Tips on Taking Care of Furniture

If you’ve been following along, you’ve probably put a lot of work into a new piece of furniture. Hopefully it’s been a labor of love, but it’s still a lot of labor, and it’s probably not something you want to repeat very soon, at least not for the same piece. If you want your furniture to last, there are some really simple things you can do to help extend its life.

Keep it Out of the Sun

The sun is probably the easiest, fastest way to damage your furniture. Sunlight causes fading, especially if it’s long hours of intense sun. This applies to basically all materials, including fabric, leather and wood. Even white fabric will yellow if it suffers enough sun damage.

If you’re out of the house for most of the day, then the solution can be to simply keep the shades drawn. However, if you’re home a lot or you live in a warmer climate, then it’s probably best to just keep the furniture away from the windows. If you have a piece that is specifically for the window, like a reading nook, then you might just need to realize and accept the additional wear that will come with it. It’s not too bad if you know it’s coming!

Avoid the Vents

Drastic temperature changes are no good for most furniture. Hot air causes matter to expand, while cold air causes compression — don’t blame the messenger, that’s physics’ fault. That makes it no good for, well, for anything really, but the main concern would be warping.

For example, a dresser that rests over a vent will probably end up with a weird drawer or two. You may find it nearly impossible to get that bottom drawer in and out the way you used to, and the problem is probably due to a warp in the wood. This problem would be less noticeable with a couch that has fewer moving parts, but it will still cause the piece to degrade faster.

Protect Wood

Old wood furniture doesn’t really need to be sprayed down with Lysol on a regular basis, so long as it’s been well protected. That means you need at least one layer of polyurethane, but more likely two or three. You can pick some up at your local hardware store for about the price of your daily commute to work. Even with that, you should still try and protect the surface from drastic temperatures or wetness.

Vacuum

Most fabrics really like to attract stuff. Hair, dust, dust mites, dust mite poop, you name it, it’s there. But regular vacuuming can help to keep it at bay, at least a bit. The level of vacuum will depend on your lifestyle — a person with three long-haired dogs is going to need to vacuum much more frequently than someone without pets.

It’s also important to clean up messes promptly. There’s nothing worse than pulling up a couch cushion only to get a whiff of mildew from that time your niece knocked over your cup of water. If you’re afraid you might not get to clean your couch as often as you’d like, a slipcover can be an awesome way to keep it clean. They’re simple to make, easy to clean and vacuum, and you can change the color of your couch like magic.

Switch It Up

Last, move things around. Try flipping the cushions on your couch regularly, and rearrange the furniture as often as you can, too. People are creatures of habit, so it’s no surprise to find we tend to sit on the same piece of furniture, in the same spot, every time we enter a room. Any piece that’s in a high-traffic area like that needs to be rotated regularly. Plus, even though it’s a hassle to move everything, it can actually be a lot of fun to come in to a new room occasionally.

That wraps it up for this series. We’ve covered everything from choosing a piece of second-hand or antique furniture to transporting it, fixing it up, and taking care of it. Hopefully you got some inspiration to learn a new skill, so thanks for taking the ride with us.

Megan Wild loves ripping up furniture and consequently putting it back together. When she’s not surrounded by tools and fabric, you can find her writing about her latest adventures on her blog, Your Wild Home.

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