Just about every day — morning, noon, and sometimes late at night — you pass by that same fixture in your living room: the dingy old couch or reclining chair you bought at a shop on Kensington Avenue or from a recent Drexel grad. It was a great deal long ago, but now that furniture is haunting you and your beautiful new home.

It may be time to reupholster a couch or chair or at least buy a slip cover or two. The couch or chair may not seem like a big issue, but the fact is that the look and quality of your furniture could be destroying your home’s overall décor and atmosphere. Even a small change in the look of your furniture could be a major improvement. Luckily, there are a few simple solutions that don’t require a whole new purchase. Here are a few tips to help you decide whether you should try a quick, inexpensive fix or if it’s time to visit your local furniture store.

Rips and Holes and Stains… Oh My!
The humid hot summers, freezing cold winters, and fast season changes that are characteristic of Philadelphia are pretty rough on furniture. After a few years or more of wear and tear, it’s normal for your couch to have a few pulls or rips here, a stain or two there, but if you have a hole in your cushion deep enough to stash your coin collection, you will only be hiding a very ugly problem by covering it up with a slip cover.

You also have to consider whether the surface is clean and sanitary before you reupholster a couch or chair. If the item has stains that you can’t remove or unpleasant smells that just won’t go away, it may be best to just buy some new furniture.

Do you still feel comfortable when you take a seat on your furniture? Or do you get the creepy crawlies? Do you sit on it occasionally or just avoid it all together? Everything in your home, whether you live in a cozy rowhome or a sprawling mansion on the mainline, should be comfortable. That is how a house becomes your home.

If you can honestly say that aesthetics are the only reason why you’re unsatisfied with your furniture, then just get a nice new slipcover in the color and style of your choice—you can find one for as little as $50. If you cringe at the thought of even sitting on your furniture, it may be time to do some browsing down at Ikea on Columbus Avenue for a fresh new start.

Imagine you have a guest over—she flops down in a shaky chair and wham! Now she’s sitting on the floor. Don’t let this happen to you (or your guest). If your furniture is shaking or coming loose in parts, throwing a slip cover over the surface certainly isn’t going to resolve anything. For the sake and safety of yourself and your guests, replace anything that wobbles and creaks when you sit.

Maintaining your furniture is an important step in turning your house into a comfortable home. All you may have to do is reupholster a couch or put a slip cover over your old reclining chair to change your décor for the better.