So you are in the market for a new bedroom suite and you want to make sure you buy a set with lasting quality - but what to look for? We will be candid and acknowledge that we are biased that Amish-crafted furniture is superior to the mass-manufactured furniture offered by the big box stores. But read on for ways that you can see this for yourself.
The first question should be “What is the furniture made of?”. The best materials will be solid hardwood. Don’t be fooled by a statement that something is solid wood - it needs to be solid hardwood, which means that it is made from lumber that came from the tree in board form. These boards may have been glued-up edge to edge to form a larger panel or used by themselves for smaller components. The term “solid wood” is increasingly being used to refer to materials that may have wood as a major component but may also include other materials (glues, sawdust, etc) . Ask the salesperson to be clear - if it’s not solid hardwood then you may be settling for a less than ideal material.
The next area of concern should be the finish. Here’s a checklist of things to look for:
- Is the entire piece stained or painted in all areas that are visible (i.e. inside edges of feet, etc.)
- Are insides of drawers finished/sealed?
- Make sure there are no rough areas - either that were missed in the sanding or where dust/particulate has settled into the topcoat.
- Check to make sure there are no stain runs where the stain leaked back out of corners and joint lines before it had dried.
- Look for finish “sagging” - where the clear topcoat finish has been applied too heavily, too quickly and the finish runs as it is drying.
Next you will want to focus on construction. Each type of bedroom furniture has some specific benchmarks to look for:
Beds - Regardless of the size (King, Queen, Full or Twin) you want your bed to be made with quality and attention to detail:
- Look for wood side rails, not metal. The gauge of metal frequently used here in mass-manufactured beds can bend and flex. A wood side rail will be more sturdy.
- Check that the rails are attached to the headboard and footboard with at least two bolts through a substantial bracket at each end of the rail.
- Look for wood cross slats that are held in place where they meet the siderails. The slats should be dovetailed/keyed in place or have an index hole with a dowel that will not allow them to slide off the cleat on the rail.
- For King size beds and some queens make sure there are center supports for the slats - this prevents the slats and therefore the mattress from sagging over time.
Case Goods - Whether it’s a dresser, chest of drawers, armoire or nightstand the same hallmarks of quality will apply:
- Avoid furniture that has a single, center mount drawer slide. This will quickly break and cause the drawer to be an aggravation. Look for two slides - one on each side of the drawer or one on each bottom side of the drawer. Look for types that feature a ball-bearing or spring/piston system. Ask the salesperson to demonstrate to you how easy it is to remove and replace the drawers.
- Check to make sure the drawers are dovetailed, front and back. Clarify that it’s an english dovetail, not a french dovetail.
- Make sure that the decorative hardware is drilled properly - i.e. that the backside of the drawer or door face is not splintered out where the drill bit came through. Is the hardware placed appropriately and even?
- If the piece has doors check to make sure that the hinges are of a type that allows adjustment. For large doors make sure that the hinges are heavy-duty enough and that there are the appropriate number and placement of hinges to keep the doors from sagging and not hanging level.
- Speaking of level - larger case goods should have levelers that will allow you to make sure the piece sits level, even on an uneven floor. Allowing a case good to sit unleveled for years will permanently rack the frame and result in frustration with doors and drawers not working properly.
While this article is in no way a comprehensive quality checklist of what to look for when shopping for bedroom furniture it can serve as a starting point to help you buy with confidence.
As always if you ever have any questions about the quality furniture available at Geitgey’s Amish Country Furnishings in Dublin please don’t hesitate to call, click or visit.