Remember the days of plastic covered couches and chairs? Looking back they seemed tacky, but for a Latina of that time determined to keep her furniture looking new, there didn’t seem to be any other choices. So what that everyone who sat on them in the summer had to peel their skin off of them when they got up. How else could furniture in high traffic households with frequent visits from the extended familia and regular fiesas be maintained, especially when our mothers and grandmothers expected furniture to last a VERY long time?
Even today, when we expect to periodically upgrade our furniture, replacing couches, chairs, ottomans, end tables and lamps, can cost hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars on even a modest decorating scheme. And who can afford that in this day and age?
So the trick is to take steps from the beginning to save your furniture without having to resort to those tacky plastic covers.
Here Are Some Tips:
Fabric Protection Against Stain and Fading
If you have decided to purchase new upholstered furnishings, ask the sales agent if the price includes surface protection. Most retail outlets and national chains provide this service either as a free item or as an add-on feature. The protection term varies among sellers, but a minimum of one year is fairly common.
If you already own furniture and want to extend the life of your fabric, you can purchase “apply-at-home” products, such as Scotchgard. Be sure to remove any stains before treating your fabric. Couches get a real workout. People spend 2,750 hours on the couch in the typical American home, Scotchgard reports.
Setting House Rules
Establish a few house rules to keep your investment looking great and functioning properly. Don’t allow children to jump up and down, wrestle or use those nifty markers on your fabric finishes. Keep food and beverages at the table or in the playroom where the vinyl floor and non-porous furniture are easy to clean.
If you have small children, entertain the Friday night football crowd, or allow snacks in your den or living room, consider removable slip covers. For moms with a new baby in the house, slip covers are a great way to relieve the stress that comes from unexpected diaper leaks. The kids will grow up, and football season comes and go, so you aren’t doomed to always having your beautiful sofa covered.
Hanging Drapes and Shades That Filter Sunlight
When you place a sofa in front of a sunny window, consider upgrading your drapes or shades. You can protect your furniture from fading with window shades that block harmful UV rays. You can also purchase blackout drapes, to prevent all sunlight from coming in. This protects furniture, and gives you extra privacy during the day for napping or watching TV.
Caring for Leather
Leather is a durable fabric. However, there are many types of leather on the market. In order to provide the best care, consult your manufacturer’s website or the product information you received when you purchased your leather furniture. Never apply water to genuine leather. If you get a spill, wipe it up as quickly as possible with a soft dry cloth or lightly damp shammy. Sunlight is especially harmful to most leather products. The best way to keep leather furniture in top condition is to dust it frequently, and follow product care guidelines.
What tips do you have for making furniture last longer? Share them in the comments.