The Hunt for High Quality

Over the past few months I have seen article after article talking about the shocking decline in furniture quality. The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Business Insider all highlight how furniture has taken the same path as “fast fashion”. Innovative materials, new manufacturing processes, and cost reduction measures are all to blame. Unfortunately, so is the general feeling by consumers that furniture does not need to last long.

If you are reading this you are probably like me: I want beautiful furniture and I want it to last!

Here are a few tips for how I shop for quality:

  1. High prices and well-known brand names do not mean quality. Some very expensive couches (that come from brands we all know) are made from low quality pressed wood, cheap fabrics, and quick manufacturing processes.
  2. Understand the materials used to produce your furniture. If it is sold wood, make sure it is a familiar wood of quality, like oak or a high-grade plywood. Cheaper particle boards and rubber wood are often used to reduce cost.
  3. Does the piece have a lot of staples, screws, nails, and glue? Higher quality furniture usually hides these things (if they are even used), while including joints of high craftsmanship.
  4. Use your senses. Does the piece feel solid and stable? It should feel appropriately heavy. Does it have a chemical or synthetic smell? Does it look like a quality piece? 
  5. Do the zippers close easily and are they hidden/covered to prevent tears from rubbing? Do drawers close smoothly? Are hand carved/painted details present? Do the cushions maintain their shape and hold firm when sitting on them? These types of details all indicate a higher quality manufacturing.

These are just a few general recommendations. Buying from a trusted vendor and asking for professional input are always safe strategies, too.

Remember that you sit on and around your furniture most of your life... make sure it is something you love!

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