Here’s How Long Your Favorite Homewares Last, According to the Experts

published Oct 11, 2018
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Unless you just moved into your home—and purchased brand-new pieces to fill it with—you’ve probably had your furniture for a long, looong time. Your rug dates back to your college days, your mattress has lasted longer than most of your relationships, and you don’t even want to think about how many hours you’ve spent binge-watching TV on your couch.

Once you’ve found a piece that fits with your space, aesthetic, and budget, you never want to let it go. But the sad truth is nothing lasts forever, including your home goods.

So how often should you replace your furniture and accessories? We’re glad you asked. Here’s how often you should replace your favorite pieces, according to the people who make them:

Mattress: 7 to 15 Years

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The average person spends a third of their life in bed—not including all the time you spend eating leftovers, watching TV, and scrolling through Instagram—so your mattress is probably one of the most-used pieces in your home. Luckily, you don’t have to replace it as often as you’d think.

According to Ron Rudzin, CEO of Saatva, mattresses that cost less than $1,000 should be replaced every seven years, while models over $1,000 will stick around for 10 to 15 years. He also adds mattresses with dense foam (a.k.a at least four pounds per cubic inch) or latex are more durable and last longer.

That being said, if you spend the entire night tossing and turning, it’s time to kick your mattress to the curb—no matter how old it is.

“If you wake up with aches and pains it may be time to replace your mattress,” Rudzin explains. “Rips, lumps, or springs poking through also indicate it’s time for a replacement.”

Taking proper care of your mattress will help keep it around for longer. And in addition to flipping or rotating your mattress at least once a year, you should invest in a proper base.

“Foam mattresses need a solid foundation, or a slatted base with slats no more than three inches apart, while queen, king, and California king innersprings require a center support to keep from sagging,” Rudzin explains.

Pillow: 2 to 3 Years

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Mattresses might have a long shelf life, but the same can’t be said about pillows. Arlyn Davich, brand president of Allswell Home, says pillows can last around two to three years.

Of course, there are some exceptions.

“Some lower quality pillows will get flat or lumpy well before then,” she explains. “If it looks, feels, or smells like it needs to go, don’t keep it around just because it hasn’t hit its two-year anniversary.”

So what makes a quality pillow? Davich says a hypoallergenic fiber filler usually offers more support for longer.

If you want to keep your pillows in tip-top shape, toss ’em in the washing machine and alternate which ones you use.

“Many people keep four pillows on their bed, but always sleep on the same two,” Davich says. “Keep them on a rotation!”

Sheets: 2 Years

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If you’re using the exact same sheets you did as a kid, it’s time to throw them out. To be honest, you should’ve thrown them out a long time ago.

“Sheets usually last about two years, but it’s time for a change whenever you notice your sheets are getting yellow-y, stained, or grungy,” says Vicki Fulop, co-founder and COO of Brooklinen. “There’s really no reason to settle for less than amazing sheets!”

While the verdict is still out on the importance of thread count, it’s important to choose a high-quality fabric—Fulop favors long-staple cotton.

Want to make your sheets last for longer? Buy a bunch of sets so you can alternate between them—and make sure you wash them properly.

“Washing them in warm or cool water and drying on normal, as opposed to super hot settings, can prolong the life of your sheets,” Fulop adds.

But really, we had you at “buy a bunch of sets,” right?

Dinnerware: A Lifetime

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There’s a reason your great, great grandmother’s China has been passed down from generation to generation. Unless your plates, mugs, and bowls fall and break, they’ll last for a lifetime.

“We’ve all had our times with the cheaper, more disposable items from college or post-college years,” says Rachel Cohen, co-founder and co-CEO of Snowe. “But a good ‘grown-up’ set of dinnerware should last you through tens of thousands of dishwasher cycles, dinner parties, and cereal-dinners on the sofa.”

Anyone looking for new plates should consider a dishwasher-safe porcelain.

“We’re big proponents of porcelain,” Andres Modak, co-founder and co-CEO at Snowe. “In general, porcelain is harder, stronger, and denser than other ceramics, which makes it more resistant to chips, scratches, and cracks.”

Cohen adds porcelain is non-porous, which means it doesn’t absorb water or stain. Translation? You can sip tea and devour pasta sauce (stain-free) for years to come.

Dining Set: 15 to 20 Years

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Makes sense, doesn’t it? Unless you’re sitting on your table or moving to a smaller home, there’s very little reason to get rid of your dining set. However, Maureen Welton, vice president of design and creative for Article, says you should replace your set if your table and chairs are wobbly or unbalanced.

It’s no secret that better quality pieces last longer, typically between 15-20 years. For a dining set that will last for that long, look for solid, kiln-dried woods like walnut, oak, and rubberwood.

“Kiln-drying is a manufacturing process that slowly heats wood in a controlled environment to removes most of the moisture, protecting against future warping or cracking in the wood,” Welton explains. “[Also] look for metal reinforcement in the understructure, which helps keep a table stable for a much longer time.

As for upkeep, tighten loose bolts and screws, keep your set away from heat and moisture, and use coasters. ICYMI: They’re more than decorations.

Sofa: 7 to 15 Years

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All sofas are not created equal, which makes it hard to put an expiration date on yours, but you can expect to hold on to yours for anywhere from seven to 15 years.

“How quickly you need to replace your sofa is entirely dependent upon the quality of the construction and materials to begin with,” explains Nidhi Kapur, founder and CEO of Maiden Home. “This is a little tricky to understand though since the price and quality of a sofa can be completely at odds!”

However, she does share three key signs it’s time to buy a new couch:

1. Noise: Is your sofa squeaking or cracking when you sit down on it?

2. Saggy Cushions: Do your cushions look deflated? Does the fabric look like it’s pooling where you typically sit?

3. Wear and Tear: Is the upholstery fabric tearing at all, are there visible stains?

In the market for a new couch? Kapur says it’s a good idea to spend a little more money on a quality frame and choose fabrics from trusted brands like Crypton Home and Sunbrella. But if you’re looking to maintain a sofa you already own, flip and rotate the cushions every few months.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)