When furnishing a home, it is smart to purchase quality pieces that will last a lifetime instead of replacing inferior pieces in a few short years. Today’s disposable flat packed culture adds to the piles of waste in landfills, and can be avoided by purchasing quality, well-constructed pieces that can be passed down. Understanding a few simple tips will make finding well-made quality furniture easy.
A commonly used material in the construction of furniture is wood. Yet, not all wood is the same. Some manufacturers use solid wood, others opt for particleboard or wood composites that break down over time. Other materials manufacturers may use include wood veneers or thin wood layers glued to a plywood core, which also will not hold up over time. When it comes to quality, solid wood is the best choice. Solid woods are broken into two groups, hard woods and soft woods. Hardwoods are cherry, maple and walnut. They are the most expensive of woods and last the longest. Hardwood species are identifiable in most antiques. Oak and pine are soft woods used in some furniture pieces. They are better options than wood veneers or composite woods.
When shopping for chairs, drawers and table legs look for sturdy well-constructed pieces. Chairs ought to have crossbars that connect the four legs half way from the seat to the floor to add extra strength and stability. A well-constructed chair or table ought to have corners held together with wood blocks and screwed into the seat frame or tabletop.
Upholstered chairs and sofas with wide seats, extra webbing and a padded decking add support to the frame and keep away that sinking feeling when one sits down. When sitting to try out the cushioned seat, bounce on it. If it does not move, there is a good chance it is one piece of foam that will break down over time. A quality cushion needs to have some give to it. Remove the cushion and press down on the frame, the coils ought to bounce right back. A wood frame felt under a thigh is a sure sign the padding is too thin and the chair will not last long.
Look over the upholstery carefully. The patterns at the seams ought to match up perfectly with straight even stitching and no wavering. There should be no puckering at the corners. Cushions with removable washable covers or the ability to flip over for more even wear are a plus. When selecting upholstery consider your lifestyle. A home with a dog or a several children would do well with a heavier weight fabric on the sofa that endures heavy wear.
Avoid dresser drawers with stapled or glued sides, as these are signs of poor construction and will likely fall apart in a few years. Instead, look for dove tailing and tongue and groove construction. Both are better quality and will hold up over time. If the drawers have metal rails, the rails should glide in and out easily without any wobbling or sticking.
Armed with these tips, shopping for quality furniture will be an easy task. While cost is a concern, aim for the best that the budget will allow. Often times, consignment shops, thrift stores and antique dealers will stock the better quality items.