Q: All of the furniture I have is family hand-me-downs or Ikea pieces chosen for practical reasons. I have about $1,000 that I’d like to spend on a nice piece of furniture. I could really replace anything. Do you have suggestions on how to decide where to start when buying nice furniture that I can keep for many years?
A: Dara Caponigro, editor in chief of Veranda magazine, answers: This is music to my ears! I am so glad you are thinking this way! I always say, “Buy less but buy better.” I would start with a good-quality sofa that has a classic shape. A Bridgewater sofa can go with lots of different styles, for example. I’m afraid you might need to pay a little more than $1,000 for a good-quality sofa, but it sounds as if you are on the right path.
Spackling product plus primer
3M Patch Plus Primer eliminates the need to prime spackled areas before painting. The spackling paste contains tiny particles that create a primerlike film on the surface, unlike other spackling products that can cause a change in paint sheen. The product dries fast and won’t shrink or crack, but it’s as strong as heavyweight spackling, the company says. It comes in a square package that accommodates a 3-inch-wide putty knife. It retails for $6 and is available at home improvement centers and paint and hardware stores.
Cleaning wood furniture
Q: I have a mixed variety of furniture, from rock maple to cherry and some things in between. I’m just not sure how to clean it on a weekly basis. Would a dampened microfiber cloth be good enough?
A: Dusting is all most wood furniture needs on a weekly basis. Many furniture makers recommend vacuuming furniture with a dusting brush attachment, but a soft cloth is fine, too. Microfiber cloths can be used dry for dusting, but you can dampen the cloth slightly if you wish, as long as the furniture has a water-resistant finish.
Some people think furniture should be waxed or polished regularly to “feed” the wood, but in reality, waxes and polishes just sit on top of the finish and build up if they’re overused.
If you want to give the furniture a more thorough cleaning occasionally, furniture maker Bernhardt recommends using a mild soap made for wood cleaning or a good-quality furniture cleaning product. Follow the directions, and avoid wetting the furniture a lot.
Bernhardt says you can follow this cleaning with a good-quality furniture polish if you want more shine.
Stay away from polishes containing silicone and oily polishes that can attract dust and dirt.