16 tips for keeping your furniture beautiful
I love my children dearly. They are my pride and joy. But when it comes to caring for my furniture, they frustrate me to no end. How many times do I have to tell them to take their muddy shoes off? To stop putting their cups of milk directly on the coffee table? To eat food over a tray, instead of spilling it directly onto the living room furniture? You can’t tell me you’ve never run into these problems with your own kids. That’s why I’m sharing my secrets — not only will they help you deal with little messes, but they’ll also teach you how to keep your furniture looking new for years to come!
In my kid-filled home, upholstered furniture is by far where I have the most messes. There are three keys to dealing with an upholstery spill:
- Clean that sucker up, ASAP! Upholstered pieces are the most likely to end up with permanent stains.
- Remember to BLOT the spills with a damp cloth. Rubbing could damage the material, and a soaking wet rag could press the spill further down into your furniture.
- Most important: Work in from the edges. Don’t just go to town on the whole thing — this creates spreading of the stain. Pushing it inward means that, even if you don’t get the whole thing out, there will be less of a damaged spot that needs covered up or replaced.
When your tyrannical children (I mean, precious angels sent from above) aren’t making a mess of things, use these tips to protect your upholstery from the elements:
- Keep pieces at least two feet from radiators, fireplaces, etc. because prolonged exposure to direct heat will damage the fibers in the fabric and make it more likely to tear.
- Avoid direct sunlight to prevent fading of the fabric.
- Vacuum the surface regularly to help remove dirt and other things that will break down the fibers. This also reduces the chance of harmful allergens embedding themselves in your furniture.
If you have bad allergies or simply want to make it even harder for the kids to ruin your furniture, I highly suggest getting leather. Spills are even easier to clean up on leather:
- Scrape off solid residue very carefully, so as not to mar the surface of the leather.
- Blot off the remaining residue or liquids.
Regular care is extremely important for maintaining your leather, too:
- Dust or vacuum frequently because dust clogs the pores of leather, which can lead to premature wear. The surface breaks down, and your furniture will look dull and possibly unevenly colored.
- Clean monthly with leather cleaner. This helps keep the shine built up, it protects the pores from becoming clogged, and it keeps leather feeling soft and supple. After cleaning a spill, this is important because you don’t want to have a “naked” spot that ages unevenly.
Hardwood spill maintenance is pretty straight-forward: clean it up! As long as you get it right away, you shouldn’t have any problems, especially if your furniture is sealed properly. There are, however, lots of maintenance tips to keep hardwoods looking new longer:
- Keep furniture out of direct sunlight to avoid heat damage and bleaching of the wood.
- Also avoid heat and air conditioning vents. The intense fluctuation in temperatures could create a loss of moisture in the wood that results in warping.
- Use felt backing on lamps and décor items. This helps avoid scratching or gouging on the surface.
- When it comes to food, place mats and hot pads under dishes to prevent burns, and use coasters under drinks. No one wants water rings on their coffee table.
- Do not place synthetic rubber or plastic items directly on wood, to avoid chemical damage to the finish. This also applies to harsh household products such as nail polish remover and bleach.
- Rotate! Rotate! Rotate! Moving the piece around the room, or even just changing the placement of accessories, redistributes wear patterns to keep your wood surfaces looking evenly worn. That means that, even if there is wear on the surface, it will still look high-quality and new because there are no telltale uneven spots.
There are my go-to “trouble-shooting” and general maintenance tips for furniture. I know some of this may seem a bit over the top, but trust me, you will not regret taking some of these tips to heart. You would not believe how many allergens hide in your upholstered furniture! The difference proper care makes to a dining table is shocking. Why spend money on beautiful furnishings if you aren’t going to care for them properly? For more tips to keep your home looking fabulous, check out the Morris Home Pinterest board, Cleaning and Tips.
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