Furniture Buying Tips Guide

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Furniture Buying Tips

Furniture shopping...does just thinking about it make you feel tired and run down?  Wood, Leather, Upholstered, style, function, lifestyle etc.  Just thinking about it can wear you out!  It doesn't have to be that way.  Doing your homework can take the chore out of it.

Start by spending some time studying this site...you'll find tips and secrets that'll help you not only save time and wear on your body...but...they'll save your pocketbook as well!

The top Five Furniture Secrets...

  1. Make a diagram of the room or location where the furniture will be used.  On your diagram note the location of windows, doors, shelves, fireplace, air-ducts, TV, etc. Don't forget to measure the hallways, doors, stairs and any other entrance that the piece must be taken through.  I've seen more than one person miss this step and have to return a piece that was to big to get into the room.
     
  2. Know where and how you will use this piece of furniture...make sure the piece you're looking at will meet those requirements.
     
  3. You're now ready to start shopping.

    Let's get physical...sit in it, sit on it, lay on it, stand on it, etc.

    Better furniture is usually more ample sized...it's more substantial...it contains more raw material, more springs, stronger frame with more members.  Generally speaking, a better piece will be heavier than the poorer quality piece.
     

  4. Neat, well-defined corners and curves, securely attached buttons, strong unobtrusive seams, properly and evenly distributed filler material are the marks of a quality piece.
     
  5. Turn it over...how well is it constructed?  Are there loose or missing screws or bolts?  Is the padding sewn correctly?  Is the padding and fabric protected from the framework and hardware?

Getting Started Furniture Shopping...Make a List

Make a list...write down your needs.  If your purchasing for more than one room, make a separate list for each room.

Keep in mind what you're trying to accomplish.

Are you starting from scratch or are you trying to coordinate with existing pieces?  Maybe you're replacing existing pieces.

Give your needs an honest evaluation...make a list of all your needs.

Evaluate your basic needs.  Are you looking for...An office desk?  Basic seating?  pieces for the lounge?  A place to sleep?  A conference table?  A large family table?  Book shelving?  Etc.  Once you answer these questions, look at your budget and the space available.

It's a heck of a lot easier to prioritize from a written list than to wander aimlessly through furniture store after furniture store with hardly a clue as to what you need, what will fit and what you can afford.

Before you trot off to the store it's a good idea to browse magazines, catalogs, websites, etc., to get an idea as to what's available and what styles you like.   This will help you narrow your search and target in on what you need without wasting hours trudging through showrooms.

Furniture Style

Most furniture falls into one of two style categories...

  • Formal
  • Informal or casual

Here are some examples of Formal Furniture

  • Louis XIV
  • Chippendale
  • Queen Anne

And here are some examples of the Informal Style

  • Provincial
  • Early American
  • French Country
  • Shaker
  • Amish
  • Etc.

These styles originated in the rural countryside and were first designed by local cabinetmakers.  Each of these styles can be further divided into traditional or contemporary.

Traditional styles can be identified by the Cabriole legs, claw and ball feet, lyre shaped backs and carved details.  Woods tend to be walnut, cherry or teak and fabrics usually include brocades, damask, and silk.  Oversized sofas and chairs with deep, fluffy cushions and durable easy to maintain fabrics exemplify casual.

Contemporary styles include Scandinavian, Modern and Oriental, with wood or laminate.  They are identifiable by their sleek overall design elements.

Style is also defined by shape, color, texture and is reflected in accessories, floor and window coverings.

Home furnishings should make a statement about your attitude and lifestyle.  No one style is perfect for every room or for everyone.

So...

Buy furniture that you like, whatever your style may be!

Some designers may try to talk you out of recliners.  They consider them the ugly duckling of the furniture world.  This is outdated advice...recliners are better than ever and they are in style.

Upholstery

Today, more than ever, upholstered furniture is available in a wide range of styles and fabrics.  To be a good buy for you, upholstery must be...priced right...colored right...sit right...right for the room...right for you.

Leather is another option you should consider.  

Leather is a natural product.  Good leather will rarely wear out...but it will change in appearance over time...maybe as frequently as week to week.

Many people love natural coverings, like leather, that change with wear and tear.  But, you better be clear in your mind with what you can live with when it comes to today's leather.

New methods of tanning and manufacturing have brought leather into an affordable range for many pocketbooks.

Budget

By now you should know what piece or pieces you want and have pinpointed some basic styles that feel "Right" for you.

It's time to target a budget and begin to shop.  As I'm sure you're aware, prices vary widely and are often tied to the quality of the piece.  finding good furniture that works for you involves understanding how pieces are made and then deciding if the quality of the piece will stand-up in day to day use.  Know your needs and your budget...buy the best quality you can afford without going over your budget.  Even the best made chair will not be comfortable if you can't afford it.

Additional Furniture Buying Tips
Home
Leather Furniture
Distressed Furniture
Foundation and Box Spring
Furniture Types
Cases and Chests
Measuring Tips
Joinery Tips
Leather Basics
Leather Markings
Manufactured Wood
Futons
Mattress Tips
Style Guide
Wicker-Cane-Willow
Wood Finishes
Wood Types

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