Tips for Choosing Moderately Priced Living Room Furniture

Couple measuring dining table in home furnishings store
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Searching for a good quality living room furniture group at a moderate price can be a perplexing task. This is a price point where you can be tempted by low prices, yet you must always keep in mind that better quality sometimes comes with a higher price tag. So, the question really becomes which is more important to you?

If you are intent on making brand comparisons, make sure you are comparing similar brands.

For example, Broyhill, Lane, Thomasville and Ethen Allen are brands with similar reputations and can be fairly compared. The best advice is to look for the highest quality your budget affords. Value is determined not by price alone, but by comfort, quality and durability. All these add to your quality of life.

For example, here are some hints to help in buying a good leather sofa:

  • Sit on it. This cannot be stressed often enough. After all, this is the function of a sofa, and simply looking at it won't give you an accurate picture.
  • Feel it with your hands. It should feel good against your skin soft, and supple rather than slick.
  • Try bunching the leather. You should be able to grab some in your hand. When you let go it should slowly regain its shape.
  • Avoid bonded leather.
  • The seating part consists of the legs, base and seat cushions. Look at the height of the seat cushions. Higher, thicker seat cushions are better for a sofa or chair that will be used frequently.
  • Carefully look at the seams and how the corners are finished. Well-made corners will hold up better to daily use.
  • Check the frame for sturdiness. Pine or other softwoods don't cost much, but the frame may warp or crack after a few years. Hardwoods will make a more durable frame. And avoid frames made from particleboard, which will easily crack or warp.
  • Look for legs that are integrated into the frame, or held on securely with dowels or screws--not simply glued on.
  • Test the springs. Most sofas have serpentine springs made of snaking wire. These offer good support, but they can sag over time if the metal isn't heavy.  Feel the springs through the upholstery to make sure they are close together and firm. Sofas with webbing or mesh instead of springs are not a good choice. 

  • Check the cushions. Polyurethane foam is a low-cost filling but look for high-density foam that will hold up better than softer, low-density foam. While high-density foam may initially feel harder, it will hold up better.