When buying new furniture, everyone is faced with the same choice: do you go for something fast, cheap, and easy? Or something more expensive that will be more durable? It can be tempting to choose something inexpensive in the moment, as you may want something as quickly as possible.
For some types of furniture or situations, choosing inexpensive pieces can be a good idea. If you work in home staging, for example, perhaps you don’t need to spend $5000 on a sofa that no one will ever sit on! However, if you’re looking for furniture to furnish high traffic areas, like waiting rooms, healthcare facilities, the hospitality industry, or your home, high quality modern furniture is the better option.
There are some features to look for when trying to find high quality modern furniture. It’s not as simple as just looking at the price tag!
Types of Wood
There are different types of wood that can be used to make furniture. Ash, mahogany, oak, and walnut are just some of the most popular types of wood used in modern furniture. Furniture can either be solid wood or veneer, meaning less expensive wood is covered in a solid wood finish. Both these options are used in high quality modern furniture and are typically durable and long lasting.
Watch Out for Particle Board
Particle board is another type of material used as a base for a lot of modern furniture. This is typically used in cheaper furniture, as it won’t stand up to heavy use over a long period of time. Typically, it is made from a combination of wood pulp, plastics, and resin – not as solid or durable as solid wood or veneers. It’s not typically used in high quality modern furniture.
Cushions and Upholstery
Depending on the type of furniture you’re buying, you should check if the cushions can easily be removed from the upholstery. For things like armchairs, dining chairs, and even couches, you should be able to easily remove the cushion covers from the foam or down. Although this may seem like a small feature, it will mean way less of a headache in the future should you need to wash the covers or want to change their colour or material. Lower quality furniture typically doesn’t come with this option.
Glue, Nails, Screws, and Joints
There are many ways that furniture can be put together. Wood joinery, where notches are cut into wood pieces and fit together, and certain types of screws are often used by high quality furniture manufacturers to reduce the risk of cracking and sagging in furniture after long term use. Things like staples and nails are less desirable (depending on their location and function). If you can visibly see adhesive like glue holding parts of the furniture together, this usually indicates lower quality furniture. You shouldn’t be able to easily see any materials used to hold the furniture together, let alone if it’s simple glue. Your furniture probably won’t last very long!
Knots are natural in solid wood, however, they are also the areas of the tree that are weaker than the rest. If your furniture, such as a table, has a lot of knots visible, it means that the wood is weaker than it would be if there were less knots. This is why many high quality furniture manufacturers shy away from using pine, typically a very knotty wood. Make sure you check the base of your furniture for knots and if you see more than a few, it may not be high quality!
Find out what the density of the foam is. Upholstered furniture should have a seat foam density rating of at least 1.8 pounds or higher. If the chair or sofa has removable seat cushions, unzip them and take a look inside as well to check for internal compartments in the foam that will stop it from settling.