If you’ve been inspired by some of our recent interior design posts featuring wooden furnishings, you’ll need to know how to spot quality pieces when you shopping. Take a look at this guide to make sure you know the basics.
The variety available in wooden furnishings is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it means you can almost always incorporate into your home, but it also makes narrowing down your choices difficult. If you’re looking for rustic furniture, look at products made from hardwoods, like mahogany, oak, and teak. These are generally more resilient materials and will have better withstood the inevitable bumps and bruises they’ve taken over the years. However, if durability is high on your priorities, don’t be put off shopping for softwoods either. You can still find quality pine furniture that holds up. Some particular varieties, like longleaf pine, are even stronger than some hardwoods. Contrary to what you might think, the difference between hardwoods and softwoods isn’t down to the strength of the materials. It’s actually defined by the type of tree they come from: hardwoods being from deciduous trees and softwoods from coniferous.
Once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll need to make sure you thoroughly inspect any piece of furniture before you commit to purchase. Don’t worry, a few simple tests will give you a good idea about the quality of the wood. You won’t need to identify anything by smell.
First off, make sure that the piece sits level with the floor. If the piece has any doors, drawers, or panels these should sit flush with the rest of the piece and not require a great deal of effort to open. Next you’ll want to test its sturdiness. Apply a reasonable amount of force and keep your ears open for if it starts to creak. If anything feels like it could come loose or starts to wobble you’ll know if hasn’t been assembled properly.
Ask the seller if they know if the wood was dried before the finish was applied. To remove any moisture left over, the wood needs to be either air-dried or kiln-dried. If this isn’t done properly the wood can become weak, leading to splitting or warping. When you examine the finish, make sure it doesn’t mask the wood’s natural grain. It’s these kinds of details that encompass the real beauty of buying furnishings made from natural materials. Finally, run your hand along the surface of the piece. Splintered edges and rough surfaces are easy tells of a poor craftsmanship.
Wooden furniture is commonly associated with traditional rustic settings but its natural beauty is also popular in modern, minimal designs. The next time you’re looking for a wooden piece, remember these tips.