Updating your home can be as simple as buying new furniture. It is a fantastic way to add elegance or flair to any room in your home.

Whether you are revamping an outdated living room or moving into your first apartment, finding quality furnishings should be your top priority.

No matter which style you embrace, furniture can be divided into two categories: sturdy, long-lasting pieces or cheap, flimsy furniture that will only last a few years.

How can you tell the difference?

If you are searching for high-quality pieces that are built to last, here are some aspects to consider.


Wood furniture can last a lifetime, provided it is well-made. Some of the best furniture consists of kiln-dried wood. This process removes excess moisture left over after processing. Drying takes several months, but it ensures the strength and durability of the wood.

High-quality furniture is made of wood whose grain and color matches. Frames should be made of the same wood as the rest of the piece or quality hardwood like poplar.

Maple, cherry or oak are some of the best wood for furniture. Pieces made of pine or plywood will be weaker and prone to breakage.


Understanding how furniture is constructed will help you find the highest quality pieces.

Joints that interlock are called dovetail joints. They are lined along the edges of drawers and other joints in the furniture. Dovetail joints have been in use for hundreds of years in furniture construction. Glue is the only material used to secure these joints.

A tenon is a tongue cut into the joint's short end. The space on the joint's long side where the tenon fits is called a mortise. Tenon joints and mortise are as widely used as dovetail joints and are just as strong.

The tongue and groove joint is a form of mortise and tenon joint. The tongue runs along the entire length of the board. You can find a groove on the other side. The tongue locks into the groove creating a stable surface resistant to warping.

Doweling consists of metal or pins and wood blocks which are used to secure joints between two separate wood pieces. While not as strong as a dovetailing or tenon joint, doweling does provide adequate stability.

Mitering holds furniture together with two pieces of adjoining wood. This material is cut at a 45-degree angle and then pieced together to create a 90-degree angle. The joint runs from the inside to the outside corner. You will see examples of mitering on a picture frame or mirror.

A floating drawer is one whose bottom is placed within grooves but not secured in any other manner.


Large pieces like headboards and tabletops often have clear divisions. This characteristic is often quite common. Wood is hard to find in large pieces, so divisions are necessary to create the furniture.

Feel the pieces with your fingertips. Quality furniture is well sanded and smooth, inside and out. All joints fit together perfectly.

Hutches and dressers should have dust panels. Drawers open smoothly, with no sticking or squeaking. When closed, the drawers should sit flat against the surface of the dresser or cabinet.

Any light fixtures on the furniture should be securely built into the unit. If the drawer is for silverware or jewelry, it should be lined.

Understanding materials, construction and characteristics will help you find furniture that is built to last. If you are going through the effort to buy furniture, why not choose high-quality pieces? It will give you the best value for your money.

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