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How To Select Quality Furniture

How To Select Quality Furniture

Mid-Quality OttomanShopping for furniture can quickly become overwhelming if you are not armed with the information you need to choose the best pieces for your home and budget.  Knowing what to look for in quality furniture will help you get the most for your decorating dollars.

Furniture is truly a commodity where you will get what you pay for.  A $500 sofa is simply not going to perform as well as a $2500 sofa in most cases.  To some degree, you are paying for a name brand when buying furniture with a well-known tag.  Overall, however, the quality of the furniture is actually reflected in its price.

When shopping for upholstered seating pieces, such as chairs, sofas, benches and ottomans, there are several things that you should keep an eye out for.  The very best upholstered furniture contains 8-way (minimum) hand-tied springs under the seat cushions.  That means the coiled springs in the seat are tied together by hand to keep them in place and performing properly.  Furniture labeled with “sinuous spring” construction will not hold up as well to heavy use in the long term.  This type of spring is in the shape of an “S”, stretched out across the seat, and will usually be found in less expensive furniture.

Ottoman Springs

The sinuous springs are visible underneath this ottoman.

Another tip when shopping for upholstered furniture is to lift one end of the piece.  The heavier it feels, the better the quality of the wood frame inside.  You should also be able to sit in the piece and move around, without the frame squeaking or moving excessively at the joints.

Cushions are another indicator of good upholstered furniture.  They should be firm, not too soft, and should bounce back quickly when you rise out of the chair or sofa.  If you sink into the cushion too much, it can indicate that the foam is low-density, which will not stand up to repeated use.  Down-wrapped cushions offer softness along with the density of foam found underneath.  On the very best furniture, fabric patterns are well-matched and seams are nicely finished with welt or cording.

With wood furniture, also called casegoods, there are several things to watch for.  First, the piece should have nice tight joints.  Ideally, it should have a dovetail or similar joint, which will ensure years of use without the joints loosening or coming apart.  The best furniture is usually made in the United States or Canada, and uses real wood instead of particle board or fiberboard panels.  The stained or painted portions of the piece should be smooth and relatively even in color, unless the furniture has been deliberately distressed.

Although I recommend purchasing the best furniture you can comfortably afford, I have found that most people fall into two different categories when it comes to purchasing furniture.  One group prefers to buy heirloom-quality furniture, at a premium price.  They intend to have upholstered pieces reupholstered and used for decades, or passed down to their children or grandchildren.

The other group of clients likes to purchase less expensive furniture, knowing that they will likely have to replace it in less than 10 years due to wear.  They like spending less on furniture, as it gives them the freedom to redecorate more often without breaking their budget each time.  In the end, both groups of people spend similar amounts of money over the course of 30 years.

What type of furniture you wish to buy is a personal choice.  Now that you are armed with more information, you can be sure that the furniture you are purchasing is actually worth the price on the tag.

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One Response to How To Select Quality Furniture

  1. […] the seat cushions, while lower-quality furniture uses sinuous springs to support the cushion (see my previous article on this topic). Second, lift one end of the piece (if you are able to do so safely) and feel how heavy it is. The […]

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