Buying Tips

Buying new furniture can be a daunting task. Use the list below to get yourself better prepared to storm the sales floor in search of quality and value.

Wood Furniture
Home Entertainment Centers
Upholstered Furniture
Mattress Sets
Recliners
Leather

 

Buying Wood Furniture

Look for these features when buying wood furniture.

  • Kiln dried all wood construction
  • Glued mortise and tenon joints
  • Dust proof interiors between drawers
  • All wood drawers with English dovetail joints in front & rear
  • All wood, waxed, hand fitted drawer guide system for smooth operation
  • Aligned drawers and doors
  • Lingerie-smooth, sanded & waxed drawer interiors
  • Three-ply drawer bottoms
  • Corner Blocking and glue blocks for strength
  • Hand finished surfaces
  • Nailed or screwed back panels rather than staples
  • Levelers on the bottom
  • Double doweled construction
  • Numbered dining table leaves
  • Veneer pattern matching on dining table tops
  • Full aproned dining table leaves
  • Heavy duty table slides
  • Depth and clarity to the finish
  • Board selection that matches

Buying a Home Entertainment Center

Look for these features when shopping home entertainment centers.

  • Kiln dried all wood construction
  • Glued mortise and tenon joints
  • Dust proof interiors between drawers
  • All wood drawers with English dovetail joints in front & rear
  • All wood, waxed, hand fitted drawer guide system for smooth operation
  • Aligned drawers and doors
  • Lingerie-smooth, sanded & waxed drawer interiors
  • Three-ply drawer bottoms
  • Corner Blocking and glue blocks for strength
  • Hand finished surfaces
  • Nailed or screwed back panels rather than staples
  • Levelers on the bottom
  • Double doweled construction
  • Numbered dining table leaves
  • Veneer pattern matching on dining table tops
  • Full aproned dining table leaves
  • Heavy duty table slides
  • Depth and clarity to the finish
  • Board selection that matches
  • Pocket doors
  • Vented panels
  • Built in electrical outlets
  • Adjustable shelves
  • Pull out media shelves
  • Interchangeable wood panel or speaker cloth panels
  • Media storage

 

Buying Upholstered Furniture

Look for these features when buying upholstered furniture.

  • Kiln-dried hardwood frames
  • Glued and corner blocked joints
  • Joints with screws and glued double dowels
  • 8-way hand tied coil springs
  • Non-absorbent and odor free webbing for coil base
  • Fire retardant polyester fiber for seat deck
  • Adequate edge roll along front of chairs and sofas
  • High resiliency foam seat cushions with choice of firmness
  • Poly Dacron fiber back cushions
  • Matched fabric patterns
  • Even skirts that are lined on tailored items
  • Padded arms and backs
  • Arm covers
  • Trim choices like fringe and welt cords

Buying Mattress Sets

Look for these features when buying mattress sets.

  • A reputable store with a knowledgeable sales staff.
  • Comfort… lie down on each model for several minutes and turn from side to side to check for comfort and support in all positions. Take your partner and try out the models together.
  • Make sure the mattress is an innerspring and at least 9 inches thick. Check coil counts: full-size should have at least 300, queen size at least 375 and king size at least 450. Check size or gauge of the coils. Research indicates that only innerspring mattresses and foundations provide the proper support.
  • Buy a complete set, not just the mattress. An eight way hand tied coil spring box spring or steel wire foundation is as important as a good innerspring mattress. Think of it as a large shock absorber.
  • Shop for the best value, not the lowest price. Spend as much as your budget can afford. The material used, the quality construction and the size determine mattress prices.
  • Check the edge support. Is it foam encased to create more sleeping surface?
  • Can the king size mattress be partially bent for delivery?
  • Inspect the tailoring of the surface fabric and the quilting.

 

Buying a Recliner

Look for these features when buying a recliner.

Comfort: The height and angle of the seat back and the depth of the seat affect comfort. Consider softness and bounce. Any metal parts should be smooth with no sharp edges. Backs should be free of bumps and hard spots.

Frame:

  • Frames should constructed of Kiln dried hardwood (oak, maple and ash are the most common), steel, plastic, or laminated boards to avoid warping.
  • A good frame is joined using dowels as well as corner blocks glued and screwed together.
  • Frame should have a heavy balanced feeling. The legs should be squared and sturdy to prevent wobbling. Frames should not creak.

Required chair dimensions: (L x W x H)

Recliners: can be constructed with one of three mechanisms:

  • The two-way mechanism: Allows the chair to open into a reading position with the ottoman up or in a fully reclining position. These chairs require space behind them to be opened.
  • WallLounger or WallSaver: A multi-position mechanism opens forward so that the chair can be placed in close proximity to the wall. The mechanism in these chairs will often be opened with a handle or button. When opened with the ottoman up, the chair back can be adjusted to recline to different degrees by pulling the arms forward.
  • The rocker mechanism is a multi-position mechanism that allows the chair to rock until the ottoman is opened. These chairs require space behind them to be opened. Swivel bases are often available with rocker recliners.
  • Mechanisms to open the chair work smoothly. Moving parts clear fabric to prevent tearing.

Support: Types of support include: webbing, sling straps, slats or springs. The type of support used will depend upon the design, size and amount of support or softness of the piece.

Springs: The quality and quantity of springs utilized is more an issue than which system is used. The primary spring systems used in upholstered furniture include:

  • Eight-way hand-tied and no-sag or sinuous. Eight-way hand-tied springs are considered a sign of quality due to their comfort and durability. These coils are attached to webbing on the bottom of the sofa or chair and tied with twine to surrounding coils in eight different spots to prevent shifting.
  • No-sag, or sinuous springs are "S" shaped wires that are fastened to the top of the front rail and run from the front to the back of the piece every few inches apart. These springs are less costly but not necessarily a sign of an inferior product.
  • Other types of springs include the single coil, double core coil, zigzag coil, and back springs (4-way hand tied).

Cushioning: The padding of a frame affects comfort and durability. The frame should be padded such that no fabric touches wood. This prevents untimely fabric wear and adds to comfort and softness. Cotton and polydacron are the most popular frame padding materials.

 

Buying Leather Furniture


Look for these features when buying leather furniture.

  • Top grain leather is the most dense and durable section of the leather hide. Top grain is the natural top surface of the hide with a denser cell structure, creating the leather's tensile strength.
  • The leather should be treated or sealed to repel stains.
  • You should not receive splits or unprotected leathers. Split leather is the slice taken from the back of the hide and it is not as durable and makes a poor surface for the colored topcoat. The color tends to break or crack.
  • As with upholstered furniture you want hardwood frames, coil spring base construction, high-density polyurethane seat cushions with coil spring inserts for comfort and durability. The cushions should be guaranteed for the life of the piece.
  • Limited lifetime warranty or workmanship and construction.
  • The cost of leather is determined by the origin of the animal and by supply and demand. In order, Northern European hides are considered premium select with the least imperfection.
  • United States domestic hides are selected in the mid-range. Southern American, Southeast Asian, Australian and North African hides contain the greatest number of imperfections and are the least costly.