Top secrets to buying quality furniture

Looking to buy new furniture? But how can you tell what's quality and what's particle board?

Pete and Rob talk to Rich Jamieson from Jamieson Furniture Gallery about how you can make educated buying decisions.

"You want to look for solid wood; you don't want MDF (medium density fiberboard) because that can be toxic," he says.

MDF, which most people think of as particle board, is actually made up of a composite of woods, Rich says. While most MDF-makers claim the wood is reclaimed and recycled, he points out that you often don't know where the wood came from. This means the wood can contain mold, as well as formaldehyde or other toxins used to kill the mold, neither of which you want in your house.

If you're looking for a high-end piece of furniture, Rich recommends teak, mahogany, koa or mango. Those woods are made of a superior, stable grain structure.

When looking for quality, first inspect the back panel. If it's MDF, you know you're not looking at a quality piece of furniture, says Rich. "If a manufacturer is willing to put MDF on the back panel, then they're willing to put it somewhere else in the furniture," he says. "Anything that says mixed hardwood, you should be leery of."

He also recommends making sure the joints are either glued, screwed or nailed, rather than than stapled, and carefully inspecting the finish. If the wood is not properly sanded or stained, the finish will look fake, versus a well-stained piece of furniture that will accentuate the grain.

If you're conscientious about where your wood comes from, rest easy. A quality furniture manufacturer "will not be cutting down the Amazon," says Rob. Rich says most of their wood, particularly teak, is reclaimed from old doors or gazebos from Japan.

Jamieson Furniture Gallery is a proud sponsor of Home Matters.

Home Matters with Pete and Rob can be heard on KIRO Radio every Saturday at 8 a.m. and Sunday at 6 a.m. or anytime at KIRORadio.com. Like Home Matters on Facebook.

Cait Walsh, MyNorthwest Writer
Caitlyn Walsh is a regular lifestyles contributor for MyNorthwest. She enjoys reading and hiking, as well as perusing all the cat videos the Internet has to offer.
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