6 Tips for Buying High-Quality, Low-Priced Furniture

From purchasing at the right time to selecting colors, here’s what you require to search for furniture that lasts and saves time and cash while you’re at it.

I made it to my mid-twenties with roommate’s couches and sleeping on a hand-me-down cushion from my parents. But then I moved out of state and was forced to furnish a home. I spent six months scouring each furniture store and garage sale within a 50-mile radius of my home. You can see the result in this article.

Now I’m in the market for a new couch and might have a couple of armchairs. So I’m back in the furniture game. This time, however, I do not find just on price. I am looking for quality as well. I’ve talked to furniture sales peripatetically, interior designers, even a craftsman who makes furniture. Previously I told you what I learned, check out this video about saving on furniture from Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson.

Know Your Wood Types

Wood furniture falls into three categories: Solid wood, veneers and particle board or compound wood.

Solid wood furniture is generally more expensive than other types and looks great, but can be sensitive to scratches and water rings. Veneers have an inexpensive wood base covered by different thin layers of better-quality wood. Because of the cheaper core, veneers aren’t as expensive as solid wood pieces. Particleboard and compound wood pieces are made from a combination of wood pulp, plastics and rosin, originally the scraps of the furniture world. These are the cheapest type of wood furniture and can look decent, but won’t keep up for decades.

Check Drawers and Cabinets

Open the drawers and cabinets. Ensure the drawer pulls all the way out, latches properly and then shuts evenly. Ensure doors open, stay in an open position (instead of snapping closed while you’re trying to found something out of the cabinet), and shut again. Check the handles and knobs. They should fit strength and not jiggle or turn.

Wood Furniture Buying Guide

Avoid Nails and Glue

Look for wood joined at ends and corners, none glued or nailed in. Known in the manufacturing world as wood joinery, these pieces are studier and can take more weight. Check out Basic Woodworking Joints from Wood Magazine to see examples.

Consider Your Lifestyle

Let your lifestyle assign what colors and fabrics you like. For example, I have a large, hyper dog every moment climbing on the furniture. Whether I brought home a white suede couch, it would be torn apart and stained in minutes. Whether you have kids or pets, stick with dark colors and stain-resistant tough fabrics like linen or tweed.

Be Realistic About Colors

I once purchased an orange corduroy armchair at a furniture outlet store. At the time, my home was decorated in orange, blue, and white, and I thought I’d love those colors forever. As it matures out, “Forever” was about a year. I got so sick of the bright orange I sold the chair for a fractioned of what I paid. Learn from my mistake. Stick to impartial colors for your large and more expensive pieces. Save bold colors for decor pieces.

Inspect The Legs

The legs should be heavy, wood and jointed to the structure of the sofa or chair, not nailed. Plastic, rubber or metal legs don’t look as nice, can tear up your floors, and won’t keep up as well. The same goes for nailed-in wood legs. Whether you’re spending more than $1,000 on a sofa, look for one with a fifth leg in the middle. They provide additional support – you won’t search them on many cheaper sofas.

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