Have you ever wondered what reasons are behind the vast difference in the price of furniture?
The majority of us have a budget and what we want and what we can afford are sometimes worlds apart. However, most sofas these days are not created equal.
How do you find a happy marriage of both quality and price? How do you know if it’s quality at all?
It all comes down to craftsmanship and materials.
The difference between well made and poorly constructed furniture….
When a sofa and chair is priced low there is likely a reason. It usually indicated lower quality materials and craftsmanship. The quantity of the items produced during manufacturing will also have an effect on the price. It is cheaper to mass produce a product, but this is often reduces the quality, and will not truly reflect the real cost of a single production. Some furniture manufacturers use an inexpensive wood base covered by several thin layers of better quality wood veneer. The use of furniture grade plywood, which is many layers thicker than regular plywood, has become popular over the last ten years.
The cheapest type of wood furniture is often made from particle board, thin plywood, press board, or fiberboard. These composite materials are made from a combination of wood pulp, plastics, and resin. You will often get nice styling for the moment but don’t expect it to last for decades. Frames made from plywood or particleboard might even be held together with staples, with additional layers of plywood reinforcement. Being able to wiggle the arms or twist the sofa is not a good sign.
What’s inside the frame comes next. A higher quality frame means you can use higher quality, heavier springs like eight-way hand-tied springs, where each spring is connected and secured by very strong twine and will spread out weight evenly. Less expensive sofas and chairs will have a cheaper spring version and be constructed with just elasticized webbing instead of webbing with springs, or a springy metal coil, thus making the sofa more prone to losing its form and could begin to sag.
What is between you and the springs is important as well. The fill of the cushions in a quality sofa will be made of high density foam covered in polyester or down padding. Down is the most luxurious choice and can be the most expensive. A combination of down and high density foam is a good option. Higher density foam will have a heavier feel and provide a long lasting, quality seat that won’t break down as quickly. A low cost sofa will reveal the use of a lighter weight or less dense and often unwrapped foam. The cushions will be much lighter and unfortunately lose their shape, sooner rather than later.
The upholstery fabric you choose is a very big factor in the price you pay for your sofa. You will find quality furniture pieces covered in beautiful, durable, tightly woven fabrics with a high abrasion factor, 15,000 double rubs or more. Leather, in this case, will be top grain and dyed all the way through, as compared to a cheap sofa covered in low cost bonded leather made from the scraps of hides. A more expensive sofa will usually offer you many more fabric and custom options.
Higher end furniture (Let’s say $7500 and upwards) will provide you with comfort, fabulous style, impeccable craftsmanship, longevity and a very, very, high price tag. Mid-range furniture ($2500-$6000 for a sofa) will also provide you comfort, style, attention to detail and materials and save you the shock of the price. Low end furniture ($2000 or less for a sofa) may offer style, function, and economy but could cost us all more in the end. Affordable at the moment, poorly made furniture will end up in the land fill after filling your living room.
As consumers we do have a choice in where we put our dollars and most of the time you usually do get what you pay for. Occasionally a high price does not always mean superior quality, or a good brand is fouled by poor store service. If you do your homework or have a trusty friend who knows furniture, pointing out what to look for before you buy, you’ll be sitting pretty on furniture that you can feel good about.