2020/12/11 16:04:44

Cheap Furniture Vs Expensive Furniture: What is the Difference?

For most people, furniture prices often come as a sobering surprise. You could see a beautiful chair on display and reckon it would look lovely in your space but then you see the price tag and start to frown. This experience sounds familiar, doesn't it? 

If it is any consolation, you are not the only one that is perplexed by the mystery of furniture prices. It is a common dilemma for most shoppers around the world. So, perhaps it is time to shed light on cheap furniture vs. expensive furniture: what is the difference. 

Curious? Read on.

Why Is Furniture So Expensive?

The main difference between cheap and expensive furniture is quality. For furniture to be comfortable, durable, and well-designed, it requires quality inputs. When you add up the cost of inputs, labor, and logistics, the prices start to make sense.

However, here is a basic rule of thumb that might save you tonnes of money: just because it is expensive does not mean it is good quality furniture. You will need to be discerning during your purchase to strike the right balance between price and value. Here are some key factors that influence the price.


One of the first things that will strike you as you admire a set of furniture is the fabric. While you may be drawn to the color or patterns, there is much more to it than meets the eye. Good quality fabrics such as natural leather or performance fabrics are quite expensive due to their durability. 

This in turn raises the price of the furniture. Nonetheless, their value is undeniable. You could go decades without ever having to reupholster such furniture.

The Materials Used

Hardwoods like mahogany and oak are preferred for their unique looks and their longevity. The Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, for instance, was made of Oak in 1880 and still stands to date. This goes to say, if you are hoping for furniture to last you to the next generation, you should invest in hardwoods. As you shop, you can easily tell such furniture apart from its weight and solid feel. The catch is, it attracts a handsome price. 

In contrast, softwood furniture like pine is lightweight and more affordable. It is also resilient against deformation due to shrinking and swelling due to temperature changes. If you are shopping on a budget, it would be a good option. 

Other materials you may come across are bamboo and MDF. Furniture made from these materials is usually pocket-friendly but the quality is wanting. Do not bank on it to serve you long-term. 

Finishes and Detailing

Great furniture finishes take time and require skill to execute. As a result, cheap furniture often falls short in good finishing and detailing. Unconcealed nails and bolts, rough edges, low-quality varnish, and heavy use of adhesive are some of the signs you pick out. There is absolutely no crime in buying this kind of furniture but beware that it will eventually fall apart. 

For a slightly higher budget, you will notice detailing like rounded corners, well-tufted fabric, and smooth edges. The designs equally get more cozy and fluffy as you go up the quality chain. 

Special Pieces

Custom-made furniture is always more expensive than off-the-rack designs. This is because they have to be crafted individually as opposed to mass production which is cheaper. The same applies to hand-crafted furniture which takes time and painstaking effort to complete. All things considered, their prices are well worth it.

If you have a taste for antique furniture, you may also have to stretch your budget to match the cost. Authentic antique designs are rare and intricate and thus their value and prices are higher. On the bright side, their aesthetic is unmatched and makes for a great conversation starter.

What Pieces Are Worth Splurging On?

At almost every point of your day, you require one piece of furniture or another. As such, it is safe to say that furniture plays a major role in your quality of life. Nevertheless, while you may want the best of each piece, prices can be restricting. To help you get around this, here are some pieces you can prioritize on your budget.

The Bed

Nothing is more personal than bedroom furniture and so it should take pride of place. Moreover, after being on your feet all day, you deserve a comfortable bed to rest in. With this in mind, be generous with your budgetary allocation. If at all possible aim for a well-designed hardwood bed. It may seem like a high price to pay for sleep but keep in mind that it is a long-term investment.

The Sofa

The first impression and general ambiance of your home are set by your living room furniture. It is also a focal point in your home where you are likely to spend most of your downtime. Therefore, it would behoove you to invest in a quality inviting sofa. A useful tip you can explore is buying one sizeable statement piece as opposed to a costly set. You could always supplement it with accent chairs.

A Dining Room Set

If you love to entertain or have a family, dining room furniture is certainly worth splurging on. Keep an eye out for hardwood sets with good varnish finishes; they will serve you and your kin well for many meals to come. Comfortable seats are a plus too. 

Furniture Pieces You Can Save On

For this part of your furniture-buying adventure, you will need a low budget but a very keen eye. The goal is to pick out cheap decent furniture pieces that will complement your more significant pieces. Such furniture would ideally include:

Kids' Furniture

Your parental instincts are probably up in arms but hold that thought. Children outgrow everything throughout their developmental years. Their beds, desks, toys and everything in between will at some point all become obsolete. So, as opposed to buying hardwood kids' furniture, consider softwood options. The jury is still out on MDF cribs and kiddie beds but you may want to explore those options too. 

That said, spare no cost to ensure all the materials used to make your child's furniture is completely safe.

End-tables and Entertainment Units

If sofas and coffee tables are the main cast, end tables, and entertainment units are the extras. Even the furniture police would prefer no charges against you for scrimping on these pieces. Besides, you can always trade them for more sophisticated furniture pieces in the long run.

How to Find the Best Deals on Furniture

Even the rarest gems are sometimes put up for auction. It is no different for furniture. While it is admittedly expensive, you could save some money or manage to buy some excellent pieces if you know where and when to look. You can find great bargains by:

Shopping During Sale Season

If you can hold off on buying your furniture until sale season, your bank balance may suffer a little less. Black Friday, for instance, has now gained popularity across the world. As brands try to outdo each other for consumer attention, you could have your pick of furniture at a bargain.

Clearance sales are equally a great opportunity to capitalize on. When furniture stores are taking delivery of new styles or lines of furniture, price tags are often adjusted downwards. These types of sales are especially good for patio furniture, tables, and beds.

The trick to acing sale seasons is to do your reconnaissance a month or so ahead of time. That way, when the sale comes on, you can swoop in and get what you want. If you wait too close to the mark, you might find stocks sold out. 

Buy Straight From the Source

Part of the reason why retail furniture prices are high is that they include a mark-up. However, if you can buy directly from the furniture manufacturer you could benefit from lower prices. You can reach out to furniture manufacturers directly through their websites or on e-commerce platforms. Alibaba, for instance, boasts of a long list of furniture suppliers. The best part is that you can compare different designs and prices. 

On the downside, it may be difficult to make a purchase decision based only on online photos. Some furniture suppliers also have high minimum order quantities which would be restrictive if you only want one unit.

Furniture Trade Fairs

Furniture trade fairs can aptly be described as furniture heaven. At such events, you will find an endless variety of furniture displayed across thousands of square meters. Displays include home and office furniture made of wood, metal, bamboo, and many other materials. Other furniture types such as outdoor and hospitality furniture are also usually well represented in the exhibition stands. 

The China International Furniture Fair is a perfect example of a furniture trade fair worth attending. It is held twice every year and attracts over 4,000 top furniture brands from all over the world. The first leg happens in Guangzhou, Pazhou in March while the second edition is held in Shanghai, Hongqiao in September. Whatever type of furniture you are hoping to find, this is the perfect place to shop for it.

Aside from variety, furniture fairs offer unbeatable prices. Given as you will be dealing directly with the manufacturers, you can easily negotiate custom designs and organize shipping arrangements. The gravy train does not end there though, there are also industry events open to attendees. If you are keen on learning about furniture trends or going into the furniture import business, the events would be a great learning opportunity.


When you invest in good quality furniture, you will be reaping the rewards for years to come. The pinch of the price will be long forgotten by then. As such, it may be best to focus more on value than price. Now that the price mystery has been debunked and you know all the tips and tricks, sourcing for furniture should be a breeze.

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  • Anonymous comments

    2021/04/24 03:54

  • Anonymous comments

    2021/04/24 03:52