It’s amazing how some people look at the same object with varying perspectives. Sixteen year-old “Susan” sees an old, gold necklace as a means for some fast cash, while her grandma sees it as a relic of their family ancestry. Or maybe nineteen year-old “Johnny” sees a brand new tablet as a cool gaming device, while his dad sees it as the perfect tool to manage his documents outside of the office.
When it comes to your furniture, a similar thing can occur. Although you know that your furniture has a special purpose, your children and your pets may see it as something to play with. Therefore, it is important that you keep your outdoor dining set in the best environment possible so that it doesn’t become a toy. But how do you keep your furniture safe from the hands of your smallest family members? While it can be a challenge, there are ways to do it without having to take drastic measures.
Threats to Your Furniture
Your outdoor furniture is like an animal in the wild with natural predators. As you know, if it is lower on the food chain, it has more enemies to deal with. Likewise, your kids and pets are two natural enemies, which roam your backyard and pose a threat to your furniture. While they won’t try to eat a chair or cushion, they may cause damage due to their activities around the furniture or with direct contact as they play.
Furniture Misery: Child’s Play at Work
Your children are the most precious thing to you, and they’ll remain that way even as they grow up. However, there’s no denying that they can be troublemakers at times, and they aren’t always easy to handle. Aside from things like broken windows and vases, kids are notorious for ruining furniture.
- Spills– You’ve dealt with this before. Kids like to fill their glasses and cups to the rim, and if they’ve mastered the art of holding it properly, the vessel topples. Spills aren’t always a big problem, but for certain types of material and colours (white), things like fruit punch and sodas can leave difficult-to-remove and unsightly blemishes.
- Stains – Kids love their crayons and markers. They’ll focus their attention on their colouring books or the pictures they draw rather than the furniture they are sitting on. As a result, an open marker or gel pen might leak onto the furniture, and it may even scratch it. Trying to clean it up is no fun at all!
- Tears & Scratches – Your kids may even use your outdoor dining set as a playground, so you’ll need to watch out for that. For example, a table might become the new driving lot for toy cars, and you know that this could lead to scratches on the surface.
Making Your Furniture Set Child Proof
If you have children, does this mean that your outdoor furniture is doomed to an existence of ripped fabric and ink stains? Of course not! There are many methods you can use to keep your outdoor dining set safe from your kids’ activities, and they don’t involve huge amounts of time or money.
- Establish Boundaries! – Keeping your outdoor furniture safe starts with you. You need to set clear boundaries, so that your children know what they are allowed and not allowed to do on your furniture. For example, you might tell them to avoid eating and drinking on certain pieces of furniture. Also, you might have to restrict the use of pens and markers to their own bedrooms, and you might have to do the same with toys and objects that scratch.
- Protective Finishing – Kids will break rules sometimes, so it’s good to have a backup plan. Stain-resistant coatings and spray-on finishes can be a great way to minimize the appearance of stains. Furniture sets often come with these finishes, but you can always pick up a stain remover as your plan B in the event of a spill or stain.
- Covers, Coasters, and Mats – A simple and effective way to keep your furniture in good condition, is with protective covering. When your furniture is not in use, you can protect it with a cover, and this works as a deterrent for kids who may get too close. Also, a cover keeps your dining set safe from the elements. While your dining set is in use, make sure that you use mats and coasters to prevent liquids from forming sticky spots on tables.
When Pets Get Too Playful
If you have pets, you most likely view them as precious family members in addition to your kids. They too, however, can be a nuisance around your outdoor dining set, and you should pay close attention to them when they roam nearby.
- Claws & Scratches – Some animals, especially cats, are known to enjoy using their claws when they don’t need to. If you’ve been scratched by a cat before, you know how powerful their claws are. When they scratch a material like leather, they dig deep, and they can easily tear away at the fabric.
- Going to the ‘Bathroom’ – While cats love to use their claws, they’re pretty good at using their litter box as a routine. Dogs, and other animals, however, sometimes forget that furniture is not the place to use the ‘bathroom’. When a pet has an accident on your furniture, it leaves more than just a foul smell. It often leads to deep stains that are difficult to remove.
Put Their Paws on Pause
Yes, pets can be like your kids since they aren’t aware of what you’ll have to go through if they mess it up. However, if you have a feisty feline or canine family member, you can still keep your outdoor dining set safe from their activities.
- Take them to school – One way to keep your pets under control is by putting them in training. A good instructor understands what makes animals tick, and they will use effective methods to make sure that pets learn to avoid making your furniture their playground. Remember that pets are pretty good at understanding you when you scold them for certain behaviours. Therefore, don’t be afraid to let them know when they cross the line.
- Give them a distraction – Pets sometimes attack furniture out of boredom. Therefore, make sure to give your furry friend toys and other objects that occupy their time. A cat post is perfect for your kitty if he or she loves to use their claws, and a chewing ball can be the right distraction for your dog if he or she loves to nibble on fabrics.
There are some types of furniture that have an easier time of sustaining damage. You most likely have at least one or more of these furniture types in your home, so it’s good to know how you can keep them safe.
- Wood – Prone to spots and blemishes (grease, crayons, paint), and gum spots
- Leather – Prone to tears (claws, sharp toys) and blemishes (paint, nail polish, ink)
- Glass – Scratches easily, can break easily if a child or pet accidentally topples glass object (also could lead to serious injury)
Keep Your Furniture in One Piece
It is certainly a challenge to keep furniture safe from the hands of kids and pets. However, it doesn’t have to be an impossible one! With the right mix of planning, boundaries, and protective measures, you can keep your outdoor dining set in tip top shape. You can keep your items safe from damage without having to spend an excess amount of time or money. All it takes are a few simple measures to keep your set free from the damage of meddling kids and pets. Make the effort to safeguard your set, and you will free yourself from the burdens of ruined furniture!
For more information on outdoor dining set maintenance, visit the Beliani website.