It can get confusing to shop for furniture. While you think that you know what furniture pieces are attractive, there are certain factors that can be attributed to that significant purchase. Furniture, after all, is supposed to be durable enough so that your children and (cross your fingers) even your grandchildren get to see and use them in the decades to come.
‘Your objective? To buy furniture that can last a hundred years!
The Look of Excellence
The first factor that you need to consider is the furniture’s quality. Wood is often the material that many heirloom pieces are made of. Would you like to purchase hardwood or softwood furniture? Hardwoods are trees with leaves that fall off during autumn while evergreen trees are known as softwoods. Both can be used in furniture and both have their pros and cons.
The common hardwoods are cherry, ash, maple, mahogany, pecan, oak, rosewood, poplar, walnut and teak. If you want to use softwoods, look for cypress, cedar, pine, fir and redwood.
Every one of these woods comes with a unique look, feel and hardness. The kind of wood that you would choose can greatly affect the construction and price. The highest possible quality for any line of furniture is solid cherry, oak, maple or mahogany.
A lot of the mid-priced furniture are mixed woods such as cherry on the exterior and any less expensive wood underneath. One other method is staining a less pricey wood to make it look like an expensive one. A few manufacturers could sell a table with cherry finish which is actually just wood that was stained to look like cherry.
Nothing Beats Solid Wood
When checking for the construction of the wood, be sure to check for solidity. Solid wood can definitely last longer when compared to other less costly materials. Do not buy furniture with low quality such as pieces made with engineered wood, plywood, plastic, particleboard or fiberboard. None of these will look great as an heirloom piece. And while plastic may last just like hardwood – or even longer – it will never be able to offer the same beauty that natural wood gives.
Check also how the furniture has been constructed. Even the best solid wood is undermined where it is poorly constructed. Even with the advent of new machineries, handmade pieces are still esteemed highly in terms of the construction of heirloom quality furniture.
No Less Than a Superior Finish
It is crucial for a would-be heirloom to have a superior finish. This will protect the furniture from wear and tear as it will also bring out the wood’s natural beauty. There are various techniques that are being utilized to finish wood furniture pieces. Each one can provide a different look and offer different degrees of sturdiness. Sure, it takes a bit longer to create furniture with high quality finish but it will definitely last longer.
More often than not, the best finishes are a combination of different methods and products. Stain can be used in enhancing the wood color and even add grain depth. Varnish or shellac can provide gloss as well as protection. Choose between high gloss or a natural, satiny appearance.
Find furniture that is smooth to the touch and is free of bubbles, dust and other impurities. Hand rubbed finishes tend to look softer and more natural so choose this rather than a shiny high gloss synthetic finish if you want the simplest look.
Here are other things to check –
- Drawer corners that have secure joints
- Doors that open easily
- Doors that close properly
- Hardware is durable and secure
- No rough edges