1. Buy the best. The easiest way to make furniture last longer is to buy the highest quality you can afford. “Pieces made of solid wood with screwed and glued construction from manufacturers with a good reputation are going to be heritage pieces,” says Brent Simon, owner of Colorado Style Home Furnishings.
2. True grit. “Think of dust as very fine sandpaper; it can ruin your finish,” says Mike Ackerman, owner of Ackerman and Sons Furniture Workshop. Dust furnishings frequently with a barely damp cotton cloth such as an old T-shirt.
3. Keepin’ it clean. The dust that can hurt your wood finish isn’t doing any favors for your upholstery either. “Vacuum your furniture every time you vacuum the rest of the room,” says Ackerman.
4. Good oils. Once in a while your furniture’s wood needs a good oiling. Kate Sultan, co-owner of Modern Bungalow, recommends a light lemon or orange oil. Just apply liberally with a soft cloth, let it set for a few hours and then wipe away any excess. Avoid polishes with silicone; Ackerman recommends Guardsman Furniture Polish.
5. Moisturize. “If your lips feel dry, your furniture probably feels dry too,” says Simon. In Colorado’s low humidity, furniture can easily dry out to the point of cracking. The solution? Add a humidifier to your heating and cooling system or put a small humidifier in the room.
6. Made in the shade. Sunlight can fade fabrics and darken woods, says Simon. Keep pieces out of direct daylight if possible, and draw draperies as often as practical. Reorganize accessories frequently to avoid fade spots. Flip and rotate cushions to distribute wear and tear. Even rearrange the room periodically to even out your furniture’s exposure to light.
7. Thrills and spills. If you spill something on your upholstery, blot it up immediately; don’t let it set and don’t rub it in. And then have it professionally cleaned.
8. Age-defying skin. “Leather is skin,” says Sultan, “and just like your skin it needs moisturizing.” Every month or two you should condition leather with something like Liberon Leather Cream or Leather Tech Conditioner.
9. Ease joint pain. When furniture falls apart, it happens at the joints, Ackerman says. Can’t you just hear your grandmother telling you not to lean back in her dining room chairs? Well, don’t push furniture across the floor, either; lift it to move it. If a chair or table develops a wobbly leg or arm, have it professionally repaired right away. It’s less expensive to fix a wobble than to rebuild a break.
10. Too hot to handle. If a bowl or pot is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your wood. “Hot pots create burn rings,” says Sultan. Use a trivet or let the bowl cool down.