Top Problems With Upholstered Furniture
(and How to Care for Them)
The perfect sofa is an investment. Here at Circle Furniture, a family-owned and operated business that services thousands of customers a year – many of whom buy upholstered furniture – we know this to be true: given the right care, a well-made sofa will last years. Before buying, it’s important to consider what can go wrong with even the most well-made sofa. Here’s that list of problems, and because we love you, we even included the solutions.
The problem: the way your fabric looks at night isn’t how it looks during the day.
So you picked out your fabric in the store, and waited the 8-10 weeks for it to be delivered… only to stumble into your living room for a midnight snack and not recognize the sofa sitting there. It happens: fluorescent lights in showrooms don’t offer the truest representation of colors, and you often don’t get to see how your fabric will look in the afternoon or at 3am.
The solution: ask your designer if you can borrow a swatch for a night. Once you have it, don’t forget to compare it to your wall color, because that can change with different lighting conditions, too.
The problem: it gets dirty, big surprise there.
Sure, your sofa will get dirty if your lovely child spills her ice cream sundae all over it, or if Fluffy the dog tracks in mud. More often, however, it’s the regular wear-and-tear that will take its toll, especially when your cushions meet greasy heads and dirty hands daily.
The solution: We recommend having your sofa cleaned regularly and professionally. At least every two or three years. Regular upkeep will keep it looking better, for longer. For smaller, more isolated stains, ask your Design Consultant what they prefer – many will have a preference for stain removers. If you are ready for a professional cleaning and live in the Boston area, we recommend JP Upholstery Cleaning. Check out their Instagram for before and after photos that show their amazing work!
The problem: it breaks in.
There are three stages of life for a sofa: before you purchased it, the first couple of months while it breaks in, and finally, its lifespan. Like many fabulous pairs of shoes, your sofa will break-in: the cushions may sit differently or require fluffing, and the fabric may loosen slightly. Overall, expect your sofa to become softer and more pliable with use and time.
The solution: many customers don’t realize that their sofas will break in, and get nervous when they start to – don’t freak out! Your sofa should maintain a level of comfort and structure, and some cushions require some fluffing to keep the down from flattening out. If your sofa continues to break down after the breaking in period, then go ahead and call your Design Consultant.
The problem: your sun-filled living room is bleaching your couch.
Unless you buy a couch with UV-resistant fabric like Sunbrella or Crypton, direct sunlight will bleach your couch. Sadly, there’s no easy fix for this one, other than prevention: keep your outdoor furniture in your sunroom, and generally, move your sofa away from the windows or close the blinds when you are not home. Make sure you mention sun exposure in the room to your Design Consultant so they can guide you to the best fabric choices for your space. Purchasing the right fabric for your sofa is the best way to avoid this problem from the start. If you are reading this article after the fact and have a bleached sofa – some sofas may offer a slip cover as an option. Please ask your Design Consultant if this would be a possible solution to renew your upholstery.
The problem: it pills.
Ah, pilling. The fibers – especially short ones – stretch and pull after abrasion. They rise to the surface of the fabric, creating little (albeit ugly) balls of fuzz. Some fabrics claim to be pill-resistant, like Ultrasuede, but you should know that after a lot of use, any fabric will eventually break down. (Leather, on the other hand, will never pill.)
The solution: Very, very gently shave away the fuzz with an electric shaver, then follow with some light vacuuming.
The problem: your solid fabric is wrinkling.
Solid fabric is very much on trend these days. Don’t get us wrong, it’s beautiful, but there’s a little bad news: your solid fabric won’t hide wrinkles like patterned fabric will. In fact, you may have never realized that upholstered fabric wrinkles because your sofa has always had patterned fabric.
The solution: a handheld steamer will do the trick perfectly. We prefer steamers over irons as they can be much gentler, but double-check with your Design Consultant before doing anything.
The problem: your pet loves your sofa. A little too much
Fluffy is, well, fluffy… which would be fine if all that fluff vacuumed off of the couch. (Unfortunately, it doesn’t.) We know, we know, should’ve never let her get on the couch in the first place.
The solution: don your favorite rubber glove (no powder here – you want as much sticky friction as possible) and rub the fur into a single pile. After that, it’s easy to pick up and throw in the trash.
There you have it: common problems with upholstered furniture. If you’re aware of what can go wrong before your brand new sofa even arrives, you can do a better job of keeping it pristine. After all, a well-cared for sofa will last you for years to come. Haven’t found the perfect sofa yet? Shop our selection of sofas here.
Not interested in future maintenance? It’s not that much work, but hey, we’ve got you anyways. Our five-year premium furniture protection plans are the perfect way insure against all the possible things that can go wrong, such as stains, burns, rips, tears, and punctures.
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