Picking out furniture might seem like a daunting task. It is not always easy to tell what furniture will stand the wear and tear of life. What exactly makes a quality piece of furniture? Here are some tips to help you find out.
The Type Of Wood
There are three types of wood used to make furniture: solid wood, veneers, and particle board. Solid wood looks great but is susceptible to scratches and watermarks. Veneers are an inexpensive wood base covered with layers of higher quality wood. Particle board is considered the scraps of the furniture world. Always avoid particle board.
The wood used should be hard enough to be scratch resistant and free of any errors. Run your hand down the furniture to feel for any knots or other flaws. Also look for any scratches or cracks. If the wood is plywood, then there should be at least nine layers used. Solid hardwood furniture is considered high quality furniture because of its physical beauty and because the strength of the wood helps the furniture last for years.
You want to avoid any furniture that is held together by nails, staples, or glue. This type of furniture will not hold up well against weight. The best furniture has the wood joined at the ends or corners. Legs made up of plastic, rubber, or metal can tear up the floors. Check the legs to make sure they all touch the floor and do not wobble. Also, press down on the corners and see if it makes the piece wobble.
Check all drawers and latches to make sure that they work properly. The thin sheets of wood between drawers will improve structural strength as well as protect the contents of the drawer. Drawers should run smoothly on grooves and have stops to keep them from being pulled all the way out. The drawers should not touch the sides of the dresser because changes in humidity can cause expansion and contraction.
The Type Of Springs
Cone, coil, sinuous, and grind springs can all be good. If you want firm furniture go for traditional coils. If you like a softer feel look for zigzag coils. Steel spring coils should be hand tied in at least eight different places where the adjoining coils and frame meet for better stability. Remove the cushions if possible and press down to test the springs. They should feel evenly spaced and resistant to pressure.
The Cushions And Upholstery
You should look for cushions with removable covers that have the same pattern on both sides. Flip the cushion every month to keep the wear on the cushion even. Inside the seat cover, there should be foam wrapped with dacron or cotton. There should also be a protective outer cover. Cushions made of just foam are less durable and comfortable. If there are back cushions, make sure that they have multiple internal compartments to keep their filling from settling to the bottom. If you squeeze the arms of the couch or sofa you should not be able to feel the frame through the padding.
Upholstered furniture can come in velvet, tapestry, woven wool, or other heavy materials. The denser the material is, the more likely it will hold up to wear. Furniture with lined skirts or weights will hold their shape better over time.
For more information about finding quality furniture, or to see a selection of our hardwood heirloom furniture, visit Amish Oak in Texas at either of our showrooms in New Braunfels and San Antonio, TX.