A Guide to Finding Quality Wood Furniture

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Investing in quality wood furniture can sometimes seem like a daunting task. I often find welcoming new rooms to my home a bit like a meeting and a wedding. There’s the initial excitement of finding the perfect piece that connects a room, the cozy years where it almost seems to blend into the background, and finally the love and appreciation that only comes with time. – with a few knocks and scratches.

In this season of life, as we design the home in which we will be raising our son, it is more important than ever to invest in quality pieces that can stand the test of time – and more importantly, the test of time – and more importantly, the test of time. toddler test! So I’ve included a summary of my favorite tips for investing in wood furniture.

1. Talk about the conversation. It is important to understand the lingo to be sure you know exactly what you are getting. Wood furniture falls into three categories: solid wood, wood veneer and particle board. Solid wood is usually the most expensive of the three, but you pay for the quality. Veneers have a quality piece of wood on the outside with a cheaper composite material on the inside (to keep costs down). Particleboard is the cheapest of the three and often won’t stand the test of time. That said, there is definitely a time and place for each option, so know your space and budget and buy accordingly.

Katie Laughridge is the owner of Nell Hill's.  (Katie Laughridge)

2. Common construction. It is one of the most visible determinants of an investment. Check the furniture at its joints. Does it show traces of glue, nails, dowels or screws? If you are looking for a room that will last a long time, stay away from furniture with glue or nails visible at the joints – they are not as effective in the long run. Studs and screws will stand the test of time, but if you’re looking for the best in joint quality, look for dovetail joints (they look like interlocking teeth) or mortise and sinew joints. (a narrow section on one side inserted into a hole in the other).

3. Be realistic with yourself. I once bought a fantastic, extra-large table that would have fallen firmly into the overlap between industry and mid-century modernity. A beautiful piece in its own right, but totally out of my comfort zone. I vowed to build a room around him and love him forever, but it turns out it only lasted a year forever. There is nothing wrong with incorporating unique wood pieces into your room design. I think it’s awesome! But be realistic with yourself and your design goals for your home (I certainly wasn’t once and still have to jump in every now and then). I tend to step out of my comfort zone into upholstered pieces and accessories and invest in wood pieces that I know will stand up to my most whimsical decisions.

Wooden furniture can tie a room together.  (Bob Greenspan)

4. Buy at the right time. Knowing when to get your coins is important to make sure you get what you pay for. After Tax Day is a great time to check out local furniture sales. Many stores offer discounts on larger items at this time.

5. Don’t be afraid to REALLY check: stuff cushions, test buttons, wiggle table legs, knock on table top, look under the room, open doors. If you invest in a high quality coin, it could mean that you are spending several hundred (or thousands) of dollars. It’s perfectly normal that you want to be absolutely sure that it meets your standards.

6. Trust your designer. If you work with a designer, don’t hesitate to ask them for their opinion on the quality of a piece. Designers work with a variety of brands every day, and though they’ve been in the business for a while, they’ve seen a lot of furniture. They will be able to tell you which line is quality and which is just not up to par. I bet they even have a few of their own tips to help you find the perfect piece.

Adapted from nellhills.com. Katie Laughridge is the new owner of Nell Hill’s, an interior design destination in Kansas City. For more information, contact Katie at [email protected]

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