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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
How are furniture designs and styling changing? What are the newest trends and colors? What is the impact of changing technology?
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?
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 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.
Latex foam is a natural product made from the rubber tree. It is extremely heavy and durable. It is also extremely expensive. As a result, latex foam is rarely used for sofas. Polyurethane foam is the standard type of foam used in upholstered furniture for both...
Are your sofas made using non toxic materials, such as solid wood, no voc’s, no flame retardants, organic and natural fabrics and cushion fillings/inserts such as latex foam or down? Simplicity Sofas frames are solid oak from locally grown select grade lumber. We do...
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...
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...
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...
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...