Many things can be done to protect furniture and lengthen its usable life, according to HGTV. Vacuum upholstered furniture weekly to keep dust and dirt from damaging the fabric, and flip and rotate removable cushions regularly to even out patterns of wear. Use arm caps made from identical fabric to protect chair and sofa arms. Spray-on fabric protectors protect upholstery from stains and spills. Closely follow label directions.
Keep leather furniture away from heat sources and sunlight. Leather is particularly vulnerable to this type of damage. Vacuum leather furniture regularly to remove dust and dirt. Check with the manufacturer to find out what leather cleaning product and method is recommended for the specific type of leather.
Dust wood furniture frequently with a soft, damp cloth or lamb's wool duster. If using a cloth, dampen it lightly with water, wood polish or a spray made for dusting. Since wood naturally contains water in its fibers, keep wood furniture away from heat sources and direct sunlight to protect it from drying out. Choose either furniture polish or wax to protect wood, and never use both products on wood furniture.
It is also a good idea to check with a furniture expert before attempting to clean antique furniture, or furniture that is in poor condition, without any previous experience.