You don't have to be a furniture expert to be able to choose high-quality, well-made office furniture. You do, however, need to know what to look for, such as the feel of the arms or back of a reception area sofa or office chair; what makes the interior cushion of that sofa high-quality; the type of wood used to make chairs, desks and conference tables; and finally, the construction of furniture joints.
As you are looking at office furniture, open the seat covers and look closely at the cushions. Rather than just a foam cushion, you should see a block of foam that has been wrapped with fabric, such as cotton or even down. A high-end sofa cushion should also have a protective inner cover made of muslin.
The back cushions should have multiple internal compartments to hold loose foam fill. These compartments help to keep the foam fill from settling all at the bottom of the cushion.
Sit on the sofa or office chair. Scoot around and see whether the cushion feels different as you place your weight on different spots. Do you sink in one spot? Does it feel like your body is tipping to one side or another? That's a definite clue that the sofa's springs don't bear weight evenly. If you can, remove the cushions and press on the hard surface under them. Your hands should feel an even spacing of the springs, along with a resistance to the pressure of your hands.
Wood Furniture Joint Construction
High-quality desks should have dovetail or mortise-and-tenon joints. These are the strongest joints constructed, giving your desks the strength they need. Other good options for joint construction are the use of screws or dowels. If the joints are glued together or if they have been nailed or stapled together, this is a glaring sign that the desk is of low quality.
Pull desk drawers out fully. They shouldn't come completely out of the desk. They should slide easily in their drawer glides. Finally, lift each desk slightly at one corner. If you don't hear any popping or squeaking, this is good. Nor should the desk twist. If you prefer, ask one of our Cubiture furniture experts to raise the desks for you so you can verify their quality.
Wood Furniture Materials
Do you know what “hardwood” and “softwood” are? Those terms don't refer to how “hard” or “soft” each type of wood is. Instead, softwood comes from a coniferous tree and hardwood from a deciduous tree. To add to the confusion, some hardwoods are actually softer than some softwoods.
As you are looking for desks, you want to find woods that are as scratch-resistant as possible. Try drawing a thin line through the wood. Any visible marks mean you should bypass those desks and keep looking. A veneer is a thin piece of premium wood that covers a lower quality piece of wood. This isn't bad – even very high-quality furniture uses veneers. It's even possible for high-quality office furniture to be made of a sturdy, nine-layer plywood.
Avoid “knotty” woods, pressed wood, particleboard, and fiberboards. Furniture made from these “woods” will not stand up to daily use well.
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