There are four key ways for you to judge if you are dealing with the highest quality furniture. Follow our guide to help you find out how.
A key indicator of whether a piece of furniture is good quality is the material from which it’s made. Look out for furniture that’s made from solid wood such as Oak, as this denotes quality; and it tends to be more hardwearing than a veneer.
When determining whether a piece of furniture is constructed from wood throughout, be sure to look all around the piece, from the back section of a cupboard to the inside of the drawers. It’s often these hidden sections which reveal the poor quality of a piece, look out for the cupboard with fibreboard at the back. Fibreboard is often incorporated in modern furniture, but it’s not hard wearing and doesn’t respond well to damp. Direct Furniture Land has a range of solid oak furniture in which you can be assured of the quality. It’s a good idea to look at one of the top 10 furniture manufacturers.
Confusingly, there are exceptions to the general rule, and you will find examples of quality furniture that incorporate a veneer – an eighteenth-century chest of drawers that uses a veneer of walnut on an oak base for example. However, the quality of these pieces will be obvious from their construction:
So when you’re trying to determine the quality of a piece of furniture, take a close look at the construction of the piece too. Look at the way in which the furniture is joined – does it incorporate dovetail joints for example – as these are a sign of quality and are built to last. If you can spot glue, nails or staples, these tend to indicate a poorer quality piece, while screws and dowels indicate a more careful construction and better quality.
If you’re buying a chest of drawers, pull one of the drawers out and consider if it runs smoothly. Look at the base of the drawer to see if it is fitted neatly into a groove and again if the corners are dovetailed – as all of these things indicate quality. When you’re considering a table look underneath it to see it if incorporates corner blocks or bracing to give it strength. Take a close look at the feet and legs of the furniture you’re considering purchasing, are they in proportion to the rest of the piece? Also, do they incorporate turning or carving as these indicate a piece of furniture on which time, attention and care have been taken.
Another indication of quality is the finish on a piece of furniture. The finish represents a significant portion of the manufacturing costs and can, therefore, be a part of the process on which costs are cut. Look to see if the polish is even in depth, smoothness and colour. When chosen and applied well, the finish of a piece will enhance the natural properties of the wood. On an antique piece, the patina or lustre of the wood will be enhanced by repeated polishing, dusting, rubbing and use over the years.
A fourth indication of the quality of a piece of furniture is the design. Good design will show a respect for the materials used, be honest in the construction (no hidden shortcuts), give thought to the proportions of the piece and allow the function to inform the design. Good design also exhibits that added extra ‘something’ that it‘s difficult to put a label on, call it intuition or inspiration on the part of the designer – the ‘X’ factor. You’ll know it when you see it.
There you have it, our guide to what to the four key factors you need to consider when looking for a good quality piece when you are looking around the best quality furniture stores. We hope you’ve found it helpful.
How to make sure you get the highest quality furniture – words Alexa Wang