Recognize value. Beware of curbside quality at home!
US household wood furniture imports have risen from 19% in 1992 to over 64% in 2008. TV ads tout inexpensive furniture groupings that essentially end up in a tag sale or, literally, curbside waiting for the trash haulera few years later. Being educated about furniture quality is key for making the best decor investments.
Recognize value. Poor wood frame construction and materials.
Warped frames indicate poor quality furnishings, as do loose joints and uneven finishes. Do you know where the wood is harvested? Illegally harvested hardwood is in many of the curbside selections today, and that just hurts Mother Nature!
Recognize value. Springs don't lie.
You never want the drop-in frames found in most curbside furniture! Sinuous springs offer heavy-gauge steel springs that are heat-formed into continuous "S" shapes. They are the standard for most quality manufacturers.
Top quality eight-way hand-tied springs are heavy-gauge coils that are hand-tied front to back, side to side and diagonally. It's a very time-consuming art form, it offers a wide range of movement and an even sit due to the coils.
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Recognize value. Cushions. Always unzip them before you buy them.
When shopping for a sofa, unzip the cushions to see exactly what is on the inside. Is there a hypo-allergenic cover? Is there polyester and/or feather and down wrapped around the cushion? Most manufacturers use Dacron as their "standard" foam core. High-density and bio-hybrid foams (for the environmentally friendly crowd) are usually an upgrade.
Feathers and down wrapped around a high-density foam core offer the maximum comfort, durability and resilience in cushions. Forgo the feathers for a firmer seat.
Recognize value. Don't be fooled. Bonded Leather is not just leather.
Did you know that bonded leather contains only 17% actual leather? That shiny "leather-like" surface contains up to 83% toxic chemicals you didn't bargain for in that bargain buy.
Real leather is an extremely durable choice for home furnishings and is one of the only materials that looks better as it ages.