keep your furniture in good shape. That’s because they allow you to easily glide hefty pieces across the floor without lifting, and we all know that lifting heavy furniture can scuff, damage or break furniture in transit. They also prevent damage to furniture legs and keep them from wearing down.

  2. Keep Pets from Sitting Directly on Furniture — If your home is also home to a four-legged friend or two, then you already know how hard it is to keep pets off the furniture. Unfortunately, regular exposure to fur, claws and, of course, urine, can shave years off the life of your best pieces of furniture. There are many unique ways to deter pets from hopping onto your favorite chair or sofa, from blocking access to spoiling them with comfy beds so they don’t take up residence on your expensive pieces. If the idea of banishing your pets from the furniture is not an option — we don’t blame you, it’s hard — then consider investing in a set of pet furniture covers.

  3. Use a Stain-Proofing Treatment — When you’re shopping for upholstered furniture, you’ll notice that many pieces are labeled “stain-resistant.” This usually means that it’s been finished with a treatment that repels moisture and odors and may provide an extra barrier against UV rays and fading. However, if your furniture didn’t come with a treatment, you can add your own with products such as Scotchgard Fabric & Upholstery Protector. If you’re looking for ways to protect your leather furniture, there are several similar products that are safe for use on leather.

  1. Set Some Household Rules — No one wants to be the sofa cop, but you really should do your best to set rules and limitations to help prevent stains and spills. Banning food and drinks around your expensive furniture is a good way to prevent it from becoming ground zero for stains. This also helps to deter pets from hopping up on the couch because they’ll disassociate it as a place for treats. You may also want to consider enforcing a “no shoes” rule in the living room or family room so that guests don’t track in dirt, snow and moisture from outside.

  2. Periodically Flip the Cushions — Occasionally rotating your chair and sofa cushions is a great way to double their life. Note that some furniture doesn’t have reversible cushions, so if you’re shopping, be sure to put this at the top of your list of desired features. You should rotate your cushions once or twice a year to prevent constant wear and tear and light exposure. Make flipping day the day you vacuum beneath the cushions so that you don’t forget. Some cushion covers may also be removable and machine washable, which makes them easy to keep clean.

  3. Know How to Address Spills — You can’t monitor your expensive furniture every second, but when you know there has been an accident — pets, kids, whatever — you need to be able to quickly jump into action. Keeping your cleaning supplies super-accessible in a spray bottle nearby will help ensure that you can soak up serious stains before they set in permanently. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for information on exactly what kinds of spot cleaners are safe for your fabric.

So long as you’re well-equipped on how to properly clean your specific type of furniture and you have an easy-to-follow furniture maintenance plan in place, there’s no reason you can’t keep your prized pieces in grade-A shape for years to come! You’ll be glad you put in the extra effort.

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