The furniture in our homes is valuable – it can hold sentimental value and can also be expensive to replace. It’s therefore worth looking after it. Home furnishings generally don’t require huge amounts of maintenance, but there are a number of steps that you can take to protect and care for your furniture so that it stands the test of time.
1. Avoid Heat & Temperature Changes
Wood and leather, as well as other materials that are commonly used for home furnishings, can be quite sensitive to direct heat and fluctuations in temperature. Heat can cause these materials to warp, fade, discolour or even split, leaving irreparable damage. Keep furniture a sensible distance away from open fires, radiators and air conditioning units. Use coasters and heat-proof mats to protect surfaces from mugs and hot dishes that may otherwise leave unsightly marks. A frequently overlooked hazard is the temperature variation throughout the day in conservatories or sunrooms. Wooden furniture left in these conditions can crack, so it is important to invest in furniture that is specifically designed for use in these settings.
2. Appropriate Cleaning Products & Tools
Cleaning products are not all the same – they contain chemicals that are designed for specific purposes. Never use a leather conditioner on uncoated leather, and don’t use silicone cleaning products on unfinished wood. Always read the care instructions provided by the furniture maker as well as the instructions and warnings on cleaning product labels. If in doubt, ask the manufacturer for advice, and use a small amount of product on an inconspicuous corner before spraying a whole table! Be particularly careful with the finish on wooden furniture. Oil, wax and varnish are very different products and it is important to use the same one each time to avoid creating a sticky mess. Even water should be used with caution – some materials don’t like getting wet! Use appropriate cleaning tools too: soft cloths, non-abrasive sponges and suitable vacuum attachments.
3. Avoid Liquid Damage
Wipe up spills on wooden furniture immediately, before the liquid has a chance to seep into the grain. On upholstered furniture, use absorbent towels to blot as much of the liquid as possible. Be cautious about putting drinks glasses down on surfaces – some furniture won’t mind this at all, whereas other materials will be left with marks that are difficult to remove.
4. General Wear & Tear
Furniture is there to be used, but over time general wear and tear can occur, however, there are steps you can take to keep your furniture looking exceptional for as long as possible. For instance, children can tend to increase the wear and tear on home furnishings. Protect dining tables during homework and craft activities by using a tablecloth or rubber mats, or by spreading old newspapers across the surface. Encourage children to jump around on the floor rather than on beds and sofas; springs and slats can break under the strain. Make sure that cabinets and bookshelves are fixed to the wall to prevent children from pulling them over – and to keep children safe.
5. Seek Professional Help
If you have unusual, precious or antique home furnishings, don’t be afraid to seek professional advice about how to care for them. An expert may be able to provide reassurance about the products you plan to use or to suggest alternative approaches.
6. Rotate, Rearrange & Cover
Upholstered furniture, such as sofas and armchairs, can show uneven signs of wear because people tend to sit in the same spot every day. To counter this, rotate cushions regularly and rearrange items of furniture periodically. Areas such as armrests are susceptible to dirt from bare skin, so it is a good idea to use arm-caps or other appropriate covers that can be washed easily. This is particularly important in summer when sun cream is in use!
These simple steps should help to keep your furniture in top condition so that you can spend more time enjoying using it. Feel free to ask us any questions!