Wood adds warmth to interior design. It being incredibly versatile, is often used in manufacturing wooden furniture. Today, top interior designers in India procure exclusive solid wood furniture to give designer homes a distinct personality. Good solid wood furniture helps produce a natural feel, a vintage charm, a sleek look, and an improved visual interest in any room. It is also more durable, customizable and resalable. Available in different wood tones, grains, and textures, wooden furniture not only looks timeless but even lasts a lifetime. But remember, wood being a natural material, solid wood furniture due to regular use is susceptible to abrasion, scratches, and wear and tear. Hence, it is essential to be mindful of the solid wood furniture in your home to create an asset and an heirloom piece.
Be it the best living room furniture, dining room furniture, or bedroom furniture – it needs constant love and care and periodic deep cleaning to look stunning and stylish. Here are nine valuable tips on how to maintain and take care of your solid wood furniture at home.
1. Keep it away from direct sunlight
Since wood is photosensitive, direct sunlight for prolonged periods can damage solid wood furniture. As the sun causes chemical changes to the tannins in the wood, it leads to fading, bleaching, and darkening of the wood. The UV rays from the sun affect the finish of the furniture and cause permanent discoloration and damage. Sunlight also causes a phenomenon called ‘spotting’ where bright and dark spots begin to appear across the cross-section of the furniture.
2. Don’t subject it to high temperatures
If hot objects are placed regularly and for long periods directly on a solid wood table, it will distort the original texture of the surface. Whether it is oakwood, walnut, maple, or mahogany, any natural wood under high temperature due to the inherent thermal expansion, warps, swells, or potentially shrinks. Also, with wood being organic, direct exposure to heat can cause wooden surfaces to crack or leave behind heat stains.
3. Regularly dust your solid wood furniture
Accumulation of dust can destroy the natural sheen of solid wood furniture. The fine abrasive particles of airborne dust also leave surface scratches that dull the finish. Dust also attracts moisture which can accumulate and weaken or soften the finish. Regularly dusting solid wood beds, coffee tables, dining tables, and other home furniture keeps this buildup from happening.
4. Protect your solid wood furniture with oil, wax, polish, and wood finishes
Oil, wax, polish, and different kinds of wood finishing products – feed, nourish, and protect the wood. Though the best wooden furniture for homes now has the highest quality of polish or finish to protect the furniture from fading, dust, and moisture, it is good to reapply another coat after a few years. A retouch can help restore the fresh and shiny finish while protecting the wood furniture from environmental damage. When required, engage a professional polisher to apply the right oil, wax, polish, or finish.
5. Restrict using water to clean your solid wood furniture
You can use warm water occasionally to clean a soiled or sticky spot on your furniture. But of course, before you decide, it is better to know if your favourite piece of natural wooden furniture will not get damaged due to the moisture. Cleaning wood with water is not always recommended, but it depends on the type of wood surface that you’re cleaning. So, the safest way is to check for any instructions provided by the manufacturer on how to take care of solid wood furniture.
6. Cover the frequently used areas on your solid wood furniture
Tablecloths, tablemats, coasters, runners, heat pot stands, pads, and slipcovers placed on frequently used areas can help to protect solid wood furniture. These help against frequent scratches, stains, and spills on the surface. If you have younger kids dining or hanging around on your ornate wood dining table, it is best to cover the entire surface with a table cloth made of PVC material.
7. Protect it from infestation
Insects like white ants, carpet beetles, and termites can destroy wooden furniture quickly. So, if you notice any wood dust and are in doubt, use a herbal anti-termite chemical solution immediately to treat the wood furniture. Better still, call a pest control pro to treat the wood. Until the treatment is complete and the piece of furniture is free from infestation, it is better to quarantine that particular piece from others in the room.
8. Treat small damages immediately
Though wooden furniture is tough and durable even with the best care, it can sustain nicks and scratches. It is important to regularly treat small damages before they turn into something more drastic. Regular attention and care can give any piece of natural wood furniture more good years. So, keep looking out for signs of damage and switch to your damage control mode as soon as possible – clean, fill, sand, finish.
9. Handle and shift heavy furniture carefully
A solid wood furniture piece is the strongest across its major horizontal element. So, while shifting or moving it, do check – how it is constructed, whether any of its parts are removable or detachable, can it be dragged, is any part fragile, will it need to be packed in protective bubble wrap, thin foam wrap (called dolphin foam) or cardboard. Once you know how to handle and shift heavy furniture carefully, your solid furniture items can be safe from damage.