You get what you pay for, when it comes to furniture, and there’s a growing demand nationwide for better quality furniture, says Mitchell Johnson, store manager at Gustafson’s Furniture & Mattress, 6651 E. State St.
“Both across the U.S. and here in our region, people are tired of cheap furniture that falls apart,” says Johnson.
Leather furniture remains popular, but Johnson cautions, “Be sure to ask questions about leather quality, since there are many imitations on the market. We also sell a lot of fabric sofas,” says Johnson. “There’s a trend toward more texture, with tweeds and corduroys and weaves. Today’s upholstery options are really wonderful – very durable but beautiful and comfortable. Most of today’s upholstery fabrics are made from PET, a highly durable polyester thread.”
Reclining furniture is very big, in every age group, across all demographics, says Johnson. “Don’t be afraid of electric mechanisms in recliners,” he says. “People worry too much about the motors breaking, but that seldom happens. You’re more likely to break a recliner that has to be manually raised and lowered. And electric motors give you a full range of motion rather than stopping at certain positions.”
When buying upholstered furniture, the important question is not how the surface looks but what lies beneath.
“Ask good questions,” advises Johnson. “Is the frame made from strong laminated wood or just plywood? Is there a reasonably good spring system that will distribute weight? Is the padding made of high-density foam or cheap fluff? Is the leather exterior real leather?”
Reputable stores often have a cut-away model so you can see the materials below the surface.
Do business with people who are in it for the long haul, not fly-by-night chain stores with high turnover, suggests Johnson. “They have a real stake in making you happy and will deal with you more honestly.” ❚