One of the best reasons to shop at furniture stores is that you can see the furniture in person. No matter how convenient shopping online is, you simply can't touch what's on the other side of the screen. Fortunately, furniture shops are set up as showrooms where you can browse the furniture and get an idea of how everything will come together in your own space. Generally speaking, stores feature living room furniture, bedroom furniture and dining room sets, although you can find accent tables, area rugs, artwork and decor as well.
Shopping online before you go to a furniture store will help narrow down your search so that you don't have to make it an all-day extravaganza. You can ask the salespeople to direct you to the furniture sets you have in mind so that you can begin assessing their quality. It's easy for furniture sets to look good, especially in the stores where there's perfect lighting, accessories and decor, but you'll want to do more than just look at the furniture. After all, you can't judge a book by its cover.
First of all, learn about the different types of materials that furniture is commonly made from. To ask a salesperson about the quality of the furniture is a vague question, so know about the different wood types and their overall longevity. Solid hardwoods are those that come from deciduous trees, while solid softwoods are those that come from coniferous trees. One isn't necessarily softer or harder than the other, so you'll have to experiment for yourself. While the best way is to press into the wood with your nail, this probably won't be favorable at the furniture store. But it gives you an idea of how soft some woods can be, which means the furniture will be more vulnerable to scratches.
Another option is wood veneers, which are several layers of wood glued onto particleboard. Wood veneers are used in all types of furniture and are very durable, providing you purchase furniture that has about nine layers of veneer. And since the base is plywood, you can expect added core strength. The only drawback is that you're limited to how many times you can refinish the wood, so the piece won't be as versatile as solid hardwood. The types of materials that you'll want to rethink are fiberboard, particleboard and pressed wood. They're not the highest quality and won't last very long, although they can be a suitable fit if you're looking for inexpensive furniture to get you by for a short time.
While at the furniture store, also be sure to inspect the furniture. Don't worry; this is exactly what furniture stores expect you to do and why showrooms exist. When doing your mini inspection, look for the joint construction on the furniture. If you see that the furniture is glued, stapled or nailed, you can assume that the construction is subpar. Instead, look for screws and dowels that indicate that the piece is well made.
Other factors to look for include that the furniture touches the floor and does not wobble or rock, the furniture does not creak if you lift one side and any doors or drawers open and close seamlessly. When shopping for upholstered chairs unzip the cover and see the quality of the foam. Foam for example, is less durable and less comfortable than foam covers that have filling inside. By squeezing the arms on a chair or back, you can determine how much padding is there and how comfortable the seating will be. With these helpful tips, you can make the most of your experience while shopping at furniture stores.