Furniture is a major purchase and isn't something for a person to rush into. A person has a number of things to consider when looking at furniture, including the cost of the pieces, the materials used, and where and how often the furniture will be used. There's also style and color to think about when picking out furniture. Once the furniture is chosen and brought home, a person will need to take care of it to extend the life of the furniture.
Basic Furniture Selection Tips
Before a person heads to a store or browses a catalog looking for furniture, they should take the time to measure the space. Knowing the size of the room as well as the size of the hallways and entryways is a key part of picking the right type of furniture. When a person knows the size of the space, they have an idea of how many pieces will fit in the room. It's also critical that the furniture be able to fit through a door or window. When looking at furniture in the store, the person should bring along a small measuring tape so that they can judge whether or not it will fit in the room.
Price is a major concern for most furniture shoppers. It's possible to find a decent piece of inexpensive furniture, but the cost of the furniture doesn't necessarily refer to its quality or durability. For example, a designer sofa might be expensive because it carries a particular designer's name. Setting a budget before going to the store or browsing online will keep people from spending more than they planned.
Choosing Upholstered Furniture
Upholstered furniture such as sofas and loveseats are often found in living rooms or dens. The furniture typically features a frame covered in cushioning and some type of fabric. The fabric can be a natural material, such as wool or cotton canvas, or a synthetic material, such as acrylic or polyester. Upholstery can also be made of leather or vinyl that resembles leather.
Natural fibers, such as wool and leather, can be more difficult to care for. For example, leather furniture typically needs special care and cleaning while wool fabric usually needs to be dry cleaned. A person who doesn't expect to spill on the furniture or use it very often might choose these fabrics because of their feel and appearance. Synthetics are usually easier to care for and can be cleaned with soap and water. They also tend to resist fading, so are a good pick if the furniture will be placed in front of a window.
There are several ways to note the quality of a piece of upholstered furniture. The label on the furniture can give a person an idea of the fabric's quality. Furniture is usually labeled with letters or numbers. Smaller numbers or letters near the beginning of the alphabet signal lower quality. Higher numbers or letters near the middle or end of the alphabet signal higher quality. When looking at the furniture a person should examine the seams on the cushions, the joints on the frames, and the firmness of the cushions to get an idea of the quality of the piece.
Choosing Wooden Furniture
Choosing wooden furniture is similar to choosing upholstered furniture as a person should look at the durability of the piece, as well as the type of wood it is made from and the way it is constructed. For example, a wooden chair with stretcher bars between the legs is more durable than one that doesn't have bars connecting the legs. The chair shouldn't squeak or wobble when a person sits in it. The joints on the furniture also play a part in determining its durability. A chair made using butted joints, which are screwed together and attached with glue, is less durable than a chair made using compressed dowels which firmly hold the pieces together.
Some types of wood are stronger and more hard-wearing than others. For example, pine is a softer wood that is often used to make tables and chairs. It is inexpensive but more susceptible to wear and tear. Maple and oak are two types of hardwoods. They are heavy and hard-wearing. Generally, furniture made of pine is less expensive than furniture made of a harder wood.
Caring for Furniture
The way a person cares for their furniture depends on the materials. Wooden furniture should be dusted regularly both to keep it clean and to maintain the look of the finish or oil. The ways to clean and care for upholstered furniture is usually shown on the tag. For example, a "W" on the tag means a person can use water to clean the cushions. An "S" means the furniture must be cleaned with a dry cleaning solvent. An "X" means the fabric can only be cleaned by vacuuming. Any sort of liquid, whether a dry cleaning solvent or water, will cause damage.
To keep the furniture looking its best, whether it is made of fabric or wood, it's a good idea not to put anything wet on it. That means not placing drinking glasses directly on a tabletop. It also means working quickly to blot up any spills on a fabric-covered chair or couch. To prevent fading, the furniture should be placed in an area that doesn't get direct sunlight. Curtains or blinds can keep the sun from shining directly on a piece of furniture.
- Upholstered Furniture for Your Home – Advice on choosing upholstered furniture. The article lists safety considerations, quality and care considerations, as well as tips for the shopping process itself.
- Furniture Care and Maintenance: How to Care for Dry Wood Furniture – Tips on ways to keep wooden furniture in good condition.
- Selecting Wood Furniture (PDF) – Factors to consider when choosing wood furniture.