Under the Veneer: Smart Shopping for Home Furnishings

These days, furniture companies have broad selections and many confusing terms. They insist they use only the finest materials. They promise they have tested the quality of every piece they sell. They assure you their products will last. But then you take home your new furniture and within months, those pieces quickly lose their appeal, start to warp or crack, leaving you to wonder about what all those fancy words and promises really meant.

So how do you discern all this information when everyone seems to be making the same claims?

At Birchwood Furniture, we are experts in quality furnishings. That is why we have assembled a few tips to help you sort through asking proper questions and understanding what you are really buying so you will be happy with any new addition to your home.

Made to Order Vs. Mass Produced

As a general rule, furnishings that are made to order are a better choice for your home.

When you choose mass produced furniture, it is something that was made with fast production time and low cost in mind. The result is a piece designed with lower quality materials that are not expected to last more than a few years.  

On the other hand, when you choose furniture that has been made to order, you are taking home something built with your needs in mind. You will have more variety; choosing from a number of finishes, fabrics, and sizes. When furniture is built as you choose, it is made to last from materials that can withstand the demands of frequent use, able to withstand our dry climate, and able to be refinished or reupholstered down the road.

Questions to Ask When Shopping for Furnishings

Asking the right questions is the key to getting to the honest facts. Here are a few to keep in mind when trying to determine the quality of a piece of furniture that is right for you.

Is This Solid Wood or Veneer?

A veneer is a thin wood surface put over the outside of a product to give it a certain look or texture.  Veneer usually covers particle board; an inexpensive, lightweight material made from a mixture of sawdust and adhesive. Particle board does not have the durability of solid wood, usually breaking down within a short period of time if overused. This type of construction would be great to use in a piece of furniture that does not require daily use, such as a sofa table or small accent piece.

Solid wood furniture is sturdy, long lasting, and looks very natural. Although solid wood pieces tend to be quite heavy, they last decades and continue to look new with the proper care. Everything is just as it seems with solid wood furnishings; that means durable, great for daily use, able to be refinished if needed, and be passed down from generation to generation. Solid wood furniture is an investment, and you will get your money’s worth out of it.

Where Was This Product Made?

Not many people think to ask this question, but you can discover a lot about a piece of furniture just by knowing who the manufacturer is. If the product was manufactured here in Canada, it is most likely high quality and built to order. However, if the piece you are looking at was made on foreign shores, it is probably mass produced, not built with our climate in mind, and less durable than its Canadian counterpart.

What are My Choices?

Mass produced furniture does come with a few choices. Typically you can pick from 2 or 3 colour options and possibly a size option.  But solid quality furniture is just that… solid and quality! With made to order pieces, you will be able to choose the finish, the upholstery, the hardware, and even the dimensions. The more options you are given, the more likely the furniture is made to order.

What Kind of Warranty Does the Manufacturer Offer?

When a manufacturer knows they make a quality product, they are willing to stand behind it. Pieces that are well-built usually come with better warranties because the company has faith in their manufacturing process. Most of the manufacturers we carry at Birchwood Furniture offer warranties covering an extended period of time; sometimes even a full decade.

We Know Quality

At Birchwood Furniture Galleries, we insist on quality. We have carefully chosen all of our suppliers and manufacturers so we can bring you nothing but the best in beautiful home furnishings. Read about our suppliers for yourself, or visit us in store and discover how Birchwood Furniture is synonymous with quality.