Design Tips from our Designers

How to choose furniture that lasts for years

> Look for kiln-dried hardwood frames of oak, alder, birch or maple. The words “all wood” don’t guarantee quality. Cheap particle board is wood, too.

> Choose frames with closely fitted joints, corner-blocking, dowels and screws.

> Springs should be double-coiled and tied. When you bounce on an upholstered seat, it shouldn’t squeak.

> Dense, heavy fill and padding lasts the longest. Pick up a removable cushion—it should have weight.

> Check for solid construction by shaking one end of the piece. There should be no wobbling or grinding.

> Drawers should glide, rather than stick. The interiors should be smooth and, if possible, feature dovetailed corner joints.

> Make sure fabric patterns continue across seams or welts, and check to see if the buttons are secure.

> Look underneath all pieces to check on the quality of construction.

> Be sure to check the backs of pieces like dressers and cabinets. It should be finished with quality wood throughout, not just where visible from the front.

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