Our living spaces are shrinking, and large and ponderous furniture pieces seem out of place in many of today's smaller homes. The shift toward smaller pieces goes hand-in-hand with a preference for furniture that's less ornate and more contemporary.
Modern technology has an effect on furniture design as well. This is most apparent in the design of entertainment centers.
Entertainment centers are obviously made to accommodate our entertainment paraphernalia, but bedroom sets, accent tables and other furniture pieces are also being made to accommodate gadgetry. Even a traditional piece such as a roll top desk can be updated to accommodate laptops and peripherals. The nightstands in the Hooker bedroom collection pictured here have pull-out shelves, outlets and USB ports for charging laptops, iPods and phones.
Vintage furniture is enjoying a surge in popularity. Yes, nostalgia is involved, but the search for green furniture also contributes.
Vintage furniture is green on many counts. Although the finishes weren't originally non-toxic, they've finished off-gassing so they're safe for indoor air. When you buy vintage furniture or use furniture you've inherited, you're rescuing it from going to landfills. It's already survived a lot of years so it's probably well-made and durable. Hard economic times also make buying
Leather furniture has discovered a newfound popularity because it now comes in so many different shapes and colors. Leather is an old favorite, but now it has a new face.
American Leather is one of the leaders in leather furniture, but other manufacturers offer plenty of choices as well. Leather is easy to maintain and to clean. It retains its appeal much longer than fabric. One downside is that some stores offer bi-cast leather, also known as by-cast leather. This is not leather. This wouldn't be so bad if they didn't classify it as such, but it can be misleading for consumers.
Furniture tips: wood
1. Know your wood types
Wood furniture falls into three categories: solid wood, veneers, and particle board or composite wood.
Solid wood furniture is typically more expensive than other types and looks great, but can be susceptible to scratches and water rings. Veneers have an inexpensive wood base covered by several thin layers of better-quality wood. Because of the cheaper core, veneers aren’t as expensive as solid wood pieces. Particle board and composite wood pieces are made from a combination of wood pulp, plastics, and resin, basically the scraps of the furniture world. These are the cheapest type of wood furniture and can look decent, but won’t hold up for decades.
2. Check drawers and cabinets
Open the drawers and cabinets. Make sure the drawer pulls all the way out, latches properly, and then shuts evenly. Make sure doors open, remain in an open position (instead of snapping closed while you’re trying to get something out of the cabinet), and shut again. Check the handles and knobs. They should fit tightly and not jiggle or turn.
3. Avoid nails and glue
Look for wood joined at ends and corners, not glued or nailed in. Known in the manufacturing world as wood joinery, these pieces are studier and can take more weight. Check out