A good quality sofa is an investment which, if treated correctly, should last for years. My friend’s mother has a pair of sofas which she bought in 1973. She’s had them recovered once but considering they are 43 years old and have gone through two kids, five grandkids, and multiple house moves over the decades, they are in superb condition. Part of the secret was buying a good quality item, but the rest of it is down to how she took care of them.

Choose the Right Fabric
Leather is a fantastic choice for sofas. It’s durable, easy to clean, and looks even better as it ages. Aniline leather is the most expensive type of leather for furniture as it feels soft yet is very tough. Semi-aniline leather has been treated with a pigmented coating that has some stain protection, while pigmented leather is the most durable choice as it has a polymer coating which helps prevent scratches, fading, and stains. Vinyl looks like leather. It is inexpensive and easy to clean although it is not as comfortable as cloth or leather to sit on, especially in hot weather.

Fabric sofas are a less expensive alternative to leather. While they tend not to last as long they do have other benefits. Polycotton covers work well for families as the synthetic content is not prone to wrinkling or fading. Microfibre feels a lot more luxurious than its price suggests and is good for allergy sufferers but it can stain quickly. Removable cotton sofa covers can easily be washed and dyed however they crease easily and do not last long in comparison with other fabrics.

Caring for Your Sofa
Any fabric in direct sunlight will fade over time, so position your couch away from a window if possible. Push back and plump up cushions every day or two, vacuum weekly (especially the cracks between cushions where crumbs gather), and clean off any marks as soon as you notice them. You should rotate your seat cushions every month, and treat leather sofas to a conditioning treatment every six months or so. Fabric sofas should get an annual clean – either by washing the covers as per the instructions, or getting a professional in to clean it for you.

No matter how careful you are it is highly likely someone will spill something on your sofa at some point. Don’t panic when this happens. Just blot the stain with a damp cloth (cool water, to avoid setting the stain) then treat with the appropriate upholstery cleaner.

The biggest threats to your couch will be kids and pets. The former will always bounce, flop, and throw themselves on it, so choose a sofa that feels sturdy enough to withstand the onslaught. The latter will shed hair and scratch. Foam cushions are the firmest to sit on. They hold their shape better than fibre or feathers and require little maintenance but you will still have to instigate some no-jumping rules if you want it to last the way it should. If they want to jump, buy a trampoline.