How Long Will My Furniture Last?

Posted by Meredith Willoughby on

From the beautiful wood bed frame in your bedroom to the leather sofa that is the centerpiece of your living room, furniture is an investment that creates a large portion of your home's character. Quality furniture is designed and built to last, but every piece has a lifespan. How long does furniture last? A lot of that depends on the condition you purchased it in, the material it is made of and how you take care of it. 

Here is a helpful guide you can use to determine when to replace your furniture, how to take care of your investment and how to select quality pieces that will stay with you for years.

How Long Does Wood Furniture Last?

Wood furniture is a beautiful addition to any home, but it does age. You might notice fading or cracks on a dresser, table, hutch or any other type of wood furniture. Here is what you need to know about the lifespan of wood furniture and making your pieces last:

The Average Lifespan of Wood Furniture

The type of wood is one of the biggest factors determining how long a piece of furniture will last. Hardwoods, which tend to be a durable type of wood, make excellent pieces of furniture. Plus, there are plenty of varieties, allowing you to pick a grain and finish that suits your taste. Examples of hardwoods include cherry, oak, ash, maple, teak, mahogany, rosewood and hickory. You are not limited by hardwood, however. Quality furniture made of softwoods like pine, redwood and cedar are available as well, but some of these woods are more likely to be scratched or dented. Do your research when you select a wood type.

You will also want to know the difference between solid wood furniture and furniture made with veneers. Veneers are a thin slice of wood placed over a composite. Veneers are often used in solid wood furniture, but they are also placed over composites like plywood or particle board. Solid wood furniture tends to be more expensive than furniture made with other substrates because it has a longer lifespan.

High-quality wood furniture often lasts at least 10 to 15 years. But, if you select the right level of quality and care for your wood furniture, it is possible those pieces will last you a lifetime and become family heirlooms.

How to Make Wood Furniture Last

That quality of a piece of furniture is important, but you also need to know how to care for wood furniture to ensure it lasts. Dusting, regular cleaning and waxing are some good practices to make a habit. Allowing dust to accumulate allows particles to scratch the surface of the wood. Use a soft, non-scratch cloth or a feather duster to regularly remove the dust that settles on the surface of wood furniture.

When it comes to cleaning wood furniture, you can use gentle soap and water to treat small, sticky spots, but you'll need a specialized cleaner to clean the entire piece. Try using furniture polish or furniture oil to give the wood a glossy sheen and a thin layer of protection. Waxing will help protect the finish of the wood and keep the furniture looking like new.

Older pieces of wood furniture can benefit from restoration practices. Over the years, any piece of wood furniture will be affected by sun fading and pick up minor scratches. You can help mitigate that damage by re-staining the wood and making waxing a monthly habit.

Picking out Wood Furniture That Will Last a Long Time

The type of wood, the construction and the finish are the three most important elements to consider when selecting wood furniture that will last a long time. The two types of wood — hardwood and softwood — are differentiated by the kinds of trees they come from. Hardwoods are from deciduous trees, while softwoods come from coniferous trees. Some of the longest lasting hardwoods include walnut, maple, oak, cherry, mahogany and teak. Consider these options when you want to make a purchase that lasts a lifetime.

The construction technique of a piece of furniture will determine its structural integrity, too. Will the table or chair stand up to years of weight bearing? Joint construction tends to be the most reliable approach. If you notice parts of the furniture glued or stapled together, this is not an example of joint construction. Furniture held together with those methods will likely not last for years.

Finally, look at the finish on the wood. Does the wood feel and look smooth? If there are any signs of fading or cracking already on the furniture, this will likely mean the piece will not have a long lifespan.

How Long Does Leather Furniture Last?

Leather furniture can be a beautiful addition to any home. The supple feel of the material offers a comfortable place to sit, while the warm, burnished appearance is pleasing to the eye. When the leather of your sofa or chair begins to fade, you know it is time to start thinking about selecting a replacement piece. Here's a quick guide to judging the lifespan of leather furniture and choosing pieces that will last for as long as possible:

The Average Lifespan of Leather Furniture

By its nature, leather furniture is designed to last. Fabric will wear out over time, but leather wears in because it has the durability of the animal hide it comes from. That being said, leather furniture can still have a finite lifespan. The type of leather and how you care for it are the two biggest factors that determine how long a leather sofa or chair will last. Full-grain leather is the highest quality leather available, and furniture of this type can last for generations.

Full-grain leather is made from the outermost layer of a cow's hide, and it is not sanded to remove imperfections. This means the leather has character and durability that ages very well over time.

On the other hand, furniture made with split grain leather or bonded leather will likely not last as long. These two types of leather are not made from the outermost layer of animal hide. Instead, they are made using leftover byproducts. The result is a less expensive leather, but one that is not as durable.

How to Make Leather Furniture Last

Proper maintenance is the most important part of prolonging your leather furniture's lifespan. Avoid too much sun exposure because this can lead to fading and cracking of the leather. Additionally, use a high-quality leather conditioner on the surface every six months to a year. This conditioner will help the leather keep its shine and suppleness.

When cleaning leather, avoid cleaning products like soap and detergent, as they can damage it. In between conditioning, you can dust or vacuum the surface of leather furniture to prevent the build-up of grime that will affect the look and feel of the sofa or chair. Remember, high-quality leather can easily stain. If you spill on the leather, address the spill immediately. Use warm water and a gentle cloth to wipe up the area. You can also address small scratches in the leather by gently buffing them out with a soft cloth.

Picking out Leather Furniture That Will Last a Long Time

When you buy a piece of high-quality leather furniture, it can last a lifetime, but it is good to know the right questions to ask before you pick out your new sofa or chair. First, ask the salesperson how the furniture was made. What type of leather was used? Was the piece handmade or mass-produced? Handmade furniture made with full-grain leather will probably last longer when compared to mass-produced pieces that use less expensive types of leather. Asking about the quality of the other materials, like wood or metal, used to make the furniture will also help you select a long-lasting piece.

Next, you can ask about specific maintenance directions. Will typical leather care be sufficient, or should you take any extra steps to make the piece last? Does the sofa have the durability to handle the wear and tear of children and pets? You can also do a quick test of quality on your own. Is the furniture heavy? If you can't lift the piece, this is an indication of high-quality work. If it is light or feels flimsy, the piece probably won't be something you pass down through the generations.

How Long Do Mattresses Last?

Nearly all people — 92 percent — believe a good mattress is important to their overall health and well-being. The right mattress can have a significant impact on the time it takes for you to fall asleep and the quality of that sleep. A poor-quality mattress, for instance, can make it more difficult to fall asleep, disrupt your sleep cycle and even contribute to health problems like back pain. How long will a mattress last? Here is everything you need to know:

The Average Lifespan of a Mattress

Your mattress, like any piece of furniture, can last for years, depending on the material it is made of and how you take care of it. A memory foam mattress can last up to 10 years, while a futon will be on the shorter end of the spectrum with a life expectancy of about five years. Materials with lifespans between those two include innerspring (eight years), waterbed (seven years), hybrid (six years) and air bed (six years).

Memory foam lasts longer than an innerspring mattress because it is less likely to experience sagging issues, but it will still wear down eventually. Each of the other types of mattresses has their pros and cons, but sleeping each night on any type of mattress will eventually wear it down to the point that you need to replace it.

How to Make a Mattress Last

There are a few good rules of thumb to keep your mattress in good shape and comfortable for years. First, avoid eating and drinking in bed. Spills and crumbs are going to wear down the appearance of your mattress and potentially lead to staining or even water damage. If you can't resist the urge to snack in bed, invest in a good mattress protector. This will make your mattress waterproof and can help reduce the amount of wear and tear. Cleaning the actual mattress is a helpful step to take as well. You can spot treat any stains with soap and water. Plus, you can vacuum off the surface of the mattress every few months.

Cleaning isn't the only way to make your mattress last, though. Proper use and maintenance help as well. Do your best to avoid any jumping on the bed — that means no bouncing kids and pets — and ensure your bed frame is properly supporting the mattress.

Lastly, rotating the mattress is one handy tip that you have probably thought about doing but maybe haven't gotten around to. Regularly rotating the mattress helps distribute the wear. You are less likely to experience sagging in one particular place if you keep up with this trick.

Picking out a Mattress That Will Last a Long Time

You want a mattress that will last a long time, but you also want to make sure it is the right kind for your body and sleep preferences. Select a high-quality material like memory foam or a hybrid mattress to ensure it will last at least 10 years. Second, always buy your mattress new. Used mattresses might not have the same regulations, like fire resistance, as new mattresses, plus any used mattress will come with dust and allergens.

Next, you will want to determine the firmness of your mattress. You may love the idea of a soft, cushy mattress, but in the long run, a firm mattress is better for your health. You don't want a soft-as-a-cloud mattress that leads to back pain.

Testing out a mattress is an ideal way to determine if it is the right fit for you. Try lying on it in a few different positions. Are you comfortable and relaxed? Does your spine follow its natural curve? Remember that it might take a little time to adjust to your new mattress once you bring it home as well.

Quality Furniture From Davids Furniture & Interiors

If you have decided you need to replace any furniture or mattresses in your home, browse our products online or make a trip to one of our four showrooms. At Davids Furniture, we have a wide selection of wood furniture, leather furniture and mattresses that can become a part of your home's style. For more insightful tips on caring for your furniture and styling your home, visit our blog.

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