10 things you need to know before buying wooden furniture

social gathering - clinking glasses

We regularly invite design and interiors experts to write for our blog. The latest guest post is from wooden outdoor furniture experts, Corido.

You can feel yourself there already; sitting back into your warm, classically-styled wooden chair to the soundtrack of chirping birds and gently trickling water, cool beverage in hand and the spring sun beaming down onto your face. As your wooden furniture warms with the sunshine providing a comforting touch to your skin, you think “I must be the most relaxed person on earth”.

Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? Don’t underestimate the role of good garden furniture in this scenario. High-quality wooden furniture provides a lounging experience like no other. The seamless blend of style, comfort and build-quality guarantees you’ll never go back to poor-quality furniture again. But how do you choose garden furniture that not only looks stylish, but feels great too? Here’s an admission, it isn’t that simple.

Finding furniture like this isn’t as easy as your everyday shop. You’ll need to know exactly what to look for both in terms of the furniture and the seller. You’ll also need to know how to properly care for your luxury wooden furniture down the road to keep it looking lovely and in good condition. A small price to pay for luxury.

Here are 10 things to know before you get to enjoy that warm tasty beverage:

Know What You Want

The journey to luxury lounging begins here — ask yourself the following questions: are you on the market for cheaper oak furniture or high-quality Indonesian teak? Do you prefer a raw sanded finish over an oily distressed look? Indoor or outdoor? Do you trust that company? The list goes on.

To get what you want you have to know what you want. Do some research, even ask your friends for inspiration. What materials, finishes and designs immediately spring to mind when you imagine yourself in that relaxing scenario? You most likely know the exact furniture you desire, you just haven’t realised it.

Understand Quality When You See It

You won’t be relaxing for long if your once beloved furniture turns into a flimsy, creaky rocking chair in a matter of months. Inspect prospective furniture thoroughly and question the seller. Where do they source their wood and what grade is it? Does it come with a certificate? Are its components put together with strong mortise and tenon joints? Do they use high-quality dowels and genuine European polyurethane glue? Has it been chemically treated to hide imperfections? Try and get answers to as many of these as you can before you buy.

Tip: You want to look for grade-A wood, it’s denser and more mature meaning it’ll last longer.

Go to the Source

This might surprise you, but a lot of the wood used in furniture and other timber-derived products is sourced illegally. Costing an estimated $10 billion USD annually, this practice has not only a major impact on the global economy, but on the sustainability of rapidly shrinking forests.

Don’t reward thieves who destroy the planet. Make sure your furniture is only sourced from sustainable and regulated plantations.

Forest image

A Great Purchase Begins with Great Service

This goes without saying but make sure you are a valued customer and not just another sale. How is the seller’s responsiveness? Are they happy to tell you about their history, sourcing and manufacturing? Do they welcome you into their business or just their bank account?

Though the way a seller treats you before you purchase may not give you the best idea of your treatment after. Look at customer reviews and testimonials on Facebook and Google Business pages for a better idea.

Know The Work Involved

The level of maintenance required in keeping your furniture beautiful and strong will vary. It comes down to the quality/type of wood and the treatment it had during manufacturing.

For example, grade-A teak furniture is incredibly low maintenance due to its high oil and rubber content, meaning it’ll need a clean once per year and that’s about that. At the other end of the scale there’s mahogany, which will need a thorough sanding and application of wood preservative every couple of years.

In the case of teak, make sure it has been kiln-dried to less than 12% moisture levels or face split and warped panels in the future.

Prepare for the Seasons

Whilst it’s true that high-quality wooden furniture can be left outside year-round, that doesn’t mean it should be left fully exposed. The one drawback of wooden furniture is that it’s not as resilient as its metal or plastic counterparts, depending on the wood used. Again, teak wood furniture is more durable than mahogany or oak, but it’ll cost you slightly more.

Even so, if you don’t have an outhouse to store your furniture in over the winter months; invest in a damp-proof patio-set cover to shield your furniture from the elements, acidic bird droppings and insects looking for a home.

weathered wooden bench outside

They’re Beautiful to Crooks Too

If you plan on keeping your wooden furniture out in the open and your landscape/garden is exposed, you’ll want to take some precautions.

Thieves won’t hesitate to steal your beautiful wooden furniture if they think it’s high-quality and sellable for a good price (which it most likely is). The best way to prevent this is to secure your wooden furniture with anti-theft ground anchors if you don’t plan on moving them around often.

It Will Age with You

Much like watching your child grow up, the day will come when you look back at an old picture of your garden furniture and think; “it has changed so much and I didn’t even notice!” Well, probably not, but it will age.

This aging is to be expected. Wood naturally evolves from its infancy as furniture through to its mature years, developing distinct features as a result (depending on the type of wood). One reason teak is so popular is because it ages from its buttery-gold look to the mature, elegant silver-grey patina commonly used in luxury shipbuilding.

Quality Wooden Furniture is for Life

Teak has an expected lifespan of 80 years, and mahogany is still impressive at around 40 years. This shows that if you buy smart and use the points we’ve already gone over, you can expect your wooden furniture to serve strongly for decades to come.

I hope your grandkids like your beloved furniture as much as you do!

You’ll Be the Neighbourhood Celebrity

I only write this half jokingly. If you are susceptible to hosting your yearly neighbourhood BBQ and you plan on showing off your all-new, beautiful wooden garden furniture then be prepared to answer a barrage of questions.

“Where on earth did you find this?”, “That must have cost you a fortune, right?”, “How do you manage to peel yourself away from this?”. It’s not about keeping up with the Joneses, but about sharing luxury and beautiful experiences with your friends and family. Sure you may face an onslaught of questions, but maybe you’ll secretly enjoy that.  

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Author bio

Steven Watts is a senior content writer for Corido, offering expert advice on teak and rattan outdoor furniture. Since 2011, Steven has been blogging and covers a wide variety of topics from the accreditation of teak to the latest teak garden benches.