I’m so excited to share a quick furniture buying guide video lesson, straight from the Design Center here in Philadelphia.
In this tutorial, you’ll hear me share my award-winning interior designer secrets on how to spot quality in furniture when you’re out there shopping for your projects.
Let’s go do this!
The Furniture Buying Guide for Case Goods or Wood Furniture
Let’s start by talking about something called case goods, that’s wood furniture.
Here’s what you need to look for when buying wood furniture:
You may have heard about this before -Dovetail joint. Dovetailing is a sure sign of a well-made piece of furniture.
Quick intro to this technique: Dovetailing is a joinery technique. It is used to join sides, like that of a drawer.
It is an interlocking joint where a set of “pins,“ cut out on the end of one board, interlock with a set of “tails“ cut on the end of another board rather than a simple glue and staple joint.
It is more of a bench made technique, and it is better in quality and workmanship.
If you see any furniture with a magnificent curve, you’re probably looking at a piece of better-made furniture.
Do you know how wood is curved? Not easily.
You do it over a period by applying pressure, heat, and a little humidity, like very fine steam.
You’re trying to work the wood into a curve. Then you have to dry it down, so it stays in the correct position.
Third tip especially for when you are shopping for your dressers and so forth, we want you to be really careful about how easy they are to operate.
Some of them even have something called soft close drawers.
Finally, something else that is a big trend right now…
All of the caning and the rush seats. Before you buy one, you want to rub your hand over it and make sure there is nothing splintery.
Some of them really feel as though you could pick up a splinter or catch a sweater on them.
You also want to look for very tight consistent weave across the piece.
Furniture Buying Guide Tips for Upholstered Furniture
So now let’s talk about some upholstery and something I really want you to think about if you are putting pattern on upholstery…
There is something called flow match.
Flow match is the way the fabric will flow and match from the back to the seat cushion, and down the front. And when you have a pattern, it has to be a fit flow match, otherwise, the pattern will look very choppy.
Watch the video to see an example of good flow match, where the directional pattern just seems to continue all the way down the piece from back, down to the front rail.
This is a more costly thing to do because it results in a lot of wasted fabric, cutting and pitching pieces of fabric.
Which is why you don’t get to see small-scale, big-scale or large-scale fabrics done in low-cost catalogs or furniture showrooms.
It is expensive to do good looking flow match.
Last but not least, let’s look at upholstery in terms of what do you look for in quality.
In balance I want to you think about straight seams, straight welts.
I want you to see if there is puckering on the seat cushion.
If you see puckering in the store before a rear-end has sat on it 24/7, don’t buy it because it is only going to pucker and sag even more.
The whole thing with the sofa is the quality of the cushion inside. That is the stuff that you can’t see, but it makes all the difference in how the piece of furniture is going to wear for the long haul.
So sit on it, stand up, sit on it, stand up, lay down on it, stand up to get a fair idea.
Try to see how this piece is going to perform for you and if possible, put your money into the best quality sofa you can afford.
Whether you are doing the highest density foam or, if you can, spring down blend; spring blend; poly and spring, where there is a spring on the inside literally wrapped in poly and maybe a layer down. I am a big fan of spring. But again, it can get pricey.
Quick tip: With foam, you want the highest density you can find, so that you have a beautiful, long-wearing cushion.
How to Spot Quality Furniture Finishes
Let’s talk about furniture finishes or wood furniture case goods. Particularly now, with the distressed look trending hot and heavy, you want to make sure you run your hands over that furniture top, whether it is the kitchen table or dining table.
You would be surprised by how splintery some of these can become when you are talking about lower-priced products.
So, if possible, touch it and feel it.
If you are ordering it from a catalog make sure you find out whether or not there is a return option or what happens if there is a quality issue.
Because you will find some quality issues, rough edges or surfaces, on lower-cost goods.
You want to make sure that it is nice and smooth to the touch.
It’s the same for the inlay work. Whether it is a bone inlay or a faux stone inlay, you want to rub your hands across it to make sure it is smooth.
You may find a soft curve or bumpiness, that is fine.
You want to make sure there are no rough edges or anything that looks like it could pick up and then flake and chip off.
Want to know how you can use color and furniture to give your room an instant face-lift? Know how to perfect your furniture layout WITHOUT drawing? Or maybe you want to use the lost art of accessorizing to transform your room easily and quickly?