House Rules: Caring for Timber

Today has been one of those days where I know exactly what I need to do but keep getting distracted by – hey look a squirrel … My head is just all over the place! But between all my procrastinating some how I managed to pull this together and I hope it helps you out a bit!

Setting yourself up with good quality timber furniture can be quite costly so you want to ensure that you a) LOVE what you are buying and b) know how to take good care of these investment pieces. Today I want to focus on the latter – how to take care of timber furniture. It goes without saying that we all want to live with our furniture and not have to tip-toe around pieces. Solid timber furniture can be a great option for busy family homes because it allows us to live with it, rather than around it. The right styles can develop gorgeous patina over time, adding both value and character, but sometimes we want to keep certain pieces looking sleek and new – as they did when they left the showroom. So to help you navigate the how-to’s, below are a few of my ever trusted and loved timber tricks – passed down from one generation to the next.

1. Dust regularly: Using a soft cloth (like an old t-shirt or microfiber duster) dust down your furniture every week or so – this will prevent dust and grime building up on your furniture which can be more troublesome to clean later on.

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2. Wipe up spills with a damp cloth & use coasters: Liquid is timber’s biggest enemy so wherever practical use coasters or placemats to protect your hard wood from moisture. This is especially important for items like Vases of flowers that will be sitting on the furniture for prolonged periods or glasses of wine or other coloured liquid that can also stain your timber surface. If you do happen to spill something on the timber, wipe down with a soft damp cloth as quickly as possible to prevent the liquid from absorbing into the grain.

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3. Finish with the grain: When you take the time to clean your furniture, use a damp soft cloth with timber approved cleaning agents. Firstly wipe across the grain of the timber to remove any built-up grime and then finish with long smooth strokes in the same direction as the grain.

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4. Polish with the seasons: Or don’t. I actually like to use day light savings as a reminder of when to give timber pieces a good polish or varnish. Realistically this job only needs to be done every six months and the changing of the clocks is a handy reminder that the task is due. Varnishing furniture any more than this can sometimes do more harm than good, so in between you only need to remember to dust and clean with approved agents.

Caring for timber furniture - Liv with Vision

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5. Keep clear of direct Sunlight: Like leather, overtime the sun can alter the colour of timber furniture. Tasmanian Oak is a great example of this as it changes with time and can become quite yellow (provided you have a clean lacquer finish), which is probably not what you what if you chose this timber for it’s warm blonde tones.

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6. Move objects regularly: Unfortunately, like the sun, your own interior lighting can also effect the colour of your timber, so be sure to move object around regularly or you might just find a darker or lighter patch when you do eventually remove that old lamp or vase of faux flowers.

Timber furniture - Liv with Vision

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House rules: Caring for Leather

It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of leather furniture – I’d choose the fabric option any day, purely because I find it more comfortable. However over the years I have worked in a number of furniture stores selling ALOT of leather, because it’s also no secret that many people DO love leather.

I see many advantages in leather furniture, durability being one of the biggest. A leather sofa or dining chairs can last a lifetime, but the trick is to ensure that it’s cared for. Just like our own skin dries out and needs moisture, so does leather – the same goes for cleaning and for being out in the sun. If you do have leather furniture, below are some tips for how to best care for it to ensure your investment pieces last as long as desired.

1. Keep out of direct Sunlight – Like any upholstery material, leather can fade to some degree if exposed to the sun so protect your furniture from sun and direct light. Keeping your sofa under a window, may look great but it’s getting the Sun’s harsh rays beaming down you may find over time parts of your sofa become discoloured.

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The Animal Print Shop

2. When you’re vacuuming, run the soft, upholstery brush over the seats and crevices – Just like everywhere else in your home, bits of dirt, crumbs and other nasties can build up in the cracks and crevices. Every so often while your vacuuming pop on the upholstery brush and run the vacuum over your leather furniture too.

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3. Clean up spills quickly – There’s been a number of times when my favourite leather handbag has been spoiled by water marks or worse, but I’ve learnt over time that if you get to those spills as quick as your feet can carry you they will be much easier to wipe away. Leaving spills, be it water of anything else for a prolonged amount of time can result in watermarks which are very difficult to remove later on.

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4. Clean with the Seasons – There’s a couple of things I do at the start of each season, for example changing my toothbrush or cleaning out the fridge. Making it a point to give your leather furniture a wipe down with a damp cloth at the turn of each season keeps you on track for ensuring you don’t get oil build-ups and that any grim in the leather grain can be cleaned away. Use a circular motion to wipe the leather and be sure to use either products that are specifically for your type of leather or just use water and a clean cloth. Also keep in mind if you have white leather to use a white cloth so the colour doesn’t transfer.

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5. Moisturise – If you do nothing else do this this step. Once you’ve finished cleaning, ensure you condition or moisturise your leather furniture as well. I know for sure if I didn’t moisturise my face every night before bed, my skin would feel tight and dry. Leather doesn’t need conditioning daily, but it does need it at least a few times a year.  This will ensure the hide doesn’t dry out or crack and is especially important if your furniture gets quite a bit of sunlight – which it shouldn’t because… well, refer to point 1.

Caring for leather | Liv with Vision

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