Mar 282013
 

crooked dresser for kids roomFirst, let me say…..the information in this post is by no means a comprehensive list of every feature of quality furniture. It is however a starting point for spotting quality construction in kids’ furniture when you go shopping.

Before we get into specifics, here are a few must haves and things to watch for in your search for the good stuff for kids’ use.

All doors must work smoothly with strong, secure hardware. Drawers fit well, open easily, are smooth to touch and sealed on all surfaces….including hidden parts. Long shelves have center supports.

Absolutely no visible screws (no staples and few nails in fine furniture), no glue drips, no cardboard bottoms or backs…..and nothing wobbles.

Wood Joinery

Wood furniture quality can be quickly evaluated by inspecting joints and door edges but also look for these joinery techniques. How pieces are connected tell the true story of quality.

dovetail joint for kids furniture construction mortise and tenon joint for kids furniture construction corner furniture block for quality kids furniture construction back panel for quality kids furniture construction
Drawer corners have dovetail joints. Frames use mortise-and-tenon connections. Weight bearing joints are reinforced with corner blocks. Back panels are screwed into frames.

hand rubbed finish

Wood Finishes

The finish is your second clue to quality—last thing applied and first thing you notice so look closely at two aspects: 1) clarity and 2) feel of the finish.

The wood grain pattern of fine furniture is visible through the finish. The finish is used to protect wood and enhance its natural beauty

Feel the difference. Quality furniture has a silky feel, smooth to touch. Mid to upper price has same look but not same feel. Low price has same color but without the look and feel.

Other Materials

Materials other than wood were discussed in the Kids’ Room Furniture Essentials {Materials}. Here are a few pointers for each of the other materials covered. (Click on the material name for more  information.)

acrylic furniture joint construction
Acrylic
  • High quality acrylic is cast made, not extruded.
  • Quality acrylic furniture will not yellow, turn brittle, or crack.
  • Seams that are welded and polished correctly are invisible.
Plastic
  • Fiberglas is only plastic strong enough to withstand heavy use.
  • Base must be some other material—plastic not strong enough for full support.
  • Support connections should be unbreakable, sturdy, and able to withstand movement.
  • All surfaces should be rounded, smooth, and free from burrs or sharp edges.
molded plastic furniture quality construction
tubular steel chair frame
Metal
  • All welded joints should be smooth and clean, without burrs or sharp edges.
  • All connections should be secure with screws hidden—nothing loose or wobbly.
  • Corners should be rounded and completely smooth—finishes do not chip or rust.
  • All metal is impossible to bend or kink–no drumming noises on flat panels when pushed by hand.
Upholstery
  • Strong frame means long lasting furniture.
  • Frame should have enough padding so it can’t be felt through the fabric.
  • Springs are bouncy but don’t squeak when you move.
  • Cushions have high-density foam and any zippers are concealed.
  • Best fabric for kids’ use is stain resistant, water repellant, and antimicrobial.
upholstered chair for kids quality furniture
quality weaving for natural kids furniture
The Naturals
  • Joints should be close fitting, glued, and secured with nails and screws.
  • Bindings should be tight and secure—genuine peel or leather.
  • Frame should be rigid—not wobbly.
  • Poles, bindings, and woven surfaces should be uniform in size and appearance but not identical.
  • All mechanisms should operate freely.

 

kids bedroom with quality furniture construction

You really have two choices when selecting kids’ room furniture—get fine quality furniture that will take a kid from crib to college and be passed down for generations OR buy disposable pieces that you only want to use for a few years.

Hopefully the tips given here will help if fine quality is your choice. Do what ‘s best for your family. Need help….let me know. I love to shop for clients!

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Watch for the Kids’ Room Furniture Essentials {Materials} design basics posts on the following topics:

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