A good sofa should last you anywhere from 7-15 years, but this also depends on you exercising the right amount of care for the sofa. While it is impossible to keep your sofa looking as good as when you first bought it, with a little effort you should be able to keep it looking great. Even if your household includes frequent guests, young children, or pets.
Some of the tips outlined below need to be followed when you’re shopping for a new sofa, while others are applied in your home. Taken together, they should help keep your sofa inviting, instead of it looking ready for the local landfill.
Consider the Fabric
Choosing the right fabric is an important part of shopping for a new sofa, but too often the only consideration it is given is whether or not it works with your existing decor. If you have pets, you should consider leather, or synthetic fabrics with a tight weave, and very little texture. And if you want fabric with a pattern, look for woven patterns rather than printed patterns. Overall, a higher thread count is always preferable in any situation, while delicate fabrics should only ever be considered for infrequently used sofas – and certainly never in homes with pets and young children.
Add Protection to the Sofa
Most sofa manufacturers now offer some form of fabric protection, or specialised cleaning and repair service. Although this is usually an add-on benefit, the extra initial cost could save you quite a bit in the long-term. Nobody plans to spill an assortment of liquids and food on a sofa, they’re always accidents, with some making more of a mark than others. With good fabric protection in place, you’ll know you once spilled a glass of red wine on your sofa, but your guests never will.
Use Slipcovers Whenever Possible
Fabric protection will safeguard your sofa from the occasional spill, but won’t help much when faced with an onslaught of entertaining, or exuberant pets and children. If possible, get a slipcover for your sofas to protect them from most forms of wear and tear, since most slipcovers can easily be laundered. And replacing a permanently stained or damaged slipcover is much easier, and cheaper, than a new sofa, or new upholstery.
Keep it Clean
Cleaning your sofa should be part of your normal house cleaning routine, with a good vacuuming helping to prevent dirt from becoming embedded in the fibres. Lift any loose cushions, so you can vacuum the inside of the couch too. You can also use a brush to gently sweep dirt off, but be sure to use a brush with soft bristles, so you don’t end up damaging the fabric
Rotate Cushions Regularly
This one is so easy, but be honest, when last did you actually do it? You should already be in the habit of fluffing any loose cushions daily, but rotating the loose cushions regularly will help even more. This should not only involve flipping them over, but always switching frequently used cushions with infrequently used ones. This does not prevent wear and tear in the long-term, but it will help prevent some cushions from looking worse than others.
Reduce Sun Exposure
Too much sun exposure will result in fabric sofas fading very quickly, and it can also weaken the structure of the fabric, resulting in unsightly fraying. It is difficult to completely avoid sun exposure in a typical living room, where you want the benefit of lots of natural light, but you should try to arrange your living room so that your sofa doesn’t end up baking in direct sunlight all day. Leather sofas aren’t immune to the effects of sun exposure either, with too much sun drying the leather out, causing it to crack.
Some forethought, combined with just a little bit of care, can help you keep your sofa looking great for many years, even in homes with a lot of visitors.