The Life of Your Furniture

Buyer's Shopping Guide

So we’re willing to bet there isn’t an expiration date printed underneath your dining room table, and while we’re all for non-perishable furniture, how can you predict the lifespan of your furniture? And more importantly, what can you do to extend it? Here, we offer some easy tips to add life to your favorite pieces, and when it’s time to move on.


1. Dining table: The lifespan of a dining table depends greatly on the materials, but a high-quality table can provide many, many years of family meals. Choose a wood table for the most longevity, and regularly treat it with a protective finish to guard against scratches and moisture stains. Make sure your table doesn’t double as a homework desk, as this will undoubtedly result in premature aging by way of sharpened pencils and permanent markers.

2. Coffee table/end table: Like a dining table, the lifespan varies depending on the quality. Because coffee and end tables are highly used pieces of furniture susceptible to spills and bumps, you can expect to replace them every five to ten years. Get more wear by encouraging use of coasters, and treat it with a protective finish.

3. Sofa/accent chairs: Perhaps the most used pieces of furniture, second only to your mattress, sofas and chairs can last anywhere from five to ten years, depending on use. You can extend their life by getting an annual or biannual professional cleaning, and spot cleaning them with approved solvents in between. You know it’s time to go when your sofa or chair is no longer comfortable, no longer in style, or showing wear and tear.

4. Mattress: The most used—and arguably the most important—piece of furniture in your home, a mattress can last eight years or longer. You can get more nights of peaceful slumber by rotating it every two months and setting it atop a good frame with center support. It’s time to replace when you’re experiencing back pain, if your mattress is lumpy and sagging, or if you start to require a different kind of support (the older you get, the firmer your mattress may need to be to combat back pain).

5. Area rug: It’s probably no surprise that the life of an area rug depends on where it’s placed. An area rug by the front door that feels everyday use will age much faster than an area rug in a formal room that receives infrequent traffic. But no matter where your rug is placed, you can add life by vacuuming regularly, placing it atop a non-skid rug pad, and getting a professional cleaning every two years. Keep in mind that tough materials like wool  tend to last the longest. It’s time for the rug to go when it shows visible stains, wear and tear, or significant fading.

6. Accent pillows: Expect accent pillows to last from two to five years. An inexpensive item to replace, frequent changing of your accent pillows can freshen up the look up any room. But if you really love the look and want them to last, avoid using them as head pillows during your afternoon nap so they retain their shape. Also look for pillows with removable covers that can be cleaned easily and regularly.


Read more of our Buyer’s Guide series for helpful tip

Furniture Shopping Tips