April 21, 2017 at 4:57 pm #6534
What are your favorite home furnishings stores, antique fairs, and auction houses in your region? I live in the Southeast, and I have many! In my area, I love the Antique Tobacco Barn, Brunk Auctions and the ScreenDoor in Asheville, NC, the Antique Market Place and the Bassett Store in Greensboro, and Liberty Antique Festival in Liberty NC. The Hickory Furniture Mart in Hickory NC, Furnitureland South in Jamestown NC, the High Point Market in High Point NC, Miami Circle in Atlanta GA, and shopping on Kings Street in Charleston SC.
What I look for when I shop for home furnishings are items that “inspire me.” These things need to fit a particular purpose or place in my home which does not mean that once a piece of furniture or decorative object occupies a spot in my house that I am not willing to change it out if I find something I like better. When evaluating an item, it is ok to inspect it closely. Better made furniture is usually sturdier so lift it, open it, and sit on it. The better chair, table, or sofa contains higher quality materials in the construction of the item whether it be in the case construction, springs, frame, and cushion, and they will be heavier than lower quality pieces.
Examine the finish from all angles which should be even, rich, and deep. If the finish is translucent, it should be even, and the grain should show through. If it is an opaque/solid, it should be consistent. Wicker and rattan pieces should be smooth without splinters or end sticking out and should be tight and uniform. Look beneath the surface, lift the cushions pull out drawers and even turn the piece over to see how it is constructed. You do not need to be an expert here: Just look for the obvious, and the more you look, the more you will notice differences. Remember when you are looking at the unfinished part of the furniture, perfection should not be expected. Looking underneath should give you a clue about the care that went into making the piece.
With upholstery, check the cushions to see if they have neat, sharp corners or curves, securely attached details and buttons, and well-sewn seams which are all signs of a quality cushion. The contour should be plump and well-shaped; a squashed appearance usually indicates insufficient stuffing. If you scrutinize the details of fine-quality furniture, the quality will be apparent, because it will have better sanding, finishing, construction, and mechanisms.
Your piece should fit its new location in your home, so study the size and styling that you want for the room. Beautiful designs are abundant, so check pieces carefully to satisfy yourself that the manufacturer hasn’t cut corners. Choose the piece based on where it will be located and how it will be used in your home. If your plan is for a sofa to sit in front of a picture window, think of how the fabric will fade from the sun and choose a fabric with less pattern and less color and maybe even a sunbrella fabric. If you are looking for a table for the kitchen where your kids do their homework, select one with a tough finish that you will not mind getting nicked and bruised. Enjoy the hunt! It can be great fun, and choose the best quality that you can afford.
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