How to Clean Suede, Leather, and Microfiber Furniture

It is a great habit to regularly clean your home to help kill germs and keep a cleaner living space. When it comes to many hard surfaces, a multipurpose cleaner can typically help get the job done. However, it can become a little more challenging to do soft surface furniture. Adding too much water or chemicals can quickly ruin many materials. To help, here are several common soft furniture finishes and the best ways to clean them:

Suede

It is important that you know your furniture is authentic suede. Suede is made from the underside of animal skin. Use a suede leather brush to brush away any debris on your furniture. If you have any spilled liquids on the suede, use a paper towel to absorb the liquid. Do not scrub the liquid because this can make it penetrate deep into the material and stain it. If you do have stain, apply a small amount of suede stain cleaner, suede eraser, or a diluted mix of white vinegar and water directly to the stained area. Blot away with a white paper towel or napkin and allow it to dry.

Leather

For leather furniture, you can start with the famous duo of soap and water. Use a washcloth to spread the soapy water to the furniture. Use another cloth to help wipe away the water after applying. Allow the coach to dry and then apply leather cream. Remember, leather is animal skin. Just like our skin, it can dry out and crack. A leather cream will help keep moisture in your leather.

Microfiber

Microfiber is a synthetic material made from polyester. Locate on your couch a manufacturer tag. The tag should have one of three letters: W (Water-based cleaner), S (Solvent-based cleaner), or X (Vacuum only). Start by vacuuming any debris off your sofa or furniture. When you know what cleaner your couch can use, test in an unnoticeable area of the furniture. Look for any bleaching or discoloration. Next, apply your cleaning product to any stains. Alcohol cleaners are known to dry out microfiber after they are dry. Use a microfiber brush to help the material go back to normal after it dries.

Do not be afraid to treat stains and clean the soft surfaces in your home. These areas can harvest unwanted germs and bacteria. Make sure you are keeping up on your home’s clean routines by adding these steps to the mix.

The Best Fabric for Family Room Furniture

Are you currently in the market for purchasing new living room furniture or reupholstering your current furniture? If you are currently in the market for investing in a sofa/chair, it should be treated as a big decision that requires some research. We have compiled a short list of “to-dos” for determining the correct color and fabric for your pieces. Let’s take a look!

Color

If hiring an interior designer is not in the budget, we have listed some questions that will guide you in the right direction for the perfect fabric color:

  • Who Will Be Using the Pieces? If children, pets, or teenagers are in the answer, darker colors are the best for hiding stains and spills. For neutral options, grays are popular and will be around for quite some time. Do not overlook blues and greens and treat them as bold neutrals. View the carpet, flooring, and all accessories to make sure they blend with the new fabric. 
  • Formal or Informal? If you are placing the furniture in a formal living room, the color may differ from the color choice you would choose for an informal living room. For example, you may opt for lighter colors in a formal area since it will be used less and only for special occasions.
  • Are Patterns Relevant? While we do not see that many patterned sofas anymore, we do see sofas brought to life by patterned pillows and blankets. Incorporating patterns through pillows and blankets can help hide additional stains, which is ideal for households with children and pets.

Fabric

Natural fibers like cotton, linen, silk, and wool are very soft to the touch but are not very durable. When you combine them with a synthetic fiber like polyester, viscose, and acrylics, the softness remains, but the added synthetic fibers strengthen the natural fibers. All of the children and pet-friendly fibers are synthetic and also stand up to spills and stains. Heavier or thicker fabric weaves are less smooth but more textured. These fibers are perfect for a family or great room pieces.

Cleaning Code 

Have you ever noticed the tag on upholstered furniture? It will include a letter code. Sofas with a “W” must be cleaned with a water-based cleaner only/distilled, or bottled water is recommended. An “S” means the upholstery must be cleaned with a professional-grade cleaning solvent and will not react well if water is used. “S/W” means that dry cleaning solvents and water can be used. 

Rub-Count

This is the best way to determine the durability of the fabric. The rub count is determined by a machine that rubs back and forth until the fabric is worn down. 20,000 and higher rubs are perfect for residential upholstery.

We hope that you are now aware of what to look for when purchasing or reupholstering your family/great room furniture. If you follow these tips, you will make sure that you have done your due diligence in fabric research!

How to Preserve Your Wood Furniture

Whether it is your beloved dining room table that you paid some serious bucks for or an antique rocking chair that has been passed down in your family, no doubt you want your wood furniture for several years to come. While wood furniture can last for a long time, proper care and maintenance can ensure that it looks good throughout the years. Here is how you can protect your favorite wood pieces:

Things to Avoid:

  • Sunlight: Believe it or not, the sun pouring in from a nearby window can damage your wood furniture over time. Therefore, you will want to avoid placing your favorite pieces near exposed windows where direct sunlight can alter the color of the wood stain. If you have to put a piece of wood furniture near a window, consider adding blackout shades or curtain to help prevent sunlight from affecting the furniture.
  • Water: Try your best to not expose your wood furniture to water even during cleaning. Drinking glasses can leave behind sweat rings that are nearly impossible to remove once they are ingrained in the wood surface.
  • Heating Vents: You probably never thought your heating vents could pose a danger to your wood furniture, but it actually can. Avoid putting pieces near or over a heating vent. Heat can also damage the finish of wood finish and completely dry out the material. Instead, try placing the furniture in the center of the room.
  • Humidity: Heating is not the only natural force that can erode wood finishes, but changes in humidity levels could ruin a beautiful piece of wood furniture. If you can, try to keep humidity levels at 40-60%. Anything above those levels can make a wood piece warp causing the finishing to crack and chip.

How to Protect Wood Furniture

  • Tablecloths: Wood tabletops often take a beating. The best way to protect such a surface is to use a tablecloth because it will protect against stains and marks.
  • Polishing: Depending on the finish of the wood, you should only require polishing 1-2 times a year.
  • Dusting: Dust can easily mix in with the humidity lingering in the air. When it settles onto your wood furniture, it can potentially damage the surface. To prevent this, make sure you dust as often as you can.

We hope you find these tips and tricks useful. For more informative pieces, please visit us at Fulton Homes.

Coordinating an Open Floor Plan – Family Room and Office

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Fulton Homes Starlight Model

An open floor plan makes any home feel more spacious and interesting. Every step opens up a new view of living areas – kitchen, dining, family room and even office.

The office space in this home – the Fulton Homes Starlight model – demonstrates the appeal of an office or den that is open to the family room. the wall openings support a separate living area while still making the office feel part of the greater whole.

Decorating the office and family room to ensure that the spaces are seen as separate but still coordinated requires some planning. Here are some décor choices that make these spaces work well together.

Coordinating color-schemes: Neutrals pair well with black, red and a soft green to build a common theme of colors without too much repetition. The green chair in the office picks up the color of the family room throw pillows while the patterned fabric appears on the office valance and the other sofa throw pillows. Notice that the rug also carries those colors through to the family room.

Lighting: Both rooms have matching ceiling fans, but the real connection comes from the table and floor lamps. The unusual sloping square lampshades in a natural cream tone carry from one room to the next – providing nice focused light while marrying the style of the two rooms together.

Furniture tone: Both rooms feature dark wood – a good choice with the wall and furniture colors. The wood floor mirrors this tone, creating a unified whole. This level of thought and coordination takes full advantage of all the plusses of an open floor plan – maximizing comfort and style.

Patterns: How to Incorporate Florals in Your Home

15359994_SPatterns are a major trend in fashion and interior decorating.  Floral patterns are back in and hitting the scene full on when it comes to home décor and design.  This particular pattern might remind you of floral patterns from your mom or grandma that just may seem dated.  You can add floral accent pillows, floral vases, and even bring in florals with actual flower arrangements to keep your home looking and smelling fresh. Here are a few ways to incorporate today’s floral trends at home.

15285253_SIf the image above made you rethink using florals in your home, there are other options.  You could take the pattern above and place it in a frame to hang as a piece of art on the wall.  The image to the right, uses the pattern more subtly.  Using a black and white color palette keeps the room looking neutral and classic. The floral accents are able to stand out, but are less invasive to the eye.  Using accent pillows is a great way to test out if you’ll enjoy using floral patterns throughout your home

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since they can easily be traded out.  It would also be fun if you traded these black andwhite floral pillows for pastel floral pillows during the springtime.  The candles on the shelf are a similar style and, again, are easy pieces to move in and out of the room.  Duvet covers are another great source if you want to experiment with subtle or bold floral patterns in your bedroom.  The duvets will most likely make your bed become the focal point of the room.

18969410_SIf you already know you’re in love with adding floral patterns in your home, maybe try to incorporate them with more long-term methods like purchasing a floral patterned accent chair like the one to the right.  The chair becomes the focal point of this seating area.  Decorating around it is easy with a simple side table, mirror, and lighting.

You could also make an accent wall with floral wallpaper or floral stencils.  However you choose to add florals into your home, they’ll be sure to add more depth and interest to your design.  Whether it’s through accents, major pieces of furniture, or small décor pieces we hope you enjoy the floral pattern as much as we do! 

Bridging Generations: Merging Styles

12310479_SSo your mom is moving in with you and your family. Your new Fulton home has a great extra master bedroom and a bathroom with special easy-access options for her. Everything, you think, is perfect.

Then she says, “Oh honey, I want you to use some of my furniture in your living and dining room. I know you will enjoy having such good things in your home.”

But your taste is very contemporary and her style is very like the photo shown here. You don’t want to hurt her feelings, but you’ve spent years getting just the right furniture in your style. Understanding that this is just the first of a number of bumps in the road as you all learn to live together, here are a few ways to make your home’s style work for all of you.

Go for Eclectic: Select a few of your mom’s favorite pieces and incorporate them into the living space of your home. You may be surprised to discover that a few more traditional pieces actually add character and charm.

Hand her a room: If she has a dining table and buffet that she is particularly proud of, move your more casual table into the kitchen eating area and set up the dining room with her pieces. Add a few pieces of modern art on the walls and a simple window covering, and you may find the room works well for you. Consider a daring paint color to make the space feel more adventurous.

Coordinate accessories: Does she have lamps that could work in your home? How about rugs or artwork? Consider grouping like accessories in one place, allowing them to provide a surprise punch of personality. For example, if she has numerous collector plates, fill a narrower wall at the end of a hall or the side of the entryway with plates set randomly from floor-to-ceiling about an inch apart.  She will see all her plates on display, and you have turned a plain wall into a point of interest in your home.

With a little imagination, you can merge both of your styles together, and who knows, you may find yourself happier building the differences into your home.

Build your Dream Room, One Piece at a Time – Sofa

So you have a new home with a large and inviting living room, family room, or open-concept space and you want to create the space of your dreams. Right now the room might be empty, or you may have a few pieces of unmatched or not very appealing furniture that you picked up for a song or inherited from family.

If it’s time to make that room beautiful but you’re not sure where to start, let’s take a look at your options. As the largest piece of furniture, a sofa helps define your space and provides a sound basis for developing a room to match your vision for your home. When choosing your sofa, here are some of the things to consider.

Style: Sofas can be formal, casual, classic or contemporary. Your sofa will set the style for your space, so it’s a good time to make those decisions.

Construction: Perceptions of comfort vary from one person to another. Would you like a tightly-constructed piece with springs in the cushions so that your sofa provides a lot of support, or are you drawn to a comfy down-stuffed choice that is better for sprawling than sitting? Take a look at your family’s lifestyle and be sure to try out a number of choices to see what suits you.

Size: Be careful to check to make sure a sofa fits well into your space. Too large and the room will immediately look crowded. Too small and it won’t have the presence you want.

Fabric: Issues such as the probability of spills and the amount of usage can help you define your best choices. This is one place where a good furniture salesperson can be extremely helpful.

Color: Since your new sofa will be with you for a long time, choose a color you can live with comfortably. This may be a neutral tone, or a color choice that can almost play as a neutral such as dark green or denim blue.

Whichever sofa you select, be sure to take your time and shop all of your choices Spend as much as you can easily afford. You may have this sofa for a long time so think of it as an investment in your home.