Insider tips on buying furniture

May 11, 2020 Posted by Jo Smithers Buying furniture

Furniture doesn’t have to be over the top designer to be long-lasting, it just has to be well made from good materials. Identifying the hallmarks of good-quality furniture is integral to ensuring your furniture can withstand the test of time, while retaining its style. To make buying furniture for your home near on effortless and help you hit your home decorating goals whatever your taste, we’ve got a breakdown of tips to make you comfortable with your decision.

Define your style

Before you buy anything, you need to figure out what you like. Just keep one thing in mind: A room full of carefully-combined furniture styles is much more interesting than a room full of matching, same-scale pieces. Don’t be afraid to mix n’ match styles to achieve the look you want. An ethos that the La Maison brand has followed and encouraged for the last 18 years.

Collection La Maison Furniture


Budgeting becomes even more important during the furniture buying experience, since large pieces … sofas, chairs and tables are often the most expensive part of any decorating project. Keep in mind some factors that affect cost:

  • Design and Detail
  • Materials
  • Manufacturing Process
  • Shipping 
  • Pre-assembled or DIY assembly at home

Whatever you decide, just remember that furniture with classic lines and simple fabrics will never go out of style.

Assess your lifestyle

How you use your furniture is one of the most important considerations. If you have children or pets, you need sturdy construction and easy-to-clean fabrics. Your lifestyle will affect the colours you choose. The guidelines are pretty common sense: White is a no-no for kids and pets; mid- to dark-toned prints will hide a multitude of sins. Remember however, that even the most durable furniture will wear out if it’s abused.

Kids Bedroom

Evaluate your space

You can only have so much furniture in a room before it starts to feel cramped and awkward. On the other hand, you want to be sure you have sufficient seating and table surfaces.

Before buying new furniture you need to ensure it fits your space, needs and personality, take the time to carefully plan and measure your space.

With the current trend toward big, overstuffed furniture, you must be practical and choose pieces that fit the scale of your room. 

Educate yourself about quality

Unfortunately, in the world of furniture, price is usually a good indicator of the quality of the furniture. 

Long-lasting furniture is made from long-lasting materials. Identify what kind of wood the piece is made from; the best timbers for furniture are ash, birch, cherry, mahogany, oak, maple or walnut as these all resist cracking.  

Don’t be bashful; you can view our furniture in our Design Showroom in Lilyfield Sydney and we encourage you to open drawers, check hinges, make sure everything opens and closes smoothly, pull the dining table apart and relax on the armchairs and sofas. Trying before buying is the safest way to find your perfect furniture.

No matter where you’re shopping, here’s what you need to consider:

Is it solid wood, veneer or a simulated product? Here at La Maison our main wood source for our painted products is mahogany. For outside you cannot go past teak for long-lasting quality.

Does the hardware match the piece in both look and scale? Besides considering aesthetics you might want to look the functional part as well. The best way to determine if the hardware has the right grip for you, you should try it out. How does it feel when you grip it? Is there anything that is pressing into your hand when you grab it? 

Our hardware is brass with a vintage finish to emulate an aged antiqued look and lovely to touch.

Is the frame solid, are the supports adequate? Does it feature solid joinery and dovetailed corners? Are screws tight, upholstery components concealed and covered?

It is important that furniture is all fully constructed. All our products are crafted by cabinet makers.

Should be even, rich and deep (unless it’s purposefully aged or weathered, in which case it will exhibit the intended inconsistencies). Watch for bubbling, brush strokes and consistency in finishing.  As we are the experts in Painted furniture our painted products have 8 layers with the two final coats hand brushed by our team of paint finishers in Indonesia.

Are the corners and curves well-defined? Are buttons, zippers and piping attached securely? Check the plumpness; sagging probably indicates insufficient stuffing.

Details Furniture Design

Upholstery material

We are all driven by aesthetics. Therefore, we don’t just want a comfortable chair; we want it to be attractive as well as durable. 

When choosing fabric for upholstered furniture, remember that you will get the best wear from tightly-woven fabrics. A common misconception is that the thickness of the yarn used determines durability; in truth, the number of threads per square inch will give you longer life.

The most common types of natural-fibre upholstery fabrics include the following and are the choice of textiles for most of the La Maison range.

Takes colour well, is soft and pliable, blends with other fibres and is durable. However, over time it will discolour and age with continuous exposure to sunlight. 

Strong, cool, crisp. One of the most durable fibres, though it has a tendency to resist colour. Reflects heat better than cotton, but is still subject to aging and discolouring in intense sunlight.

The most common types of synthetic-fibre upholstery fabrics include

Takes colours well. Strong and durable; stands up under direct sunlight. Flame and wear resistant. Often blended with natural fibres.

The strongest and most dirt resistant fibre. Often used in commercial applications but does lack life.

Educate yourself about price

Most furniture stores put meaningless price tags on their items.  “We got our couch at 50% off,” is nothing to be proud of. It probably means the price tags were too high to begin with. Discounts are distracting and misleading. Shop around and get an honest sense of the real price for the item you are looking at, then determine if you are paying a fair price.

Costs and Liability
Delivery is often where a good deal goes bad and considering Australia is a big country the price of delivery within Australia can be a large cost to your purchase. The price of delivery should be among the first things you discuss and consider, not an afterthought.

It’s incredibly important to be realistic about your furniture choices. If you order a sofa that can’t fit in your front door or up the stairs, and there’s damage during delivery, you’ll be liable…. check measure three times taking everything into consideration and order confidently once.

Also, some furniture requires assembly on-site, this is a cost based on time and is often money well spent having the items assembled by our carrier.

The other way to purchase furniture is with the classic “interest-free financing” offer. Such deals can be structured many ways, but they often involve what’s called “deferred interest.” That means the loan is free, but if you fail to pay it off entirely during the free period, you end up paying interest for the entire time period you borrowed the money … and the interest rates are often high.

Retail vs. Online

No one can deny that buying furniture in a physical store is pretty satisfying, you get to sit on the sofa, curl up in a bunch of different chairs to help you find exactly the right one and open and close bedsides and chests.  But in terms of selection, the internet definitely has the brick and mortar shopping experience beat. Online, you have pretty much every store and style you can imagine at your disposal with just a few clicks. You may not be able to test out a sofa yourself, but you can read reviews, and you can search for the precise item you want, narrowed down by your price range, all from the comfort of your own home.

Jo Le Brocque Signature

PS: Read what Diana Moore from Better Homes and Gardens wrote about her shopping experience in our showroom in Sydney. Read more

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