Buying furniture to last through the destruction years

Legacy, 135-20-1571 When you decided to have children, you probably didn't realize you were signing yourself up to test your furniture against fruit punch, food spills, scraped knees, painted fingers, crayons, markers and other contemptible accidents. Sure, our grandmothers may have made their sofas last a few generations by protecting them with plastic covers, but who really wants to curl up on that at the end of the day? So what's a parent to do? Are you doomed to suffer the destruction years with unsightly furniture, or are there furniture options that can hold up against the unnecessary roughness? Fabrics have come a long way in the last several years, and it's a good thing too, since upholstered furniture seems to take the brunt of kids' growing years. Two things to consider before buying are the Fabric Wearability Code and the fabric's cleanability code.

Fabric wearability
The Fabric Wearability Code is the government's standard guide that indicates if a fabric is strong enough for your needs. You can find fabric wearability codes on manufacturers' swatch samples at your furniture store. If you can't find it, just ask a salesperson to help you. The standards for fabrics' wearability are as follows:

Fabric cleanability
Knowing the cleanability code for your fabric helps you make smart decisions by knowing how you are able to care for and clean your upholstered piece. You will either find the code on the manufacturer's label, or you can ask for it when you are selecting fabric for your sofa. Obviously, if cleanability is a huge issue for you, then you'll want a fabric that gives you the most options for getting out stains. These are the cleanability codes and their descriptions: Think low-maintenance and well-made
Whatever decorating style you choose, low-maintenance is a must. But low-maintenance doesn't have to look cheap - think well made, durable, and easy to clean. For upholstery, leather sometimes seems like a luxury, but it's actually very durable - it wipes clean and ages beautifully (as long as no permanent markers are involved). For fabrics, you'll want something that is soft, but also washable. Choose those with a flat weave, which will hold up better than lightweight or looped fabrics. Easy-care, practically stain-proof choices include vinyl, "pleather," ultrasuede, twill, denim, velvet, wool, felt, and other natural fabrics with a touch of synthetic fiber woven in for added toughness.

Be sure to buy the best furniture you can afford. It may seem paradoxical, but when you have children it makes sense to buy the best-made furniture you can afford because it will last longer. When purchasing upholstery, be sure to invest in the stain-resistant finish, or consider a sofa with washable slipcovers or zip-off cushion covers. And as a general maintenance rule, regularly clean your fabrics by vacuuming or light brushing. There's no rule that says your style has to suffer just because you have kids. With today's fabrics and leather options, it's more than possible to put together roomfuls of furniture that can stand up to an active family life and still look fabulous!

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