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You Protect Your Face From the Sun. Why Not Your Sofa?

by Product Specialist

We’ve heard time and again about the damage the sun can cause on your skin, so it’s pretty likely that you think twice before venturing out on a hot Summer day without some sort of skin protector – maybe some sunscreen or a big-brimmed hat to shade your face. Well, have you thought about the toll the sun can take on some of your treasures?

Even indoors, your furniture is susceptible to sun exposure and heat damage. With summer upon us, here are some tips to help protect your furniture.


Sure, leather is strong, but it’s no match for the sun. Too much sunlight could lead to two things: color fading and drying. Fading is a common problem among leather pieces that have been placed next to a window that gets too much sunlight, especially those pieces that don’t have a protective topcoat as well as darker colors that absorb more light. Drying can happen to any kind of leather, fully finished or not. Heat causes moisture in the leather’s natural oils to slowly evaporate, resulting in stiffening and cracking.

Unfortunately, once leather is faded, the only way to get color back is to re-dye and color match it.  And once the natural oils of the leather dry out, re-hydration is not an option. It’s better to take preventative care to protect your investment. You can prevent drying by cleaning and conditioning about every 6 months to a year, as well as keeping your furniture out of direct sunlight, especially during warmer months. Think about the location of your piece before you purchase. If you know that you’ll need to put a leather piece in a sunny room, remember to ask your sales associate critical questions about the leather’s topcoat and quality before investing.


Like leather, the sun can cause fabrics to fade. Very few fabrics have built in repellents or protection. Knowing this, consider the content and color of the fabric when selecting pieces for a sunny room. For natural fabrics, consider cotton and wool, along with wool blends. Fabrics blended with acrylic, polyester and nylon are generally less likely to fade. High-end fabrics like linen and silk are notorious for fading quickly. Also consider the fade-ability of the colors you select. Dark colors will fade much more rapidly than lighter ones.


Did you know that your dining room table can tan just like your skin? Ultraviolet rays cause some wood species to darken or bleach out. If your wood furniture is located in the sun’s path, keep the top free of any accessories for the first few months. If you must dress your table, be sure to move the items around frequently. This will prevent a visible difference in coloration from developing. Depending on the intensity of sunlight, most woods find their natural patina within a few months.

If you purchase items for a set over time, such as dining room chairs or bedroom dressers, your new pieces may also be noticeably different in color from your original items, which have had time to adjust in your living space. This is completely normal, and over time the new pieces will catch up to the originals.

Similar to leather, wood can dry out. The sun’s heat, your air-conditioning system, a humid environment can all affect the function and look of wood furniture. Try to keep your furniture in a stable, dry environment to reduce the shrinking and swelling caused by changes in temperature.

Other Ways to Protect Your Furniture Investment

  • If you have a sunny room, try to design the floor plan with flexibility in mind. Rearrange the items so that items fade consistently all over.
  • Use window treatments to block the sun. Choose from airy drapes, UV-blocking shades and a wide variety of blinds.
  • On the extreme end, you might consider window tinting, many of which are invisible.
  • Communicate with your design and sales consultant so that he or she knows where you plan to put your furniture and can make recommendations appropriately.