Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to Check Wood Furniture for Quality

The kind of wood that is used has a lot of bearing on how long your furniture will last. It can be made of hardwood, softwood, or engineered wood. Generally speaking quality furniture is made out of hardwood coming from deciduous trees such as oak, maple, mahogany, teak, walnut, cherry and birch. The wood will be air-dried and then kiln dried to remove all the moisture. Coniferous trees such as pine, fir, redwood and cedar produce soft wood. It is possible to find good quality furniture in these woods also, but these woods are more prone to scratches and dents. Modern furniture is very rarely constructed of all wood. Plywood, or engineered wood is used extensively because it provides strength, and helps prevent splitting or warping. It can make for sturdy, long lasting and highly attractive furniture when used with high quality veneers.

The way a piece is constructed can contribute to its beauty; functionality and also how long it will last. The joinery and sturdiness of a piece will tell you a lot about its quality. Mortise and tenon, and dovetails are two of the oldest ways of putting together furniture, and also make for the strongest and best looking joints. Good joints can also have dowels or screws, but will never be stapled. Any glue used will not show outside the joint. Corner blocks add to the strength and stability of a piece. Back panels that face the wall are the generally attached with screws to help ensure the lateral stability. Backs and unexposed parts should be sanded smooth and well fitted. Drawers fit well and have glides to allow you to effortlessly move a drawer in and out of its station. They will also have stops to prevent a drawer from being pulled out or falling. Doors will close neatly be flush with the cabinet front, and good quality hardware will be used. Test for sturdiness, by trying to rock or jostle the piece. It should not squeak, twist or wobble. Check if it is level with the floor.

A quality finish involves sanding, staining, and finishing. Neglect at any of the stages can affect the overall quality of a piece. Sanding is the first step in the finishing process, and a good piece will be smooth so that when you run your hand over it there will be no rough patches. Inspect the finish from different angles to check for blotchiness or scratches. A good stain enhances the natural beauty of wood and adds color and character to the wood.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Outdoor Furniture

If you’re looking for the perfect summer getaway why not take a trip to your patio? The latest offerings in outdoor furniture, sets as well as single chairs or tables, are all geared for relaxing or outdoor entertaining. You can easily turn your garden or patio into a stylish outdoor living retreat.
The main functions that people want an outdoor space or patio to perform: provide comfortable place for lounging and relaxation, and provide versatility to help with outdoor entertaining, and do all of that with style. Outdoor spaces can be as inviting and usable as the indoor. Turn your patio or backyard into a stylish extension of your home using the same principles of design that you use in your other living areas. The outdoor living area has the potential to become the most attractive part of your home.
When considering comfort in outdoor furniture, chairs that are deeply cushioned and comfortable lounge chairs are important. Plenty of outdoor selections offer cushioning and comfort along with refreshing spa colors. Look for deep seating and plush cushioning. You can even get recliners for your patios and porches, and they are just as comfortable and stylish as the indoor ones.
Versatility is especially important for home furnishings purchases, as people expect furniture to serve two or more functions. Many manufacturers have now built multi-function into their new outdoor furniture. Tables with drop leafs, storage benches, and chairs versatile enough to use outdoors or indoors are some of the choices available. Fire pits and indoor/outdoor lamps convert patios into warm, attractive areas that can be used for entertaining at night as well.