Tips for Buying and the Care of Furniture

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Upholstery

What should I consider before I buy ?

  • How many people do you need to seat?
  • How much space do you have and can you accept large items?
  • The style of room being furnished

How many people do you need to seat?

Our upholstery comes in four widths and will comfortably seat one to four people

  • Arm chair (1 person) or a Snuggler Chair (1-2 people)
  • Small or 2 seater sofa (1-2 people)
  • Large or 3 seater sofa (2-3 people)
  • Corner Group or Chaise end Sofa (3-4 people)

How do you like to sit?

Do you like to sit, nestle in cushions or actually lie down; different styled sofas lend themselves to different seating preferences. See our Interior Inspiration page.

How much space do I have?

First, measure the space you have available and then decide which size chair, sofa or sofa bed and chair combination will fit, envisaging them in the space. Will your dining table fit, with enough space for people to push out their chairs? Is there room against that wall for a sideboard? Would a large sofa and chair be adequate or would 2 smaller sofas provide enough seating; whatever your choice the furniture shouldn't overpower the room or other furniture. Does your bedroom have enough room on the floor for a dressing table, a wardrobe and two chests of drawers?

Making a newspaper template of the area that will be covered by the new furniture or mark out your floor with masking tape. This will help you check if you have enough room to move freely round the furniture once in position. It will also help you make sure the furniture is in proportion and won't dwarf other furnishings.

So that we can deliver the piece, please check and double check that it will fit through your front door. To enable you to do this we supply the width, depth and height of all our furniture and you will find this information on the product detail pages. Make sure that there's room to manoeuvre around obstacles like radiators, corridors, banisters, awkward corners, low ceilings and stairs and if you have a narrow hallway make sure there is room for the furniture to be turned into the room. If you live in an upstairs flat please check how wide is the lift and stairs, our delivery men can attempt to be supermen but there is a limit.

Regular Care

Worth considering is the amount of maintenance a suite of furniture needs and how easy it is to keep clean; particularly important if you have children or pets.

Sofas with loose backs and feather cushions will need a daily plump and straightening, sofas with loose covers will occasionally need the covers straightened. Leather sofas, those with firm fillings or attached back cushions will require very little attention. Leather sofas are very durable and require very little maintenance as spills will simply wipe off and need very little stain removal.

Dining chairs and tables will require a wipe-down every now and again, and cushioned seats may need to be vacuumed. Other dining and bedroom furniture will need dusting and the occasional polish. Non-cedar-lined wardrobes may need extra attention to keep pests like moths at bay.

Consider the style of room being furnished

When choosing a new suite always bear in mind the style and size of the room being furnished. High back sofas and chairs look best in traditional houses with high ceilings, low back furniture can enhance a feeling of space in a open plan room and modular furniture and corner groups work well in modern schemes.

Will you be better off with say 2 small sofas, or 1 large sofa and maybe a couple of accent or wing chairs, or possibly a corner group?

Fabric or Leather?

Fabric

Fabric is becoming more and more popular and usually offers a wider choice of colours, finishes and patterns than leather. Pile fabrics such as chenille and velvet will flatten and shade with use. Creases will form where fillings constantly flex, such as seat and back cushions. These characteristics are common and should not be regarded as fabric faults and can be minimised by regular brushing in the direction of the pile. Avoid direct sunlight which will fade the fabrics and wood finishes. Vacuum regularly.

Leather

Leather is a fashionable and robust choice and is ideal for family life. It wears well and unless you choose a highly treated finish it will age gracefully acquiring an attractive patina that makes it look better the older it gets. It's easy to clean and most spills can simply be wiped away. To keep it looking its best it shouldn't be positioned directly in front of a radiator or fire and like fabric it can fade from prolonged exposure to sunlight. Being a natural product it is cool in the summer and warm in the winter with the added advantage of being non-allergenic.

Leather comes in different grades. Some leathers retain the natural markings and variations that a natural hide has with the result that each piece of furniture is unique and it's these marks that distinguish real leather from man made substitutes. Other leathers are treated to give a more uniform appearance and colour and generally, the softer the leather the higher the grade.

Aniline – this is a leather which has been dyed using aniline dyes and has little or no protective coating applied. It is the most expensive type available and is subject to scars, bites, differences in grain and shade variation. Soft with a luxurious feel which will mould itself to your body shape.

Semi Aniline - this type of leather retains some of the unique features and characteristics of the animal hide. It’s dyed through and then given a light protective coating, these small amounts of pigment in the surface coating offer some degree of protection, but expect some shade variation as this is a beautiful natural product and every hide is unique.

Corrected - with this leather the hide is corrected by buffing the outer surface. The correction removes some of the imperfections before modern production techniques are used to emboss the leathers surface. This type of leather has a more uniform appearance, has a protective coating to provide protection and enhance durability and is available in many colours.

Bonded - leather or reconstituted leather is a term used for partially synthetic leather. It is a synthetic material made of varying types of plastic that may be spread over ground-up leather and other substances. It is mechanically processed to give the appearance of leather,but at reduced cost and with less wastage compared to natural leather.

Keep all Leather Furniture away from Direct Heat. At least an arm’s length from Radiators.

All our covers are fully tested to British Standards for General Domestic Use. All foams, fillings, fabrics and leathers conform to the current safety requirements, the Furniture and Furnishing (Fire) (Safety)Regulations 1988.

Fillings

Foam/fibre wrap - foam is sandwiched between layers of hollow fibre. Low maintainance and initially firm, foam furniture softens with use and will become softer over the fisrst couple of months of use, after which it shouldn't soften any more. This gives a softer look and feel to the sofa or chair. Cushions need to be plumped and turned occasionally.

Fibre filled - pocketed fibre in a calico casing which is hypoallergenic and gives furniture a softer more relaxed feel. It's light and resilient and needs very little maintenance other than an occasional plump, mostly used in back cushions.

Recliner Safety Tips

Safety advice for recliners and reclining furniture.

To prevent cuts and lacerations, do not put your hands or fingers under the mechanism to operate the chair. Only the occupant should operate the chair, and never attempt to open the chair by pulling on the footrest.

Sit down in the chair slowly. To avoid tip-over, do not throw your weight against the back of the chair. Move the chair into the reclining position slowly, making sure that no children or pets are in close proximity. Do not allow children to play on or around a recliner, particularly if it is in an open position.

Close the recliner completely before getting out of it.

Never sit on the footrest when it is open, or allow children to do so.

To eliminate the risk of tip-over, do not sit on the arms or footrest of the recliner.

Only one adult should sit in a recliner at a time.

Watch for pets who may choose to lie down underneath the chair.

When moving your recliner, be sure it is completely closed. Pick the chair up by the arms; never pick up the chair from underneath.

Be sure the chair is constructed so there is no more than 5 inches opening between the seat and the leg rest to eliminate the possibility of a child becoming trapped in the opening.

Sofa beds

Sofa beds are perfect when you need somewhere to sit and sleep and offer a flexible solution when space is at a premium or you have an unexpected guest. Perfect  for a living room, playroom, study or bedroom when you need an extra place to sleep.

Our sofa beds have a 2 fold easy to open high quality steel frame, a slated and webbed base, with a sprung mattress.This action insures that the mattress is only folded once rather than twice, as is the case on cheaper, inferior mechanisms. There is webbing at the foot of the bed which becomes the platform for the seating when in the closed position.

Usually associated with the conservatory but is also a great choice for the Living Room. It is very durable and easy to maintain and gives a light and airy atmosphere to a room. Upholstery should be treated as above. Lighter weave finishes look better in contemporary rooms, while darker finishes look better in traditional spaces.

Occasional pieces can add a distinctive touch to your room and give it a unique character, look at our Cane Ranges.

Cleaning Glass Furniture

There are many types of glass cleaners, both commercial and homemade.

The simplest homemade glass cleaner is made of only water and white vinegar. Mix 1 cup of water with 1 cup of white vinegar in a sprayer bottle and use it to clean your glass. Many people swear by simple vinegar and water for cleaning glass. However, others recommend adding isopropyl alcohol to the mix. The alcohol evaporates quickly which helps eliminates any trace of streaks.

A common recipe calls for 1 cup of water, 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol, and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Add one cup of white vinegar to one gallon of warm water. For severe jobs, don’t hesitate to add more vinegar – it isn’t going to harm anything. In fact, using vinegar is a great way to clean glass: it kills bacteria, is biodegradable, and yet it is still very mild compared to most commercial cleaners.

Anti-vinegar factions rant about the smell, but it literally dissipates as soon as the glass is dry. If you’re doing something small like a mirror, fill an empty spray bottle with two parts water, one part white vinegar. The solution has a long shelf life, so you can store it for later use. Cleaning Tips

Fabric

  • To ensure an even spread of wear and tear, turn loose cushions every week and make sure you don’t keep a “favourite” spot on the sofa – if you do, that area will wear faster
  • Vacuum your fabric upholstery every week to keep it clean and avoid dirt becoming embedded in the fibres. Use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner to prevent any damage to the fabric
  • If you spill something wet on your fabric furniture, don’t rub it. Blot at the stain with a white cloth until as much liquid as possible has been removed. NEVER rub at a stain – that will just push it into the fibres
  • For any dry spills like ash or makeup, first vacuum the area thoroughly then beat it with a flat object – water will make it worse if applied before this

Leather

  • Leather furniture should be cleaned and protected with Guardsman products 2-3 times a year to keep it in excellent condition and prevent damage
  • First vacuum the upholstery to remove loose grit and dirt using an upholstery attachment
  • Never rub leather, as this may cause damage. Wiping gently with a cloth slightly dampened with Guardsman Leather Cleaner will give the best results
  • Apply Guardsman Leather Protector when the sofa is brand new, and then every time you clean it
  • Don’t place your furniture too close to a radiator, fireplace or other heat source. It will dry out and damage the leather

Wood

  • For day to day maintenance, wipe your wooden furniture with a cloth, slightly dampened if there are any finger marks. Do not use detergents on wooden furniture
  • If your furniture has a wax or oil finish, it will need maintaining around four times a year. Rub on the appropriate Guardsman product with a white cloth, going along the grain
  • Never use wood wax on oil finished wood or vice versa
  • For furniture with neither a wax nor oil finish, use Guardsman Furniture Polish every week or whenever you think it looks slightly dull
  • If you spill anything on your wooden furniture, wipe up the spill immediately. Do not waterlog the area – just keep wiping with a damp cloth until the stain disappears. If that doesn’t work, buy a Guardsman Wood Stain Remover Cloth

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