How do you know if that shiny mahogany bureau is the right investment piece for your master bedroom? Or what about that classic wingback chair for the living room? Is it crafted to stand up to the test of time…and the heavy traffic of your busy household?
Rob Burch, CEO of Kindel Furniture, is often asked to offer up his best advice for buying quality pieces of furniture. The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based company has a 115-year history of designing and crafting iconic furniture designs for the Winterthur Museum in Delaware, with inspirations from Dorothy Draper to Robert A.M. Stern Architects. To this day, Kindel is known for craftsmanship and attention to detail: bench assembly, hand-selected veneers, hand carving, hand-painted decoration, and hand finishing. When it comes to high-end tables, chairs and the most wanted pieces for the home, Burch is a good judge of character. Below, he shares Kindel’s best-kept secrets for buying and collecting luxury furniture for your home.
1. Buy What You Love
“You will never regret buying the best quality you can afford,” says Burch. “Furniture is an investment that should ultimately enhance the quality of your life. You should invest in a piece that will have staying power and will make you happy every day.”
2. Comfort Is King
“Comfort should be the top priority when selecting seating,” advises Burch. “At Kindel, for example, premium springs are used in dining chairs and upholstery seating. So, if you love to entertain, this is certainly something to consider when making a purchase. There is absolutely nothing worse than sitting in an uncomfortable chair for an extended period of time. It is completely worth the investment to have pieces that are well designed, well constructed, and comfortable. The only downside is that your guests may never want to leave!”
3. Buy the Best You Can Afford
“Always look to purchase the best quality items for your budget,” urges Burch, “and don’t be afraid to splurge for well-crafted pieces that are built to last. Generations ago, living room furniture had a ‘look but don’t touch’ rule, but this is not how people live today. Kindel pieces are sturdy enough to handle today’s busy lifestyles and their varied (and sometimes demanding) needs. Because they are built to last, Kindel pieces are future family heirlooms; they will be handed down from one generation to the next.”
4. Keep It Timeless
“Timeless design is always in style,” says the CEO. “Remember that tastes change, so do not always be seduced by the latest trends. If you buy piece today, consider how you might feel about it down the road. Does it have classic lines and good bones? It is adaptable? Could it work in a different room if tastes shift? Could you mix it with another style? Ask yourself if the piece you buy today might fit into the next chapter of your life.”
Kindel’s Practical Guide for Furniture Buying
Always look at how the piece was made. Here are six practical questions you should ask yourself before buying that must-have piece.
1. Is the wood solid?
2. Examine the joints – are they flush?
3. For a chest, how smoothly do the drawers slide in and out?
4. Are the chair frames made of plywood or solid maple? Are the dowels made out of solid wood? Do the finishes have depth, clarity, and consistency?
5. For upholstered pieces, what is on the inside counts. Are the springs tied for support and security?
6. Is the upholstery tailoring consistent? For example, are the pleats deep, do stripes line up and do seams meet evenly?