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The question

Should I be worried about buying an upholstered sofa if it's not slipcovered and can't be easily cleaned?

The answer

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Not at all. There are so many ways to protect furniture today, so my rule is to buy quality upholstered goods in a timeless style and keep recovering for life. First, treat the sofa when it's new and then call in a service for upkeep or when a stubborn stain occurs. Keep in mind that the more surfaces a sofa has, the more longevity you will get from it, stain-wise: If the cushions are loose and can be flipped over when they start to look grubby, you have twice as many lives in your couch. Also, buy an extra couple of yards of fabric – your retailer can order it through the manufacturer – as a preventative measure if you have red-wine lovers in your life.

If they spill, pour lots of salt on the stain, don't touch it with water and call in the professionals. If you do wind up purchasing a sofa with slipcovers, don't wash them yourself, as they all tend to shrink. Take them to a dry cleaner or, better yet, keep them on the sofa and have them cleaned on-site.

Follow architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design dilemma? E-mail

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