Purchasing home furnishings - I have always started with a sketch of what I wanted in each of my rooms in my home. When I lacked inspiration I would check out magazines in the grocery aisles or online. The Houzz is great bookmarking site that truly insprires me. I have seen every style there is there and you can use it to duplicate their stuff in your rooms. Once you have an idea of what you like and in which rooms of your home you would like them in, creating a plan is next on the list along with it a budget for each room.
Restoring home furnishings - When you have a cherished or sentimental piece of furniture that has been made with quality, that is in need of some restoring if its an antique, leave it to the professionals do not attempt to fix it as it can lose the value in the piece. You can find them in your local neighborhood or google in your zip.
However, if its a repair on a non antique item and you want to keep it, the first thing I do is check out what is truly the issue with the piece. If its a loose leg, or a scratch, or water stain, etc. There are plenty of things you can get to repair it yourself at your local hardware store or Homedepot or Lowes. I am a do it yourselfer - if there is a word for that, but, I do find that doing my research first of the problem then seeking the fixing is the best way to handle.
Storing home furnishings - When you have to store it and it has true value get it done professionally most moving companies can help you with how to protect it if you needed to move it. What they have can do the same for you.
Selling home furnishings - again if its an antique leave the selling up to professionals to get the most back from the valued piece. The furniture antique auctions are the best but, do your homework and know the value before you go there. If its not antique, and not needed, good old craigslist works best.
Ikea versas Antiques - its an age thing for me. The younger you are the more you will visit Ikea the older the more you collect antiques for their style, duration, and money investment.
How to make furniture last: Simple, keep people's feet off your couch, and their bottoms off the ends so it does not get weak and buckle. Get it cleaned professionally, or do it yourself when needed. Polish as necessary and wax when its appropriate, dusting on a regular basis will keep your furniture and household items their estimated duration.