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How to Check Wood Furniture Quality: Insider Secrets for Shoppers

How to Check Wood Furniture Quality: Insider Secrets for Shoppers

Posted on April 3rd, 2024.

When it comes to furnishing your home, the quality of wood furniture plays a crucial role in shaping the overall look, feel, and longevity of your space. Investing in high-quality wood furniture not only adds warmth and character to your interior design but also ensures durability and functionality for years to come.

In this blog post, we'll delve into the insider secrets for shoppers to evaluate wood furniture quality effectively. 

From construction and wood type to finish and hardware, we'll explore the key factors that determine the superiority of wood furniture pieces. 

So, if you're ready to elevate your home decor with premium wood furnishings, let's dive into the world of wood furniture quality.

The Importance of Wood Furniture Quality

When it comes to furnishing your home, the quality of wood furniture is paramount. Here's why prioritizing wood furniture quality is essential for creating a space that's both beautiful and functional:

Longevity and Durability

Investing in high-quality wood furniture ensures that your pieces will stand the test of time. Quality craftsmanship and premium materials contribute to the durability of wood furniture, allowing it to withstand daily wear and tear and maintain its structural integrity for years to come. Unlike cheaply made furniture, which may deteriorate quickly and require frequent replacements, well-made wood furniture is built to last, making it a sustainable and cost-effective choice in the long run.

Aesthetic Appeal

Wood furniture adds warmth, character, and elegance to any space. Quality wood furniture pieces showcase fine craftsmanship and attention to detail, with smooth finishes, intricate designs, and rich wood grains that enhance the beauty of your home. Whether you prefer the timeless elegance of oak, the warmth of cherry, or the rustic charm of walnut, investing in high-quality wood furniture allows you to create a space that reflects your personal style and aesthetic preferences.

Investment Value

Quality wood furniture retains its value over time, making it a wise investment for your home. Unlike mass-produced furniture made from cheap materials, which may lose value quickly and become obsolete, well-made wood furniture holds its value and may even appreciate over time. Fine craftsmanship, premium materials, and timeless designs contribute to the enduring appeal of wood furniture, ensuring that your investment pays off in the long term. Whether you're furnishing your forever home or planning to sell in the future, quality wood furniture is a valuable asset that adds value to your property and enhances its appeal to potential buyers.

Now that we understand the importance of wood furniture quality, let's explore the characteristics of good wood for furniture.

What is Good Wood for Furniture?

Selecting the right type of wood is essential for ensuring the quality and durability of furniture pieces. Here are some of the best woods commonly used in furniture making:


Oak is renowned for its strength, durability, and distinctive grain patterns. It's a popular choice for furniture due to its ability to withstand daily use and resist moisture and humidity. Oak furniture is known for its timeless appeal and can range from light to dark in color, depending on the species.


Maple wood is prized for its fine grain and smooth texture, making it an excellent choice for furniture that requires intricate detailing and carving. It's known for its durability and resistance to dents and scratches, making it ideal for high-traffic areas in the home.


Cherry wood boasts a rich, reddish-brown hue and a smooth, satiny texture that improves with age. It's prized for its natural beauty and warm, inviting appearance, making it a popular choice for traditional and transitional-style furniture pieces.


Walnut wood features a rich, chocolate-brown color and a luxurious, lustrous finish that adds sophistication to any space. It's valued for its durability, stability, and distinctive grain patterns, making it a favorite among furniture makers and designers.


Mahogany wood is known for its deep, reddish-brown color and stunning grain patterns that add depth and character to furniture pieces. It's prized for its durability, stability, and resistance to warping, making it an excellent choice for heirloom-quality furniture that will last for generations.

Now that we've explored the characteristics of good wood for furniture, let's dive into how to check the quality of wood furniture effectively.

How to Check Wood Furniture Quality

Now that we've identified the characteristics of good wood for furniture, it's essential to know how to assess the quality of wood furniture effectively. Here's how to ensure you're investing in high-quality pieces that will stand the test of time:

1. Construction

The construction of wood furniture is a key indicator of its quality and durability. High-quality furniture is built to last, with sturdy construction methods and attention to detail. 

Here's how to check the construction quality:

  • Check for Dovetail or Mortise-and-Tenon Joints: These joints indicate superior craftsmanship and durability, as they provide strong, interlocking connections between wood pieces.
  • Inspect for Seamless Joints: Look for smooth, seamless joints without gaps or unevenness, which can weaken the structure of the furniture over time.
  • Assess Weight: Quality wood furniture is typically heavier due to solid construction and premium materials. Lift the furniture to gauge its weight and stability.

2. Wood Type

Determining the type of wood used in furniture construction is essential for assessing its quality and value. Different wood species have distinct characteristics and properties that affect the durability and aesthetics of furniture pieces. 

Here's how to check the wood type:

  • Examine Grain Pattern and Color Variation: Each wood species has a unique grain pattern and color variation that can help identify it. Look for these characteristics to determine the type of wood used.
  • Inspect Pore Structure: Use a magnifying glass to examine the wood's pores; hardwoods have smaller, tighter pores compared to softwoods. This can help distinguish between different wood species.
  • Look for Natural Imperfections: Authentic wood often features natural imperfections like knots, mineral streaks, and variations in grain pattern. These imperfections add character and authenticity to the furniture.

3. Finish

The finish applied to wood furniture not only enhances its appearance but also protects the wood from damage and wear. A high-quality finish should be smooth, durable, and evenly applied. 

Here's how to check the finish quality:

  • Feel the Surface: Run your hand over the furniture surface to feel for smoothness and consistency. A quality finish should feel smooth to the touch, with no rough spots or uneven areas.
  • Inspect for Even Application: Check for even application and coverage of the finish, with no streaks, blotches, or bubbles. An uneven finish can detract from the appearance of the furniture and indicate poor quality.
  • Assess Durability: Look for a durable, moisture-resistant finish that protects the wood from scratches, stains, and other damage. A quality finish should withstand everyday use and cleaning without showing signs of wear or deterioration.

4. Hardware Quality

The quality of hardware used in wood furniture can significantly impact its durability and functionality. Here's how to assess hardware quality:

  • Inspect Drawer Slides and Hinges: Check drawer slides and hinges for smooth operation and sturdy construction. High-quality furniture typically features metal hardware that glides smoothly and withstands frequent use.
  • Test Handles and Pulls: Pull on handles and pulls to ensure they are securely attached and don't wobble or loosen over time. Quality hardware should feel solid and durable in your hand.
  • Look for Rust or Corrosion: Examine metal hardware for signs of rust or corrosion, which can indicate poor quality or inferior materials. Quality hardware should be resistant to rust and corrosion, even in humid environments.

5. Joinery Techniques

The joinery techniques used in wood furniture construction are a crucial aspect of its quality and durability. Here's how to evaluate joinery techniques:

  • Check for Dowel, Dado, or Butt Joints: Look for well-constructed joints, such as dowel, dado, or butt joints, which provide strength and stability to furniture pieces.
  • Assess Glue Application: Examine glued joints to ensure they are properly glued and clamped, with no excess glue visible. Properly applied glue creates a strong bond between wood pieces that enhances the overall integrity of the furniture.
  • Avoid Staples or Nails: Be wary of furniture that relies solely on staples or nails for joinery, as these methods are less durable and prone to failure over time. Quality furniture typically uses more robust joinery techniques for long-lasting strength and stability.

Maintaining the Quality of Your Wood Furniture

Proper wood maintenance is essential for preserving the beauty and integrity of your wood furniture for years to come. Follow these tips to ensure your furniture stays in top condition:

1. Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning helps remove dust, dirt, and other debris that can accumulate on the surface of your wood furniture over time. 

Here's how to clean your wood furniture effectively:

  • Use a Soft Cloth: Wipe down your furniture with a soft, lint-free cloth to remove dust and dirt.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Avoid using harsh cleaning products or abrasive materials that can damage the finish or wood surface.
  • Consider Wood-Specific Cleaners: Use a mild wood cleaner or a solution of water and mild dish soap for tougher stains or buildup.
  • Dry Thoroughly: After cleaning, be sure to dry your furniture thoroughly with a clean, dry cloth to prevent water damage.

2. Protect from Sunlight and Heat

Exposure to sunlight and heat can cause wood furniture to fade, warp, or crack over time. Take steps to protect your furniture from these elements:

  • Position Furniture Wisely: Place your furniture away from direct sunlight or sources of heat, such as radiators or fireplaces.
  • Use Window Treatments: Install curtains, blinds, or UV-blocking window film to reduce sunlight exposure and protect your furniture from fading.
  • Rotate Furniture: Periodically rotate your furniture to ensure even exposure to sunlight and prevent uneven fading or discoloration.

3. Maintain Humidity Levels

Wood furniture is sensitive to changes in humidity, which can cause it to expand, contract, or warp. Here's how to maintain optimal humidity levels for your wood furniture:

  • Use a Humidifier: During dry winter months, use a humidifier to add moisture to the air and prevent wood from drying out and cracking.
  • Monitor Humidity Levels: Invest in a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels in your home and adjust as needed to maintain a stable environment for your furniture.
  • Avoid Extreme Conditions: Keep your furniture away from areas with high humidity, such as bathrooms or basements, as well as areas with low humidity, such as near heating vents or air conditioners.

4. Handle with Care

Handle your wood furniture with care to prevent scratches, dents, or other damage. Follow these tips:

  • Use Coasters and Mats: Place coasters, placemats, or felt pads under items like glasses, plates, or vases to protect your furniture from scratches and moisture damage.
  • Lift, Don't Drag: When moving furniture, lift it rather than dragging it across the floor to avoid scratching or damaging the wood surface.
  • Be Gentle: Avoid slamming or dropping objects on your furniture, and use caution when opening drawers or doors to prevent damage to hinges or joints.

5. Schedule Regular Maintenance

Schedule regular maintenance checks to inspect your wood furniture for signs of wear, damage, or needed repairs. Here's what to look for:

  • Inspect for Damage: Check for scratches, dents, or other damage to the wood surface, as well as loose joints or hardware that may need tightening.
  • Address Issues Promptly: If you notice any issues, address them promptly to prevent further damage or deterioration. Consider hiring a professional furniture repair specialist for more extensive repairs or refinishing.


How to Tell if Furniture is Real Wood?

To determine if furniture is real wood, look for natural imperfections like knots and grain patterns, which are characteristic of authentic wood. You can also check the wood's pores; hardwoods have smaller, tighter pores compared to softwoods.

How to Tell What Wood Your Furniture is?

To identify the type of wood used in furniture, examine the grain pattern, color variation, and pore structure. Use a magnifying glass to inspect the wood's pores, as hardwoods have smaller, tighter pores compared to softwoods. Additionally, research common wood species and their characteristics to make an educated guess.

Related: 7 Wood Design Ideas for Small Spaces 

Wrapping Up

Understanding how to assess wood furniture quality is essential for making informed purchasing decisions and ensuring that your investment stands the test of time. By considering factors such as construction, wood type, and finish quality, you can identify high-quality wood furniture pieces that will enhance the beauty and functionality of your home for years to come.

At NWA Wood Design, we specialize in crafting exquisite wood creations, including 3D cutting boards, serving trays, charcuterie boards, toys, dining tables, and more. Our commitment to quality craftsmanship and premium materials ensures that each piece we create is a true work of art, built to last and designed to impress.

Explore Our Woodwork Collection

If you're ready to elevate your home decor with premium wood furnishings, we invite you to explore our collection or contact us today at (479) 381-9328 or email [email protected]. Our team is dedicated to helping you find the perfect pieces to enhance your living space and create lasting memories.

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