Getting the most out of your furniture in a rental property is hard work. Everyday wear and tear will mar the finish, tear upholstery, stain and scrape wood, and break down the basic construction of the piece. Are are some pointers for making sure your furniture lasts as long as you need it to last.
This may seem obvious, but if you want your furniture to last for a long time, use it in the way in which it was intended. Hardwood dining chairs, for example, are designed to have people sit in them. If you drag one to the kitchen to use as a step-stool, it will get marred. Your shoes will scuff the finish, and dragging the chair will eventually loosen the joints. As you stand in the chair, your weight is concentrated in one place, rather than the entire seat. This can break the glue loose in joints. The same happens with upholstered dining chairs, such as parson’s chairs. Of course, you should never stand on upholstery, but if you do, and if you drag the chairs to different locations, you can weaken the structure and risk snagging the fabric.
If your chairs, especially dining chairs or bar stools, have braces running from leg to leg, you can expect to see people hook their feet on the rungs. This, also, will weaken the structure, putting stress on the braces that was not part of the design. The rungs also get worn. In some cases, you can see tiny holes all over the wood, where shoes have scraped away layer after layer. The best way to avoid this is to either resign yourself to supervising family and guests and their foot placement, or have them remove their shoes when they walk in.
Don’t sit on the arms of your chairs. Most frames can’t take the pressure from the weight of even a child, and sitting on the soft, upholstered arm of a chair or sofa will break it down. It will get loose and start squeaking. You’ll also notice that the fabric on the arms wears out quickly.
Moisture is never good for your furniture, whether it is solid oak furniture or is fully upholstered. As kids, we would walk into the kitchen/dining room with our wet hair wrapped in a towel. At some point in the evening, we would unwrap the wet towel from our head and drape it over the back of mom’s hardwood chairs. This, of course, softened the finish, eventually causing the chairs to become discolored.
Moisture from food and drink containers will ruin the finish on your furniture. Much of the moisture comes from condensation rather than spills, so don’t think that your mahogany is safe just because no one has spilled anything. If you are care about the finish on your furniture, chances are you don’t allow food or drink in areas that can be damaged. Use coasters, and the finish should be protected.
With proper usage and avoidance of food and drink, your furniture will last much longer.