If you visit home furniture stores, you will find a bewildering array of house furniture. Nearly all of it looks beautiful on the showroom floor, but it can be hard to tell at first glance which furniture will stand the test of time and which will not. Here are some clues to bear in mind the next time you are visiting home furniture stores. These tips can help you decide which furnishings are worth your time and money.
Materials matter when it comes to house furniture. If you have a relatively large home furniture budget, it’s a good idea to look for items that are made of solid hardwoods such as oak, cherry, maple, birch, mahogany, walnut or teak. Softer woods such as pine, cedar, redwood or fir are a good choice if your budget won’t cover hardwood.
For smaller budgets, look for home furniture that is constructed of plywood, rather than particle board. Hardwood veneers over plywood can make very nice, high quality furnishings that are both beautiful and durable. If you can’t afford hardwood veneers, consider purchasing furnishings that utilize durable laminate veneers.
Good materials are an indicator of quality, but even the best materials aren’t worth much if the furniture’s construction is shoddy. Over the years, home furniture makers have developed construction methods that produce extremely durable, sturdy furniture. Unfortunately, some manufacturers have figured out shortcuts that make it easier and cheaper to mass produce house furniture but result in inferior items that will not have the durability of properly constructed pieces.
The points at which separate pieces of wood are connected together, called joints, represent potential weak spots in a piece of furniture. For this reason, strong joints are a good indicator of the quality level of a piece. The highest quality joints are made by carving two pieces of wood so that they lock together when joined. These beautiful joints are found in the finest furnishings. A more budget-friendly but still very strong joint is made by using dowels or screws. Staples are a cheap shortcut, and you should avoid pieces made with them you find any at home furniture stores.
Corners should be reinforced with blocks of wood that can be seen from the inside of the unit. Well-constructed furniture will have back panels attached to the back and dust panels between drawers, so these blocks may not be visible. However, gently nudging the piece will reveal how stable it is. If the blocks are in place, nudging the item should cause very little movement.
Always try the drawers if the piece has them. They should fit their openings well and line up with each other. You should be able to slide them in and out effortlessly, but you should not be able to pull them all the way out of the base. Doors should swing easily and noiselessly and should close neatly.