Cheap furniture is so readily available now, especially flat-packed from certain stores, that we tend to go with the lowest price over quality. But you could argue that the best value furniture is something that might not be cheap but lasts the longest. For a lot of people, the durability of their furniture is more important than saving a few bucks. If you have kids or pets, your furniture could take a lot of knocks, and you want it to last as long as possible. But how do you know that your furniture is going to last, and you aren’t paying too much for something that will fall apart in a few months? Before you buy your furniture, take note of some of the points below to make sure you’re paying for quality.
When you buy wooden furniture, you might think that paying for a more expensive wood is the best way to go. But you don’t have to buy all your furniture in mahogany to get good quality. In reality, any solid wood or even a sturdy plywood will last you a long time. If you choose plywood, make sure it has a least nine layers, so you know it will withstand some knocks. There are a few checks you can do to test the quality of the wood, such as looking for knots, which could crack after enough use. If you want a higher quality wood for a lower price, get furniture with a veneer, which is a thin layer of a good wood over one that’s not as good.
Apart from the material, the other thing you should be looking for with wooden furniture is how it’s put together. You should check the joints to see how they’re constructed, looking for wooden dowels or screws over glue or staples. Look for dovetail joints or mortise and tenon ones, which are better quality, and make sure there’s a reinforcing block on each corner.
The fabric used for upholstered furniture is important too. Firstly, think about the fabrics and materials that will last longer, and which you can clean more efficiently. For example, leather sofas might be more durable than those upholstered in other materials, but they can also be difficult to repair if they are stained or damaged. Don’t forget to think about what’s inside cushions too. It’s better if the foam also has a cotton, dacron or down wrapped around it, and maybe a protective cover too. The best way to work out how good springs and inner construction are is to try it out. Look for reversible cushions too because they’ll last you twice as long.
Making furniture last outdoors can be doubly difficult. People often used to buy cheap plastic furniture, but there’s no need for that. If you’re buying wood, rattan or furniture in another material, make sure it’s weatherproofed. It needs to be protected from both sunshine and rain, so the color doesn’t fade and the shape doesn’t warp.
Remember that although you won’t get the best quality with cheaper furniture, it doesn’t mean you have to pay the highest price either. Choose your pieces based on how it looks, not the price tag.