5 Secrets You Should Know Before Buying Your Next Piece of Wood Furniture
Secret #1. How to Shop For a Good Price
Don’t waste your time searching the Internet to find wholesale costs on new furniture. If you are really looking for a great value, you need to consider ALL the different elements of your purchase. Unfortunately, price is not a very good indicator of the quality or value you get when buying furniture. You can pay too much for a low quality item if you shop in the wrong store. And you may overlook a quality item for a good price because you don’t like the way the store looks from the outside.
The important thing to remember when shopping for furniture is to identify what you really want and then go get it.
Also don’t be fooled by the “same” piece of furniture being offered at different stores at drastically different prices.
There are three possible reasons you might see this.
The first, and obvious, answer is that one store simply charges higher prices for its merchandise. The second reason is that one store’s selling price includes services, like free design services and free delivery, that are not included in the first store’s price.
The third possible reason is the scariest. Furniture manufacturers often copy each other’s best selling styles. When they do, they sometimes remove a few of the unseen quality construction features built into the original.
Worse yet, the best quality and poorest quality piece may both be offered at the same price! (That means more profit for the retailer.) Unless you know how to tell the difference, you could easily pay the high quality price for the poor quality piece.
Secret #2. Does Buying a Brand Name Equal Quality?
Just buying a brand name you know is no guarantee you’re getting the best quality. For example, Let’s say XYZ furniture manufacturer makes bedroom furniture. In order to sell as wide a range of furniture retailers as possible, they will make some of their bedroom patterns…
- in GOOD quality…
- some in BETTER quality…
- and some in their BEST quality.
Unless you know how to spot the differences, you could be fooled into paying too much quality you’re getting just because you bought a recognized brand name.
Secret #3. Ask the Right Questions
67 percent of those who bought wood furniture- and more than 80 percent of those who bought sofas- had no idea what kind of quality they were buying, says Ron Bartkowski, president of Furniture Rep’s Warehouse in Carol Stream, Illinois.
“What they seem to do is to buy for look, not for quality,” he says. “It’s the third most expensive purchase [people] make and yet they have little knowledge about it.”
Since they don’t know what they’re getting, how can they know if they are paying a fair price for it?
It’s nearly impossible to find information on the track record of a furniture manufacturer, there are over 450 furniture manufacturers alone.
The consumers have to rely on the credibility of the retailer.
To avoid overpaying for furniture, ask the right questions and brush up on some furniture knowledge. Here’s what to look for:
Check the drawers
- With bedroom sets, dining room sets, and occasional, look at how all the pieces are proportioned in relation to each other. If you’re spending more than $200, look underneath to see the quality of the wood.
- On pieces with drawers, notice how they are hung. If they are tilted, that indicates the poor quality of the manufacturer very quickly. Feel the weight of the drawers. High quality furniture has a sense of weight, scale, and solidity to it. Drawers should work smoothly and not bind when extended.
- Take out the top drawer and check to see if the inside feels rough. Rough drawer interiors indicate a lower quality. Is the inside of the drawer finished as smoothly as the outside of the cabinet? Upper end furniture will not substitute a lesser species of wood for the drawers.
- On high quality bedroom and dining items, drawers will be mounted with heavy duty, full extension, soft close drawer glides. Lesser quality furniture may use only center glides that combine wood with metal.
- Even brand-name manufacturers sometimes use fiberboard and cover it with paper which is printed with a photograph of a real wood finish. If you don’t know what you’re looking for you can easily be fooled.
Find out who’s backing the warranty
Many lower end manufacturer’s warranties on wood furniture only cover splitting and cracking for one year. Better manufacturers may offer up to a five year warranty. Only the best manufacturers will offer you a lifetime guarantee, providing you with great peace of mind!
Consumers should look to see if they have a manufacturer’s warranty or a retailer’s warranty. If it says, “Only to the original address” in very small print at the bottom of the sales contract, your warranty will be void if you move. This can be very deceiving. Be careful!
Secret #4: 13 Quick Tips to Quality Control
- Drawer interiors should be smooth to the touch, sanded, and sealed.
- Glass shelves should be at least 1/4 inches thick and have plate grooves.
- Better-end display and china cabinets should have halogen or fluorescent lighting, line switches, and rheostats.
- Upper-end manufacturers use heavier, more substantial, more decorative hardware.
- Inspect hinges to determine if they are solidly secure and can handle the load of the door.
- The back panel will be wood on the best items, cardboard or fiberboard on a lower quality item. Check also to see if the back panel is inset and screwed into the case, instead of simply nailed to the back edges, because this technique contributes a lot to overall stability.
- You want the piece to have a deep, clear finish, not necessarily a high gloss. The degree of sheen has nothing to do with the quality of the finish. Ask if the finish is resistant to “water rings” and most household chemicals.
- Check to see if legs of chairs, tables or occasionals have glides on the base. They aid the consumer with ease of movement and protection of your hardwood and carpets.
- When you look at a dining table, put your hands on the corner and try to move it. If you get lots of wiggle, watch out. Either the legs are not properly secured or the leg assembly is poorly engineered.
- Glass table tops should be made of tempered glass and should be between ½ to 5/8 inch thick. Glass inserts should be 3/8 inch thick on cocktail tables, etc.
- When you look at a bed, stand at the footboard and try to rock the bed. High quality beds will remain solid and resist rocking.
- Look for dining table leaves that are between 12 and 18 inches in width and that are fully aproned or have an apron option. (This is a panel extending down on both sides.) This will give your table a more finished look when it is fully extended.
- Ask what kind of table slide is used on extendable dining tables. Dovetailed, rock maple wood extension slides or geared equalizer slides are the best; that’s especially important on tables that extend to 24 inches or longer.
Secret #5. Do Business With a Person – Not a Nameless, Faceless Institution
Build a relationship with a retailer you can trust and who always backs up his products. There is nothing more frustrating than buying an expensive piece of furniture, having problems with it, and then getting the run around when you call the retailer back.
I don’t believe in that kind of customer treatment. I realize that you work hard for your money. You deserve to get the best value for you dollar. Part of that value is being taken care of on the warranty or any other issues you might have.
Please don’t misunderstand me. Our furniture is top quality. We don’t have many customers that ever have problems with anything. No one is perfect. I’ll be the first to admit it. So if there is anything that you have a question about we’ll take care of it promptly and properly.
I’d like to tell you about our 100% satisfaction guarantee. I promise that you’ll have the most enjoyable experience shopping for furniture that you’ve ever had. What you’ll experience when you walk in our door here is a cheerful, friendly greeting from sales associates who are not pushy. If you want, you can set up an appointment before you come in, and we’ll have some things picked out to show you. That way you’re in and out quickly. No wasted time walking the show room floor.
In addition, you’ll have a furniture consultant specifically for you (it might even be me) to help you get all of your questions answered and to find out what you’re looking for. And don’t worry. We never try to ‘hard sell’ anything. We understand that once you’re ready to buy, you’ll buy from us if we’ve done a good job for you. Family is important to us, we consider our clients family, and we want you to feel the same way.
That promise is from me to you. As the owner of this store, that’s why I can say this.
If you aren’t blown away with our personal touch, expertise, and family atmosphere when you come in the store, just let me know. I care about your positive experience!
Hope to see you soon!