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High vs. Low-Quality Furniture: Why Investing in Quality Matters

As a residential interior designer, we work with clients who value quality, durability, and longevity over finding the lowest price available.

When designing spaces for our clients, we think of furniture as the MVP of your living space —it’s not just a big-ticket item in your interior design budget, it’s the key to bringing the whole space together (marrying your home’s architectural details and hard finishes with the items you place inside each room). 

But, it’s not all about looks. While aesthetics are crucial, understanding the materials and fabrication techniques behind each piece are even more important. As a full service interior designer with 10 years of experience, we've learned a key lesson: 

When it comes to furniture, you get what you pay for.

And we want our clients to have furniture that will withstand the test of time! 

The Skinny on High-Quality vs. Budget Furniture

You wouldn’t swap out your bedding and bath towels every year, right? (Well, you would if you bought low quality ones that started to fall apart after just one season!)  And you certainly wouldn’t choose an aesthetician based on who has the lowest price, because when you’re looking for an aesthetician, you definitely understand that quality is essential.

Why settle for furniture that can’t go the distance when it’s something you will use and see every single day? While I won’t dive into the data behind how your home environment can positively impact your mental health and wellbeing, your furniture has to be tough enough to take a beating from kids, dogs, and husbands and still look fresh.

Here’s why investing in high quality furniture when you work with an interior designer is worth every penny.

Note: you can certainly pay a high price for low-quality furniture (we won’t name names, but you'll find some major retailers are on the list). When you work with our interior design team, you can rest assured knowing we only source from a carefully vetted list of high quality vendors that stand behind their products. We understand the balance of where to splurge (or invest) and where it is okay to go with more mid-range quality.

What Interior Designers Look For When Sourcing High Quality Upholstered Furniture 

Sure, those budget-friendly pieces from those fast furniture websites might catch your eye with their stylish looks and wallet-friendly pricing. But, the difference in quality will be apparent in no time. From pilling or sagging to just plain uncomfortable, the true colors of low quality furniture will be forefront and as my kids would say, "that is just not the vibe."

Here’s what we look for that makes all the difference between high quality upholstered pieces and low quality upholstered pieces:

Frame Construction: The best frames are like the bones of your house: CRITICAL. When sourcing high quality pieces for our clients, we look for kiln-dried hardwood frames that are built to last and provide a solid base. Budget buys? Not so much. They often use cardboard or plywood frames, which can sag, warp, and deteriorate quickly. 

What's more? With high quality frames, you will have the option to reupholster the piece down the road. Reupholstering is not possible on sub-par frames - think of those budget pieces as disposable furniture, once it has seen its day, it is headed to the landfill. With a great frame, your sofa can last for generations with simple updates that are more affordable than purchasing a new sofa.

Cushion Construction: High quality furniture uses high-resilient, high-density polyurethane foam wrapped in dacron or down for long-lasting comfort and lazy days of lounging, watching the game, or reading. Budget furniture may use low-density foam that quickly loses its shape and feels like (and looks like) a sack of lumpy potatoes.

Spring Support: High-end pieces have 8-way, hand-tied coil springs or zigzag (sinuous) springs for firm support, whereas budget pieces often skip metal springs altogether. Springs absorb shock and give resilience, and having them tied keeps the springs from shifting and preserves the integrity of the frame.

Fabric Quality: Quality fabrics have high thread counts and dense stitching, resisting wear and tear better than lower-grade materials which quickly fade, pill, and tear. Since we are often designing for busy families, our favorite most durable fabrics come from performance lines like Crypton and Inside Out.

What Interior Designers Look For When Sourcing High Quality Case Goods and Occasional Pieces 

Case goods and occasional pieces include storage pieces like bookcases, cabinets, and tables, which require practicality and aesthetic appeal. The craftsmanship of these pieces significantly impacts their durability.

Here’s what we look for that makes all the difference between a high quality case good and a low quality one:

Joinery: The highest quality pieces have rock solid joinery, like dovetail joints that are in it for the long haul. Whereas budget pieces often use glue or are stapled together. Which do you think holds up better against stacks and stacks of books or overstuffed drawers?

Hardware: High-quality hardware prevents sagging and ensures a smooth opening of doors and drawers.

Finishing: A high quality finish resists scratches and wear, so your pieces look new for longer.

The Long Term Benefits of Investing in Quality Furniture

When you invest in high quality furniture you ensure your pieces will look and function like new for years to come. High-quality furniture stands up to daily use, moves, and the test of time. Whether it be hosting family and friends, dogs who think they own the place, busy toddlers, teenagers who treat their furniture like a launch pad, or the action of a busy, happy home building a lifetime of memories. While the initial cost may be higher, the long-term benefits and durability make it a wise investment. Remember, when it comes to furniture, invest in quality, take care of it, and enjoy it forever. As the saying goes, “Buy nice or buy it twice.”

If you have to replace your sofa or dining table every few years, did you really save? By choosing high quality over low quality options, you’re not just furnishing a space—you’re signing up for years of style and function. Yes, the initial price might be a bit more, but the lifetime of benefits and durability? Priceless. 

Remember, in the world of furniture, you get exactly what you pay for.

Ready to elevate your space? Fill out a Project Inquiry Form today.



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