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5 Signs of Quality to Look For When Shopping for Furniture

Furniture can be a good investment. New sofas typically last about 8 years, which equates to about 3,000 days of use. Even though furniture can produce a return on your investment over a long span of time, you will still want to get the best deal possible.

The retail markup on furniture is typically 200% to 400%. This means that furniture discounters can save you several hundred dollars while offering exactly the same furniture as retailers. How can you tell you are getting a good deal on high-quality furniture at discount furniture stores? Here are five signs of quality to watch out for:


The most visible sign of quality is the material used to construct the furniture. Leather couches, for example, are more durable and resist stains better than fabric couches. Moreover, leather does not absorb odors like fabric will. For this reason, genuine leather is usually a sign of high quality. The popularity of this material means that it should be relatively easy to find quality leather furniture at a furniture discounter.

When examining wood furniture, such as dining room sets, look for solid wood or thick plywood. Chipboard and particleboard are more prone to cracking and warping, so furniture made from these materials might not last as long. Contrary to popular belief, hardwoods like oak, maple, and cherry, are not necessarily more durable than softwoods, like pine and fir. It is more important to know if the material is solid wood, thick plywood (which is more durable), wood veneer, or particleboard (which is less durable), than the species of wood.

Number of Pieces

Although it is not always related to quality, wood furniture that has large pieces carved from a single piece of wood will generally be more durable than furniture with small pieces glued together. When a piece of furniture has a lot of little parts glued together, the entire piece of furniture can be pulled apart if just one of those wood pieces warps. Furniture that has large, continuous pieces will not typically suffer from this problem.


Joinery is a fancy name for joints. When looking at wood furniture, examine the corners where two pieces of wood meet. This is particularly useful for assessing tables, chairs, and dresser drawers since the corners will be load-bearing. Strong corners will help the furniture keep its shape, whereas weak corners will buckle.

Dovetail joints, which look like interlocking fingers, are very strong and signal high quality. Similarly, corner blocks are another stable option. These joints run diagonally across the inside of corners in order to brace both sides, providing a very stable joint. By contrast, joints that have been glued or stapled may make the corner prone to buckling due to weight or repeated use.

Moving Parts

Examine moving parts of drawers, recliners, and entertainment centers to get a better idea of the quality. Good furniture will have metal parts and will move easily. For example, good drawers will be held by metal slides featuring metal wheels or bearings. Drawers with slides made from wood or plastic can bend, making the drawer difficult to open. Plastic wheels and bearings in drawer slides are also notorious for cracking or breaking, requiring replacement of the drawer slides.

Although it may seem elementary, test out the reclining mechanism of recliners while you are shopping. Although you may feel embarrassed at first, you may even want to get underneath the recliner right on the showroom floor of the furniture discounter. Quality recliners will open and close smoothly, without any clunking or strained noises.


If you are looking at furniture that includes cushions, examine the upholstery to make sure that all the cushions are the same color. Fabric variations at the factory can result in a couch with four or five different shades of the same color.

You can also open up the cushions to get a better idea of the quality. Quality furniture will often have an inner liner between the cushion and upholstery for additional support and protection.

The markup on furniture can be high; it’s not uncommon to see a lot of variation in prices for the exact same furniture. Examining furniture carefully could land you a real deal on a great piece for your home. When you’re ready to invest in furniture you can trust, rely on Furniture Discounters today.

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