At Maiden Home, we began our journey as outsiders, so we experienced how overwhelming furniture choices online can seem. How can you truly know the quality of a piece without seeing and feeling it in person?
So we thought we’d break down a few things to keep an eye out for when looking for quality furniture online - giving you the top 5 phrases to spot when shopping for your home.
Not too long ago, furniture was viewed as an investment that you’d pass down to your children - heirloom pieces that were built to stand the test of time. In the US, the heartland of craftsmanship has always been North Carolina, specifically the Piedmont region just north of Charlotte.
Domestic craftsmanship is important for a host of reasons - but the most vital is the quality of the furniture that you welcome into your home. Because many of these craftsmen have been working in the industry for generations, they’ve been taught a regional skill that is rooted deeply in the belief of generations past that furniture shouldn’t be replaced every few years. This means that they invest in the architecture of your piece, building quality into the bones of your furniture.
Kiln-dried hardwood furniture is considered the gold standard in furniture making for a few reasons. The first is the distinction between hardwood and softwood. Hardwood species include Oak, Maple, and Cherry and are prized because they grow more slowly and thus are more dense and heavy. This translates to furniture that is much more durable over time. It also means that when compared to softwood, it is more complicated and expensive to cut and ship - which is why it tends to be used more in high-end furniture. The second is the treatment of the wood. Kiln-drying is a process by which an oven slowly extracts 95% of the moisture from the wood, preventing warping or cracking that can occur when hardwoods are left untreated.
These two terms in conjunction, kiln-dried hardwood, let you know that the manufacturer has invested properly into the architecture of your furniture, and is delivering a product you can depend on for years to come.
If the maker of your product isn’t prepared to stand by it for years to come, how should you be expected to? Look for lifetime warranties on things like springs and frames: These components make up the heart of your piece, and should come covered with a lengthy - if not lifetime - warranty.
One caveat: check the fine print. Many brands will tout long warranty periods, but include tricky phrasing to actually cut the warranty down in practice. One example: some companies will waive coverage if you move your furniture from one home to another. Since most Americans will move homes every five years, this cuts down your coverage considerably, leaving you liable if you start to experience problems a few years in.
It may sound silly, but the manner in which furniture is shipped is a huge indicator of the quality of the piece to begin with. Large, heavy furniture (especially if it’s custom) is very difficult to ship, so brands that offer White Glove Delivery standard - or even better, free - are companies that are making pieces worth shipping carefully. On the other side, if you can receive your piece in a couple days, shipped via FedEx or UPS, it’s likely that your piece is made using lightweight materials like particle board or softwoods and is disassembled when it reaches you - meaning it lacks the construction techniques of pieces that are truly built to last.
We’ve all been there - you’ve done the research and read the reviews, and when you receive the product, you can see that the quality isn’t what it’s supposed to be. Returns are becoming fairly common among everyday products, but with custom furniture, they’re shockingly rare. Brands that are confident in the integrity of their product will be generous with their return policies simply because they know very few people will want to return - look for companies that are excited for you to experience their quality in person.
It probably comes as no surprise that perusing the Maiden Home website, you’ll find all these phrases and more describing our products and how we treat our customers. When we launched Maiden Home, our goal was to reimagine the way that modern customers bought beautiful, high-end furniture - offering the same (and sometimes better) quality and craftsmanship without the ridiculous markup.
Our obsession with quality extends from the materials we source (kiln-dried hardwood) through to the partners we choose to deliver your furniture (always white glove, always free). And we hear it every day from our customers: when you sit in your Maiden Home furniture, you can feel the difference.
We’re excited to build you furniture that will stand up to your life for years to come - ready to dive in? Swatches are a great way to start. Experience the luxurious quality of our fabrics and leathers in the comfort of your home. Need a second opinion? Your personal Design Advisor is here to help - schedule an appointment to discuss everything from the Maiden Home shapes you love to the best layout for your space.