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Furniture is perhaps the most important component of one's home, second only to having a reliable roof and walls. We use our couches, chairs, tables, beds, and desks every day of our lives, usually never thinking twice about their value. Once your furniture starts looking old and worn, however, you'll notice it more than ever. If you have kids or pets, keeping things clean and in decent shape can be tougher than it looks.

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways you can help keep your furniture looking shiny and new for longer than you ever thought possible—even in the presence of rambunctious little ones. In this article, we'll share a few simple tips you can use at home to keep your table nick-free, your couch fray-proof, and your favorite chair spotless for years to come.

Rustic Orange Lounge Chair

Create a Barrier with Furniture Protection Spray Products and Fabric Covers

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this is true even for furniture. Before your furniture becomes stained, worn, and dingy, you can protect it with a variety of physical barriers and fabric-coating sprays. In the case of upholstery, products like Scotchgard are perfect for protecting furniture with a stain-resistant surface that can be easily cleaned. You can also employ a fabric couch or chair cover to keep the original fabric from collecting dirt or being snagged by a pet's nails.

Wood furniture can also be shielded and maintained with regular polishing. Use a polishing product that contains not only wood conditioning oils, but also a wax ingredient to create a protective surface that will repel water and prevent small scratches from reaching the wood.

Use Only the Appropriate Cleaning Products

Almost nothing ruins furniture faster than using chemical agents that are too harsh or incorrect for the material. Even natural cleaners like vinegar water can be damaging to certain materials (and leave an unwanted odor).

If water is insufficient to clean your furniture, be sure to use only those cleaners intended for that furniture's materials. A leather couch, for example, may be best cleaned with a soft rag dampened with water. An upholstered chair with a stain may require more work, but a bottle of bleach—even if it's color-safe—isn't the answer.

In addition to using the right products for the job, it's also important to know how often your furniture should be cleaned, what kind of tools/cloths can be used, and any other special cleaning instructions provided for a given furniture piece. If you aren't sure what these are, the manufacturer may be able to give you more information.

Opt for Materials That Are Easy to Clean and Maintain

If you don't have much time to worry about deep-cleaning or protecting your furniture, choose pieces made from materials that are relatively easy to take care of. Metal and glass, for example, are easily wiped down with a damp rag and generally require very little maintenance to keep looking beautiful for decades.

Wood and leather require a bit more work and conditioning, but they are still relatively simple to clean, as they don't stain or require the specialized cleaning products that upholstery does.

White Fabric and Bamboo Dining Table Set

Have Family Furniture Rules

If you have a family, one of the best ways to keep your furniture in optimal shape is to develop (and enforce) a set of rules that relate to the use, care, and maintenance of furniture. What is and is not appropriate for sitting on the couch? Is the dog allowed on the furniture? When is it necessary to use a coaster or placemat? Can the kids eat food while sitting in the upholstered chair? Setting simple rules like "no dive-bombing onto the couch" and "no feet on the coffee table" are proactive ways to reduce the risk of damage and wear.

The benefits of having household furniture rules go beyond just doing good by the furniture. This is also a great opportunity to teach your children to be respectful in the way they treat the furniture you've invested in, as well as to help them understand the value of taking care of one's belongings.

Dark Grey Upholstered Desk

Keep Furniture Out of Direct Sunlight

The same culprit that's often responsible for skin damage can also be responsible for damaging furniture: the sun. With regular exposure to bright, direct sunlight, even indoor furniture can become faded and discolored over time. If only one portion of your furniture is exposed to this kind of lighting, you could be left with something that appears uneven and only partially discolored.

To avoid this, try to place furniture in areas where the pieces won't be in direct sunlight. You may not be able to achieve this 100%, but, by actively minimizing the amount of direct sun exposure your furniture gets, you'll be able to prevent sun damage and maintain its original color for much longer.

Keep Screws Tight and Perform Any Necessary Hardware Maintenance

Good furniture is more than just clean cushion fabric and smooth tabletop surfaces—it's also about solid construction and reliable hardware. Make sure that you check any screws or other hardware on your furniture every so often to see if anything is becoming loose or unstable. A chair with loosening screws, for example, may eventually break or become strained, causing damage to the component parts.

Poor hardware can also generally give the furniture an older, more worn look. A dresser with metal drawer pulls can be kept looking new by regularly polishing the handles and keeping them screwed in tight. If any of the hardware becomes damaged or rusted, replace it with identical hardware or swap out all existing hardware with a new matching set.

Desk

Hide Dirt on Fabrics by Choosing Dark Colors or Camouflaging Patterns

Have you ever been on a bus or train where the seats were upholstered with a loud, geometric pattern? There's a reason for that strange motif: Certain patterns and colors are better at hiding dirt and discoloration than others. While we don't recommend upholstering your furniture with bus seat fabric, medium shades of brown and gray are ideal for hiding smudges of dirt, while abstract repeating patterns can help camouflage distinct marks or damage.

Find Great Quality Furniture for Your Home at Douglas Furniture

At Douglas Furniture in Newhall, CA, we carry top-quality furniture in a variety of styles, brands, and materials. Whether you're looking for a new bed and nightstand for your master bedroom, a larger dining set for your expanding family or a cozy little couch for a small apartment, we've got the selection and the expertise to help you find just what you need.

White sofa

As a family-owned business, we understand the importance of finding durable, attractive furniture that's both affordable and comfortable for the whole family. For more than 40 years, we've been helping families throughout the Newhall area to find new furniture and accents, as well as to protect the pieces they have.

To learn more about our furniture inventory and services, visit our store or call us at (661) 255-8421. Be sure to browse our selection of home accents to create a comprehensive look that coordinates with your new and existing furniture!