During January and February, many furniture manufacturers decide to have sales. If you're in the market for some new furniture -whether you need one piece or an entire room full of furniture, this is usually a good time to shop. For the furniture-buying novice, I'd like to pass along some advice to my readers before you go shopping. Since I've had some experience with furniture in my career as a designer-salesperson at two well-known furniture stories in Annapolis, I hope you will benefit from some of these tips:
First, when searching for a particular piece of furniture, ask a salesperson about the construction of the furniture.
If shopping for case goods (dressers, tables, chests) -- are the drawer corners dovetailed and glued? Or just glued and stapled? The best drawer construction is dovetailed and glued. Lower end furniture drawers are made by stapling and gluing the corners. This is sufficient, but it is not the optimal way to build furniture. If you want your furniture to last a long time and withstand a lot of abuse - choose furniture with dovetailed corners or glued and screwed corners, instead of only stapled.
Speaking of drawers - make sure you check them out. Are they easy to pull out? Are they on glides? With time, most drawers start to stick a little, but the best made drawers glide easily and effortlessly. This is a good sign that they are properly made and will not stick on you in a year.
Are the tops veneered or solid wood? Or if it is veneered with only one layer or more? Some well-made veneer tops are very resilient to wear because they are constructed of thin sheets of wood that are adhered together in alternate directions and generally attached to particle board. For example, Thomasville furniture's veneers are seven layers thick.
Although solid wood furniture is very nice, the wood could prone to cracking with age or a lot of abuse. However, solid wood furniture is preferred by many people.
For me personally, it depends on the manufacturer which one I prefer. Solid wood furniture is always beautiful. An advantage to solid wood furniture is that you can refinish it without being concerned about sanding through the veneer to particle board - just a thought if you're planning on keeping the piece in the family or you have a penchant for refinishing furniture!
If painted wood is your preference, it is still popular. If the piece is painted, it's important to know that the top (and sides) could get scratched and there may not be any way to fix it. I'd like to suggest that you ask the furniture manufacturer for some touch-up paint in the same color paint (which could be hard to find but I wholeheartedly recommend it). Otherwise, if your furniture will be used regularly, consider covering the top with a runner, doily or maybe a piece of glass cut to fit the top.
Last of all, please remember that woods range from soft- to hard-wearing. Pine tends to be a soft wood; whereas, oak and maple are hard woods. Therefore, pine furniture may not be a good choice for children's bedroom furniture!
So, I will give guidance on purchasing upholstered furniture in my next blog. Until then, Happy Decorating!