How to make your furniture live longer

Throughout the centuries humanity has left behind the traces of its existence and artistic capacity. We have the golden surface of the Buddhist temples in Thailand, the remains of Ancient Greek gods sculpted to perfection, and colorful Mexican displays of mathematical knowledge left behind in the form of Mayan stone calendars. The reason why we can still admire such elaborate works is due to people’s insistent care and proper restoration. Even modern artefacts require a certain amount of maintenance to ensure their durability. Something as basic as our home may seem sturdy and long-lasting; however without its due amount of attention it will begin losing its charm and slowly descend upon a state of decay. To halt this process of decomposition we can start with small steps by rejuvenating our interiors- keeping our furniture in top shape and ensuring it’s place in our homes for a long time to come.

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Leather

The sophisticated appeal of leather has contributed to its reputation as a high-maintenance and expensive material. It is true that if left to succumb under harsh conditions it will take considerable effort to restore it to its former glory. However, this can be easily avoided by showing it some attention once or twice a week.

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Step 1

Leather furniture requires a first round of thorough cleaning with a soft cloth to remove any specks of dust and afterwards another round with a damp cloth that has been dipped in distilled water.

Step 2

As tempting and convenient as it is, refrain from cleaning your sofas, lounge chairs and ottomans with all-purpose sprays which on the long run only damage the leather finish on your furniture. It is better to buy a specialized products such as soft cleaners that are safe to use in all types of leather including analine, semi-analine, and pigmented.

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Step 3

Allow your furniture to dry naturally after every cleaning session. If you wish to speed up this process you can always open some windows to increase the air flow. Any leather piece must be allowed too fully dry before using it to prevent the formation of creases that decrease its visual value.

Step 4

What gives leather its classic elegance is the natural oil that comes with it; to maintain its luxurious gloss your furniture must be regularly conditioned. The faint oil that transforms leather can be replenished with microfiber or a soft cloth that battle against dryness and cracking. In addition to this routine, another preventive measure that must be taken to retain this natural sheen and softness is to position the material away from sunlight and any sources of heat.

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Wood

Time itself may be invisible but its effects are not. We can see traces of its existence in the lines that mark our face and across the weathered surface of our interiors. However, while we cannot erase its touch from our being we can do something to banish it from our furniture, especially wooden one. The first step is to prevent the damage from water marks or heat exposure by employing casters and decorative placements that reduce the contact that hot food and wet objects have with wooden surfaces.

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Step 2

Just like dampness or warmth can damage wood, sunlight and other environmental factors (rain, humidity, extreme dryness) can take a toll on its consistency. Part of the preventive process to avoid this from happening is to place wooden furniture at a distance from windows or direct sources of heat. Once the natural agents have been covered it is time to move on to solutions for the effects of human contact. The first thing to have in mind is that all purpose cleaners, despite their name and convenience, are not always the best products for wooden finishes. To remove sticky spots and dirt it is best to use a damp cloth covered in water mixed with a mild dish detergent and later on wipe the spot once more with a dry cloth.

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Step 3

No matter how much we try to protect our wood, some nicks and scratches will inevitably appear across its surface. For small blemishes, a liquid polish such as Old English Scratch Cover can coat and hide the abrasions. Greater damage demands for a more extensive measure that can restore a furniture to its former glory. Painting is often a better option than sanding since it requires less time and effort while also providing a new look to furniture and extending its years of use.

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Step 4

Another way to restore life to seemingly hopeless furniture pieces is by re-oiling dry wood. This procedure first requires cleaning wood with oil soap or other similar products and proceeding to prepare its surface with #0000 steel wool. The next step is to apply a liberal dose of furniture oil and to let it soak through the wood for approximately 15 minutes. In case one wishes to apply an extra layer of protective coating the oil should be allowed to fully set for 24 hours before adding the final coating.

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Cowhides

As a decorative element cowhides establish an air of extravagance and personality within interiors. Their unparalleled beauty can last a several years or nearly a lifetime depending on our commitment to prolonging its lifespan and maintaining their original state. There are four simple points to take into account:

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Step 2

Occasional accidents involving spills can be easily solved by removing their dried crust with the blunt section of a knife following the direction of the cowhide hair. Another quick fix involves using a soft rug or brush dipped in warm water with a small quantity of mild soap. The water excess should be extracted by patting the surface with a dry cloth.

Step 3

For thorough washing cowhides demand slightly more effort and attention. The process is not a long one but one should make sure not to leave this material in a washer or dry cleaner since there is a much quicker alternative that involves steam cleaning with a limited portion of water to dispose of old grime. On the other hand, drying cowhides is far simpler since all it needs is to be left over a rack or chair with the hair facing down to speed the process and protect the surface from fading.

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Step 4

Placement plays a significant role in extending a cowhide’s durability. Even though the material is known for its endurance it can eventually suffer from the markings of frequent use and exposure to the elements. Cowhide rugs should be placed in slightly trafficked areas and displayed away from sunny places to prevent the surface from fading.

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We must tend to our home not only because it is the place where we find safety and nourishment but also because, as the famous designer Terance Conran  once stated:

  “Home is the heart of life… Home is where we feel at ease, where we belong, where we can create surroundings that reflect our tastes and pleasures… Making a home is a form of creativity open to everyone.” 

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