The Secrets of the Furniture Industry Revealed

The Insider’s Guide to Furniture

The Insider’s Guide to Furniture was created to help furniture shoppers compare brands, evaluate quality and determine values. Learn which questions need to be asked and how to protect yourself against false or misleading claims and advertising. 

Need Advice?

Furniture shopping is frustrating.  Costly decisions have to be made based on incomplete and unreliable information and advertising.

This guide has been created to provide detailed  information to educate and inform furniture shoppers before they make their next purchase. 

Making a Purchase?

Check out our independent brand comparisons and product  reviews.

What are the advantages and dis-advantages of buying furniture online?

Avoid falling victim to common advertising tricks, warranty illusions and marketing scams.

Just Curious?

We provide honest and in-depth answers to topics other home furnishings blogs won’t address.

Are 50% off sales real? Why do warranties that seem to cover everything actually cover very little?  Does added fabric protection really work?  What famous U.S. brands now belong to Asian companies making cheap imported products?

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Everything You Need to Know Before Making Your Next Furniture Purchase

Insider’s Guide to

Balancing Cost and Quality

  • How much do good sofas cost?
  • How much should a good mattress cost?
  • Does leather furniture last longer?
  • Is solid wood furniture better?
  • Is it cheaper to buy furniture online?
  • Why does furniture fall apart so quickly?

Quality

Brands & Manufacturers

 

Brands establish a manufacturer’s reputation for quality. Perceptions of brand quality can linger for decades after it is no longer deserved. Trusted manufacturers can go bankrupt, selling sell off their once proud brands to the highest bidder.  The brand name lives on. The quality does not.

Custom

Manufacturers & Artisans

 

Custom manufacturing is alive and well throughout the U.S. Although most of the larger wood furniture manufacturers moved overseas in the 1980s and 1990s, there are still hundreds of small factories and local artisans remaining. Most custom upholstery sold in the USA is still Made in America.

Bargain

Retailers

Who are the the best furniture retailers? Is it possible to negotiate lower prices?  What are the advantages of buying online? Are those huge discounts really bargains?  What is the most important thing you need to know before buying your next furniture.

Insider’s Guide to

Furniture for Every Room Setting

Buying furniture is different than purchasing other expensive consumer products. There are thousands of brands. Very few are widely known. Quality and construction details are difficult to find. Incorrect and misleading information is everywhere.

Living Room

Did your expensive couch fall apart after only a few years? Learn what went wrong and how to avoid the same problems with your next sofa.

Bedroom & Dining Room

Looking for sturdy wood furniture at affordable prices? Or heirloom quality pieces that will last a lifetime? Check out our Insider’s Guide.

Reclining Furniture

Reclining sofas and sectionals are the fastest growing category in the furniture industry. They also cause the most problems. Find out why!

Online Furniture Buying

Over the past decade, online furniture purchases have grown rapidly. Currently 25% of all furniture sales are made online.

Custom Crafted Furniture

Searching for top quality custom furniture? Check out our list of small shops and artisans. Find the perfect piece – hand crafted just for you.

Mattresses & Beds

What determines mattress quality? Can different brands be compared?  Should you buy online or in a store? Are 50% off sales real?  

Insider’s Guide to

How It’s Made

Quality and construction are mysteries to most furniture purchasers. 

Furniture retailers and manufacturers offer limited details about the products they sell. The information provided is often misleading or inaccurate.

Terminology and descriptions can have vague or multiple meanings that may refer to very different materials, constructions and qualities.

For example, “All wood frames” can refer to solid wood, plywood or engineered woods.

“PU Leather” can refer to 100% polyurethane synthetic leathers, bonded leathers made with no polyurethane or other combinations of polyurethane, polyester and vinyl. 

The Insider’s Guide attempts to provide answers to your furniture construction questions.

 

 

Upholstered Furniture

15 years ago a consumer survey reported that most prospective purchasers expected their new sofas to last 10 years.

More recently, a similar survey indicates that the expected lifespan of new couches is now only 5 years. 

 Although upholstered furniture styles (and prices) have not changed radically, quality has decreased dramatically over the past 15 years.

 

Leather and Faux Leather Furniture

“Leather” can be a very confusing term when applied to furniture.

It is applied to both genuine leathers (made from animal hides) and various types of synthetic faux leathers.

In addition there are hybrid “bonded” leathers that combine the worst characteristics of both genuine and faux leathers.

 

Reclining Furniture

More than any other furniture category, reclining furniture has rapidly adapted to the new generation who grew up with social media and electronic connectivity.

As reclining furniture adds additional power options and communications functionality, consumers need to be aware of the relative fragility of the underlying seating compared to classic stationary upholstered furniture.

 

 

Style

How are furniture designs and styling changing? What are the newest trends and colors? What is the impact of changing technology?

Quality

Many home furnishings blogs and articles discuss the characteristics and features of high quality furniture. 

But what is the criteria for judging comparative quality in low and mid-priced furniture?

Cost

 Detailed furniture evaluations often require a cost analysis to explain the difference between design and construction factors that impact durability and functionality with others that are strictly cosmetic.

Sofas & Sectionals

To uneducated consumers all sofas and sectionals may look alike. The most important factors that affect lifespan and comfort are hidden. How a sofa or sectional looks and feels when brand new in a store may be very different than one year (or five years) later.

Sleepers

Sleepers are different than sofas, even those made by the same manufacturer. That’s not obvious from the product descriptions. In most cases the product description is based on how the matching stationary sofa is constructed, not the actual sleeper sofa.

Mattresses & Beds

Mattresses are one of the most difficult types of furniture to shop for. There are so many different brands and very few points of comparison. This guide provides sources of information and methods for comparing different brands and mattress types. 

Reclining Furniture

Reclining furniture is the fastest growing segment of the furniture industry. It is also one of the biggest sources of consumer complaints. Find out how reclining furniture is rapidly evolving and how to avoid the biggest problem areas 

Insider’s Guide’s

Blog Posts

What do you think about sectional sofas?

What do you think about sectional sofas?

There are no official standards regarding sectional sofas. In general the term “sectional” can apply to any upholstered seating that features two or more interconnected seat units. There are huge variations in size, features, styles etc. For example if you...

Who invented the sofa-bed?

Who invented the sofa-bed?

The modern pull-out sofa bed was invented by Bernard Castro. After emigrating to the U.S in 1919 from Sicily, Castro worked as an upholsterer’s apprentice. He opened his first Castro Convertible store in New York City in 1931 with $400 in capital. Castro Convertibles...

Who invented the Murphy bed?

Who invented the Murphy bed?

The Murphy bed is named after William Lawrence Murphy (1876–1957.)The first patents were applied for around 1900. The popular legend is that he was living in a one-room apartment in San Francisco. The moral code of the time frowned upon a woman entering a man's...

Can a furniture maker double as a builder?

Can a furniture maker double as a builder?

A good furniture maker will have many of the skills needed to build homes or other structures. Several furniture makers I know of have built their own homes or shops. But there are many aspects of building construction that they have to learn on the fly (or...

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