There is much more to choosing furniture than simply looking at the price tag, according to Domayne City West’s Greg Flaxman.

He said as people usually hung on to furniture for 10 years, functionality, quality, materials and size also needed to be factored into the equation.

“Price should never be the highest priority to look for, ” he said. “The better the finish detail, the higher the cost, but a better finish will keep the product looking newer for longer.”

Mel Princiotto, of Jamel House of Fine Furniture, said quality furniture should last 10-20 years.

“If you spend a small amount of money on a piece of furniture, then it’s going to be made very fast and with no quality checks so it won’t last long, ” he said. “But if you treat a quality piece properly, it should last your kids’ kids.”

Here, we ask the experts to share their top tips for selecting furniture.


Consider the framework, upholstery and filling when selecting a new sofa, Design Farm’s Emily La Merra said.

Hardwood timbers used for frames needed to be dense and seasoned correctly to avoid warping and cracking.

“Also ask what is inside the lounge, ” she said. “Poor-quality furniture is usually filled with spongy foam which sags.

“Generally a comfortable lounge will be filled with polyester wadding, duck down, or a combination of both. Exceptional-quality furniture will often be pocket-sprung and filled with high-quality synthetic and natural fibres.”

For fabric couches, Ms La Merra said to choose a material with a high rub-test factor. “This demonstrates the tested level of surface rubs before the fabric shows signs of wear such as fraying and splitting, ” she said.

“Commercial-grade fabrics have a higher level of resistance than most domestic fabrics. It is best to save beautiful but delicate fabrics for loose back cushions and throw cushions that can be easily reupholstered.”


Gascoigne Leather Centre’s Kim Gascoigne said that while you could buy a leather sofa for under $2000, it was unlikely to last more than a few years, while a quality leather lounge, in the vicinity of $3500-5000, could last 10-15 years in a family room or a lifetime in a formal room.

Ms La Merra recommended choosing quality top-grain (cut from the top grain of the hide), dyed-through leather over cheap leathers with a painted-on grain finish.

“This is where the leather is of poor quality to begin with so a grain pattern is stamped into a layer of coloured paint to imitate a natural hide texture, ” she said. “These types of leather will feel cold in winter and sticky in summer and tend to crack and peel after a short period.”


Anita Watkins, of The General Store, recommended opting for a solid timber dining table as it would last forever.

“Wherever there is food there are people and it is great to connect the hive of activity in these communal areas with a solid feature piece, ” she said.

“A small space often suits light timbers in Scandinavian styles as they are not too heavy visually, whereas a big chunky table in a large space can be a statement piece.”

Mr Princiotto said to allow at least 1.5m from the edge of a dining table to a wall, so people could walk past comfortably while someone was seated.

When it came to bar stools, consider the height of the kitchen bench, Ms La Merra said. For a 900mm-high bench, she recommended 650mm seats, or 750mm seats for an 1100mm bench.

“Chairs and stools get a lot of use and are the most susceptible to spills so consider materials that are easy to keep clean.”


When selecting a bed, look for a bedhead and base with well-finished corners, Ms La Merra recommended. “There is nothing worse than cracking your leg in the middle of the night on a hard bed-corner, ” she said.

“One way to overcome this is to go for an upholstered bedhead and frame but make sure that the fabric is good quality, easy to clean or is even removable for washing.”

Storage, both under the bed and for bedside tables, was another consideration. “Do you need room for a lamp, ” Ms La Merra said. “Is there space for a book and a glass of water?”


The General Store’s Anita Watkins said to take your time when furniture shopping, especially for big ticket items. “Think about the function of the piece you are wanting — does it fit your space and needs, does it store everything you want it to store, is it big enough to seat the whole family and friends?”


© The West Australian

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