Looking for Quality Furniture? 2 Things You Should Pay Attention To

As soon as you make the decision to replace that sofa or ailing dining room set, you might head to the store to peruse your options. Unfortunately, if you are like most people, it can be easy to get carried away with attractive décor, hypothetical living rooms, and the promise of saving a little cash. Before you know it, you might be greeting a delivery truck in your driveway. But will that furniture really last? Is it what you really want?

If you want to purchase high-end, quality furniture, here are two things to pay attention to as you shop:

1: Material Quality

Once you start shopping for furniture, you might notice that most pieces look pretty similar—with the exception of the price tag. However, if you are looking for furniture that will stand the test of time, looking for quality materials should be your top priority. Here are a few things you should keep in mind as you examine furniture:

  • Wood Types: As you shop for wood furniture, look for hardwood over softwood, which tends to be sturdier and longer lasting. To detect hardwood, run your fingernail along the surface of the wood. The deeper the indentation, the softer the wood. Keep in mind that roughly 80% of furniture is made with softwoods and hardwood tends to be more expensive. However, your investment might mean furniture that lasts longer and stands up to your kids.
  • Leather Types: Bonded leather might sound like an exotic option, but "bonded" is actually code for "not 100% real leather." Bonded leather is made from fusing scraps of leather together with fabric, and then covering the entire thing with a polyurethane surface. The result is a fabric that mimics leather, but lacks the texture and scent of the real stuff. If you are shopping for real leather, look for the words "top grain." Top grain leather is made from the outermost portion of the cowhide, so it is soft and supple.  
  • Fabrics: When you shop for upholstered furniture, look for tightly woven fabrics, which tend to wear better. Also, pay attention to how the showroom pieces are wearing. If you spot piling or tears, keep shopping.

As you shop, don't be afraid to grill your salesperson about furniture materials. If they don't know the answers to your questions, ask if they can look up the manufacturer's specifications for you. Write down furniture details so that you can review your notes later.

2: Construction

Unfortunately, finding quality materials isn't the only thing you need to worry about. The quality of the construction can also make or break that brand new furniture piece. Unfortunately, if you don't pay attention, you might not realize that until a few years down the road, long after your warranty expires. Here are a few ways to detect quality construction:

  • Frame Joinery: If you are shopping for furniture with an internal frame, such as a sofa, a loveseat, or an ottoman, look for pieces held together with dowels and glue or tongue-and-groove joints. If a piece is stapled together, the joinery might fail the second one of your friends plops down to watch a show.     
  • Cushioning: Take the time to squish the arms of upholstered seating. If you can feel the frame inside the furniture piece, the cushioning might not be thick enough. Thick cushioning is more comfortable, and will help your furniture piece to retain its shape.

As you shop, don't be afraid to sit or lay on pieces to try them out. You might feel silly, but it could help you to spot furniture pieces that you won't like down the road.

By knowing how to spot a quality furniture piece, you might be able to save money and enjoy your new investment. Start getting an idea of your options by contacting companies like Design Center Furniture.