How to Avoid Deceptive, Low-Quality Furniture

This article showed up in the news recently. I’ve taken out the name and links because I don’t want to give this company any publicity. Read the following press release and then we will address a few problems with this new trend in furniture manufacturing:

  • The home furniture industry is starting to see some changes in how pieces are made, delivered, and assembled.
  • This company is an online furniture company that combines convenience, versatility, and quality materials to make products that homeowners love.
  • Its chair $595.00, loveseat 895.00 and sofa 1195.00 are designed to be customized and are very simple to put together.

Shopping for furniture is almost never an easy process. Everyone wants to own nice, long-lasting furniture that looks good in their home, but many of us end up settling for cheaper, short-term solutions for fear of 1) spending too much money and 2) investing in a piece we’re not sure we’ll continue to like a few years down the line.

This person started a direct-to-consumer Furniture Company out of his struggles to solve the “IKEA budget but high-quality mindset” problem that plagues so many young renters and homeowners.

The Harvard Business School alum studied mechanical engineering as an undergrad and boasts an impressive resume that includes design engineering positions at both Honda and Apple. It was this extensive background that informed his approach to bringing innovation to the long-stagnant furniture industry.

By offering customizable, modular components at a more accessible price, This company is made for the modern consumer who wants to invest in quality furniture, but also knows that plans change. As you move through life, this company’s furniture can adapt right along with you.

The Wyzenbeek Test is a measure of durability in which a piece of heavy canvas is repeatedly rubbed over the fabric, and every back and forth motion is one “double rub.” Their fabrics have a 15,000 double rub count, which is considered heavy-duty, so you can expect them to last. They’re also easy to hand wash and spot clean.

The frame is made of laser-cut, cold-rolled steel and comes with a lifetime warranty. The seat cushions are manufactured with high resiliency, flame-retardant-free foam while the back cushions are made of polyester fibers.

The owner says it’s important to him that the company makes the smallest environmental footprint possible. Thus, all materials used are 100% recyclable, and the goal is that nothing will ever have to end up in a landfill.

If you’re used to cheap prices, it might initially be hard to accept these prices, but consider the multiple pieces of furniture you’ve already thrown out in your lifetime. Those costs add up too, and it’s wiser to invest in a few solid pieces instead.

Five Quick Issues to Address with this Trend:

There are some apparent flaws with this method of furniture creation and styling. Follow the items below to make sure the furniture you’re buying is good quality.

    1. Problem number 1: Comfort
      This furniture cannot be comfortable based on the fabrication. To this individual’s credit, they don’t address comfort in all their propaganda. I would argue that’s what people care about the most. They don’t make the claim that their furniture is comfortable because they know it isn’t. How do I know it isn’t comfortable? Well, there is no spring up platform that supports the cushions. Is it a flat base. I can’t tell if it is wood or steel, but this is one of the most important aspects to achieving a comfy ride. With a modular frame, you have no way to attach coils, whether 8-way, hand-tied, or even sinuous. These are the high-end and mid-level ways you support the cushions and an integral part of creating seat comfort.
    2. Problem number 2: Construction
      The cushion construction is considered extremely low-end within our industry. A foam-wrapped cushion with “high resiliency,“ will not last or hold its shape. A very high-density foam cushion, about 2.2lbs, will keep its shape even though it doesn’t have a coil (spring) core. However, that is not what they are using. And polyester back cushions?! Without down or a micro-denier fiber, these will not only feel terrible but will look horrible in minutes.
    3. Problem number 3: Durability
      15,000 double rubs are not all that durable. It is a residential rating for fabric. Every designer knows that if it isn’t at least 30,000, you will find abrasion issues in a short period. The fabric must cost around $5 a yard wholesale. Again, this is not high quality. Is it washable or stain resistant? This is what determines longevity.
    4. Problem number 4: Quality & Price
      Presenting this furniture as high quality is irresponsible. This is far from high quality and probably very disposable. What will you do when your cushions are flat and the fabric wears? Oh, that’s right, you can purchase more covers from them. How convenient. . . and costly.Presenting these prices as high, as well as the quality, is truly negligent. “IKEA budget but high-quality mindset.” What? These are IKEA prices, but IKEA sofas looks far more comfortable. A sofa from this company is $1,195.00, which is not expensive. There are better ways to achieve economical furniture.
    5. Problem number 5: Misconceptions About the State of Innovation in the Furniture Industry
      Calling the furniture industry “stagnant in innovation” reveals the lack of furniture manufacturing knowledge of this owner. Has he been in a furniture factory in North Carolina? We can program a CNC machine (Computer Numerical Control) to do laser cuts that can mimic shake shingles or lattice. The part’s mechanical dimensions are defined using CAD software and then translated into manufacturing directives by CAM software. The industry hardly lacks innovation. Renaming KD (knocked down) furniture is hardly innovative. It is just a new name for an old concept.

Don’t Fall For the Hype

Does this new trend have a product with redeeming qualities? The concept does have application. It is more than likely great for people with homes that have tight ingress and egress or difficult stairways. This would also be great for kids’ spaces where comfort does not matter. It is the presentation of quality at the advertised price point that is misleading. Don’t fall for the marketing hype, just to end up with lesser quality furniture.