William Raveis Real Estate and Home Services



Posted by Deborah Schilling on 1/10/2019

Buying furniture is a big investment in time and money. If you’re trying to match the style and color scheme of your home perfectly, it can be difficult to find something that’s the right fit. 

This is a task made more difficult when many large furniture stores carry largely similar items that don’t veer too far from the current trends.

If you want to buy unique furniture that meets your specific style it can seem like there are few options. However, there are many online stores where you can find just that, and so so by supporting small retailers and craftsmen.

In this article, we’re going to give you some advice on finding furniture that will make your home stand out. Read on for a list of how to find handmade and uncommon furniture for your home.

Buying local

One way to find unique furniture and support local craftsmen at the same time is to search for furniture makers in your area. Oftentimes a Google search will help you local nearby shops. However, you can also use websites like Craigslist to narrow your search down to your area.

If you’re having trouble finding people who make or refurbish furniture in your area, try searching for local businesses on websites like Yelp or Yellow Pages.  

Scavenge and refurbish

One way to guarantee that your furniture will be unique is to buy antique or discarded items and then pay a craftsman to refurbish and alter the item. This is particularly common with sofas and chairs.

Upholstering is an art form that requires a good idea, both for restoration and customization. Oftentimes you can find inexpensive, but well-worn, furniture at thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales, and on Craigslist at very cheap prices.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of sanding, staining, or painting old furniture to give them a new life in your living room or kitchen. What’s more, when you take on a DIY project to refurbish a piece of furniture it will have added meaning and value to you, and you could discover a new hobby that you’re interested in along the way.

Online stores

There are a number of online retailers who sell handmade or refurbished furniture. One of the most popular web stores right now is Etsy. On Etsy, you can find craftsmen and refurbishers’ work who you appreciate and follow them to see what they have in stock.

Before Etsy, Ebay was the leading place to buy handmade and refurbished items online. To this day, Ebay still has a wide selection of items. Since many items on Ebay are auctioned, you also have the potential of winning a bid at a low price.

A third option would be to seek out the hundreds of small furniture shops online. A benefit or seeking out the manufacturer directly is that you get a chance to learn about the product and ask about customization.

Those are just some of the ways to find unique, handmade furniture for your home. Remember to be patient and to ask questions while furniture shopping to make sure you find the perfect fit for your room.





Posted by Deborah Schilling on 1/26/2017

Finding out the quality of furniture at a furniture store can be difficult. Product descriptions are written with the goal of getting you to buy. What’s more, floor sales employees will boast about the quality of their “genuine bonded leather,” how easy it is to clean and how long it lasts.

What many people don’t know is that words like “genuine” don’t mean “real” leather, but rather a grade of leather. Genuine leather is, in fact, the second worst type of leather in terms of quality and durability.

To help you avoid this and other blunders at the furniture store, we’ve written a simple guide to furniture leather that aid you in making the most informed decision possible the next time you’re at the furniture store. After all, furniture is expensive, and you want to make sure you get the best option for you and your family.

Leather grades

Bonded. The most basic thing to understand about leather are the grades. At the bottom of the list, or the lowest grade leather, is bonded leather. The word “leather” is actually generous in this scenario because bonded leather is really made up of fragments of leftover leather that have been glued together (or “bonded”) with latex or poly.

Bonded leather is often used for furniture because large items like sofas require so much of it. Manufacturers won’t soon tell you just how much of the sofa is comprised of leather and how much of it is composed of latex, so be wary of spending a lot of money on bonded leather furniture.

Genuine. Genuine leather, also known as “corrected grain” leather has artificial grain applied to its surface. This top grain is designed to increase the visual appeal of the leather by changing the texture and pigmentation to create different colors.

While genuine leather is a step above bonded leather, it is also subject to wear as the surface isn’t true leather.

Suede. Suede is a type of “split grain” leather, meaning that the top of the piece of leather has been removed and sanded forming the soft, suede texture and color we are all familiar with.

Top and full grain. The highest quality leathers are top and full grain. Top grain has had the split removed which makes it both easier to work with as well as softer and more flexible. Full grain, on the other hand has not had the split removed and is often unbuffed and unsanded. It isn’t as common to see this type of leather used in furniture because the imperfections are often removed in favor of a more visually congruent leather. However, since full grain hasn’t had any layers removed, it is easily the most durable type of leather.

Shopping tips

Now that you know more about the types of leather, here are some tips for when you hit the furniture store.

  • Each manufacturer may use their own numbering system for grading leather, so don’t count on them being accurate.

  • Treated leather, in spite of seeming lower quality, may be more resistant to stains and thus preferable for a family with kids and pets.

  • Leather furniture that has received minimum treatment and includes the top grain requires specific cleaning. Don’t attempt to condition the leather with oils like you might a leather shoe that has been subject to the elements. Rather, use warm, damp, soft cloth to wipe down the leather every month or so. Soaps and cleaning solutions can do more harm than good to quality leather.




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Deborah Schilling
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