There is nothing more disappointing then spending a your hard earned money on something you expect to last a long time, only to have it fall apart 8 months to 1 year later. We’ve put together some tips to help you identify quality construction in your furniture and avoid those heartbreaking pitfalls.
- The first thing you should check is obviously the overall appearance of the furniture. If you don’t like the look then it doesn’t matter how well it’s built. Sometimes it is hard to tell, but you can usually get a feel for the quality by the finish, the thickness of the wood, and overall weight behind the piece.
- Check out the construction of the furniture if you know what to look for or ask your sales associate about the construction. Joint construction is the most reliable and comes in many forms. It can include French Dovetail, English Dovetail, Tongue & Groove, Mortise & Tendon and much more. Anything that uses staples to hold the furniture together or if you can see glue, it is usually what you want to avoid.
- When you sit on a piece of new quality furniture, it should not squeak and it should not wobble. You want something that feels supportive, not like its going to give out under you after a few uses. You should be testing the furniture yourself and see what the furniture does. Does it feel sturdy? Are there weak spots? Is the finish separating on the seams? Is the veneer lifting on the edges? Does the finish have a nice hand to it when you touch it? Do the drawers/doors open and close easily? These are all things you should rule out in order to get to your desired quality furniture.
- If you can’t find many reviews on the brand or company you want to purchase furniture from, it may not be the best sign. This isn’t always the case, but if you can, find a reputable manufacturer or distributer, chances are you will get the assistance and support you need in purchasing the furniture you want.
Type of Wood
- Soft wood or also known as Medium-density Fiberboard (MDF) when used correctly can make great quality furniture, but you need to be sure of how and where it is used in that piece and the density of it. Lots of quality manufacturers will use MDF on the side panels of media units and table tops because it doesn’t warp and change with humidity. A quality veneer on a dense MDF product is by no means cheap or less quality. When a veneer top is used for example on a table top you also want to make sure the sides of the table are wrapped with a veneer as well to prevent chipping. Veneers add support to the structure and great designs that you just can’t get with wood. Be careful with any hardwoods with knots as those are susceptible to cracking. Plywood is great, but make sure it has a few layers and is nice and thick.
- There are a few details that good quality furniture may have that would be helpful in easily determining its worth. Chairs and other items may have a corner block. This small detail when put into furniture creates extra stability, which adds strength and longevity. Dust panels are another item to look for so you know the manufacturer takes that extra time and care in building their furniture. A dust panel is usually on items with drawers to help prevent moth and dust from entering drawers where your clothes and good will be kept. Cardboard is not an acceptable dust cover as many lower end manufacturers try to do.
Things to avoid
- If the furniture you’re considering buying has any rough surfaces, splintered edges or dull spots you might want to rethink things. One thing that shouldn’t be a problem is consistency of color. Are there 5 of the same chairs to choose from but their shade of cherry is slightly off for all of them? That means the care and inspection weren’t necessarily put into those items. When plywood is used make sure there is at least 5 layers. Finally another big shortcut that a lot of manufacturers make is with the drawers on dressers and chests. When you pull a drawer out look to see how tall the side rails are and how deep the drawer is. Some manufacturers won’t make the drawers as deep as the piece of furniture to save on material and also make the sides of the drawers shorter than the drawer front to save on material. Ultimately giving you less storage space. When it comes to quality furniture, most should not have these things, if it does, you’ll want to triple check what it is you’re buying.
Take your time when choosing furniture and make sure you are getting what you paid for. These items may be something you carry with you for an entire lifetime and you want it to last and look just as great for years to come.