1. What is your budget?
Quality, construction, fine or rare wood could be pricier, so you may have to make adjustments to your budget. Many qualities should be put into consideration to determine the desired amount to spend on each piece such as how long you will keep the item and whether it is one of the central pieces in the room or just an accent. Assigning a budget will help you set limits for yourself, so you don’t end up spending all your money before you purchase all the units you need.
2. Where will it be used?
It is important to know the scale of an item to make sure it is going to fit in your intended space. Knowing the area that you are shopping for will also help you determine what major items you will need for that room and how much space they can be allowed. For example, a family room would require plenty of seating as well as maybe a couple spare chairs.
3. How often will it be used?
Pieces that are going to go in a family room for daily use have to be durable. Pay close attention to the components that will be used several times per day, like drawers and doors. Furniture that is going to go into a guest room or any other room could be purchased with appearance in mind with shape, size, and design being the most important qualities to look for.
4. How long will you have it?
Wood furniture pieces in your dining room, bedroom, or living room may remain in your family for many years. You may even decide to pass this furniture down to future generations. For heirloom quality pieces, allow yourself to spend more money. Accent pieces, on the other hand, shouldn’t be so expensive if you intend on updating your style occasionally. Children’s furniture that your child will eventually grow out of shouldn’t be so expensive since you will have to update it as he/she grows older. Have fun with these items and just shop with aesthetic appeal in mind.
5. What is your personal style?
Find your personal style by studying your wardrobe, car and favorite things. Pay attention to your favorite colors, textures and patterns. Also consider your lifestyle when purchasing furniture. Are you single? Do you have any children, pets, etc.?
6. What kind of wood do you like?
Wood furniture is made from seasonal hardwoods or year round softwoods. Hardwoods come from broad-leafed trees (not needles) such as maple, oak, teak, and finer woods such as walnut, mahogany, and cherry. These woods are found in the most expensive furniture pieces. Softwoods come from needle-bearing evergreens like pine, spruce, redwood, or cedar. Such lumber is used in less-formal pieces. Rubberwood is plantation-grown in tropical countries. It is very durable and resistant to most varieties of fungi, bacteria, and mold.
7. What is the difference between solid and veneer?
Solid wood furniture usually means all the exposed parts of the piece are solid, while the frames and inner parts are made of other less expensive material. When thin layers of decorative wood are bonded to the face of furniture pieces, this is called veneer. While solid wood is valued for its durability, veneer provides a greater variety of styles, patterns and textures.
8. What finish do you prefer?
A finish on wood furniture can enhance its natural look or change it completely. A simple oil or wax finish will enhance the grain on an item, but for increased durability, furniture with a lacquer finish is best. Lacquer protects against spills and rings. A distressed look means that the wood is made to look older by beating and hammering the wood before the final finish is applied.
9. How good is the workmanship?
Ensure that drawers fit and slide well on glides and stop flush with the front of the piece. Dust panels on the drawers are best for keeping your belongings clean. Make sure that the hardware is installed correctly on any doors. The legs on tables should be even and not rock. If your table has leaves, make sure they match the rest of the table. Higher quality pieces will have dovetail joints, but always make sure to pay attention to how the drawer fronts are attached. Chair joints should also be examined carefully. Make sure they are snug and free from excess glue. On tables, corners should be reinforced and legs securely attached.
10. What safety issues arise with the purchase of your furniture?
The drawers on dressers and chests should have drawer stops that will prevent the drawer from falling out on unsuspecting children. When buying a bookcase, makes sure it contains big enough shelves so that there is no danger of you having to overload the shelves. You may also want to secure the top portion of the unit to the wall so that it won’t tip over. When searching for entertainment centers, make sure to use the correct size furniture to hold your television. If your television is too large for the unit, it may fall forward. Storage and toy chests should have safety latches on the lids to prevent the top from falling freely and possibly slamming shut on fingers or a child’s head.