The changes in furniture styles throughout history have been astronomical. The materials, ornamentation, and uses of furniture have been in flux for thousands of years, giving today’s furniture stores a bevy of options.
Findings dating back to 3100 B.C. include a range of unique stone furniture found in Skara Brae, a Neolithic village that was experiencing a shortage of wood in Orkney, its village. Wood has long been a favorite material for traditional furniture styles, including the heavy, oak furniture favored in the Middle Ages which was carved with intricate ornamental designs. Early american furniture styles were quite opposite of the heavily ornamented styles of the Middle Ages and were extremely simple, though still rather heavy. As trends headed toward lighter furniture, leather became a popular choice of materials, especially because it used a by-product of the beef consumption industry, reducing waste. The 1960s saw an interest in plastic furniture, spurred by the 1960 invention of the one piece plastic chair by R.G. Reineman. Today, a number of styles, each drawing on a different period in history, can be found in almost any furniture store.
Many feel overwhelmed when they enter a furniture store and are unsure of what to look for when buying furniture. Though questions of style cannot be generalized because of their subjectivity, questions of quality can be answered. These are what we will answer today.
One of the most important differences between high and low quality furniture is the materials from which they are made. High quality furniture is sturdy, often composed of hardwoods, rather than pressboard or laminate. Though laminate can be a cost effective option, it is less likely to hold up over time and breaks easily. A similar argument can e made about leather vs. vinyl. Though vinyl is less expensive, it is also less comfortable and less likely to stand the test of time. If you’re wondering what to look for when buying furniture, the first thing is high quality material.
These is little point in purchasing furniture that only works specifically with one particular room. There is always a chance that you will move or redecorate the room, making the purchase of a $2000 chaise lounge with large fuschia flowers seem pointless. Consider whether you’ll still like a piece in ten or fifteen years before you purchase it to save yourself the ache of buyer’s remorse.
On the list of what to look for when buying furniture, this should be high on the list. Never buy a piece of furniture without spending some time with it in the store. Sit on it, curl up comfortably, or do whatever else you would be likely to do at home (within reason). If you don’t love it, move along. There’s no point in purchasing a piece of furniture that you’re unlikely to actually use.
Furniture is a major investment and should be treated as such. Don’t buy unless your completely sure that a piece will enhance your quality of life. More can be found here.