Invest in Good Quality Furniture – Not “Investment Furniture”

by Gina Blitstein · 1 comment

I recently saw a television commercial for a high-end furniture store which mentioned, “investment furniture” – meaning, fine furniture in which you invest, with the intention of passing it along to your heirs. The concept struck me as superflous.

It’s not that I’m against the concept of inheriting furniture. In fact, I think it’s lovely. I have a few pieces from my parents’ home and I treasure them. But my parents purchased the furniture they needed – as they needed it – and never once were concerned with it lasting beyond its intended purpose. If furniture was given to us children as we set up our own households, it certainly wasn’t because of its “investment value” but because of practicality.

On a realistic note, by the time most parents are downsizing and ready to give away their furnishings, their children have already furnished their homes according to their own life- and aesthetic style. Their parents’ furniture is just that – someone else’s decor that has little or nothing to do with their needs or preferences.

My ultimate question of the “investment furniture” mindset is: “If we don’t want our parents’ furniture, why on earth would we think our children would want ours?” The world, lifestyles and tastes are changing more rapidly than ever; why would we spend more money than necessary on furniture that will last for generations when future generations won’t want it anyway?

That’s not to say, however, that you should buy cheap, disposable furniture. Cheap furniture will breakdown and need to be replaced. Good quality, durable pieces will provide many years of use and beauty for your initial financial outlay.

Characteristics of Quality Furniture

Overstuffed furniture

  • Frame – Hardwood (oak, maple, mahogany, teak, walnut, cherry and birch) which has been kiln-dried ensures that changes in humidity won’t cause the frame to warp, weaken or crack. Built-in legs are sturdier than screw-in ones. The wood at the bottom side of the frame should be 1¼” thick to provide stability.
  • Cushions – They should be substantial and feel heavy.
  • Spring system – S-type springs are the standard and should run from front to back. They should feel strong and sturdy when pushed down on without the cushions.
  • Tailoring – Seams should be even and the fabric pattern should have a flow with a seam going down the center of the back of the piece.

Wood furniture

  • Joints – Mortise and tenon and dovetail joints are the strongest and best-looking way to assemble furniture. Dowels or screws are also acceptable but good joints are never stapled. Any glue used should not be visible.
  • Drawers – They should be straight, fit well and be smooth inside with dust panels that separate one from another. Good drawers have glides on which to slide and stops to prevent them from falling out when pulled.
  • Assembly details – Corner blocks add strength and stability to a piece. Back panels face the wall and are generally attached with screws to ensure lateral stability.

Furniture Warranty

Take the furniture’s warranty into consideration as an indicator of its quality. A “better” warranty would be a Five-Year Limited Warranty, warranting the product against defective materials or workmanship for five years, based on reasonable use. Most upholstery manufacturers warranty their cushioning materials for a maximum of five years. A warranty that offers less coverage would indicate lesser quality, and one that offers more would be outstanding.

You don’t have to purchase “investment” furnishings to get lasting beauty and quality. Buy good quality and you’ll have furniture to use and love while it’s yours – isn’t that what it’s for?

What features say “quality furniture” to you?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lifeisdynamic June 26, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Useful advice and helpful hints, Gina. Quality furniture will, under normal family circumstances, outlive the purchaser anyway.
Good second-hand furniture is useful for the grand-children when moving out from parents home. Grandchildren will love the furniture all the more because grandma owned it. Alternatively, good solid furniture is always in demand by second-hand furniture stores or individuals looking to have a home retro-fit.
So good, well made furniture is always in demand and will rarely go to waste. It does not need to be marketed as ‘investment grade’ to be valued by someone, as the value is intrinsic, sentimental and/or practical.

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