O + B’s Buy it to Last Guide #Earthday

So you’ve an empty corner, a new home, a fresh opportunity to create the designer look you’ve always wanted. Whether it’s a chic eclectic paradise, a post-modern bachelor pad or flexible family space you should take a second to consider your options.
It’s easy to run down to ‘you know where’ and binge on the latest range of poor quality MDF ‘Bjorg’s’, ‘Fjord’s’, ‘Pjorg’s’ or other dis-tastefully named rubbish they’ll have you believe is quality enough to spend your hard earns pounds on.
Take a second, resist the immediate urge and shop smart, save a little more and invest in your future. Buy pieces that will last 100 years, not two years. Think about it, everyone owns that one poorly veneered side or coffee table, you know the one we mean, the black or white one. The one that did or still does sit in your front room with the lacquer worn off at the edges, maybe the veneer is starting to peel-off, a relic from your student days or an ex-landlord that fancied themselves a property developer.
At Olson and Baker we’ve made it easy for you. We strive to provide you with product that is the meeting point of exceptional quality, affordability and beauty. Almost all of our pieces are handmade by master craftsmen and imagined by the worlds very finest designers.
We thought we’d put together a Buy to Last guide outling the good, bad and ugly. Recognising furniture faux pas that will allow you to shop smarter in the future.
Wood structure
Solid wood frame – Good
9 layer+ Plywood – Good
Particleboard – Bad
Fibreboard – Ugly
Top tip: Knots are beautiful and can really add character, be aware though that they can lead to cracking.
Plywood base – Good
Solid wood base – Good
Solid wood (thick veneer) edging – Good
Fibreboard base – Bad
Visible edges/gaps – Ugly
Top tip: Ask where the veneer comes from, this is a great way to determine its quality.
Wood construction
Dovetailing – Good
Dowels – Good
Screws – Good
Reinforced corners – Good
Staples or nails – Bad
Visible Glue – Ugly
Top tip: Open a drawer and move and twist it gently from side-to-side. There should be very little movement. The same goes for a chair or table, there should be no wobbling on a level floor.

Upholstery construction – Cushions
Foam block with channelled wrap of feather and down or Dacron – Good
Full feather (will always require maintenance) – Good
Cambric (protective inner cover) – Good
Sealed back or seat cushions – Bad
No bounce-back/return) on cushions – Ugly
Top tip: Always ask where the materials come from, this will make it easier to research into that material and will help determine the quality. For example, Northern Ireland supply superior quality feathers.
Upholstery construction – Body
Coil sprung deck (area under cushion) – Good
Serpentine sprung deck (area under cushion) – Good
Webbed deck (area under cushion) – Bad
Unfoamed/thin foam on frame/can feel frame through upholstery – Ugly
Top tip: All the points we’re making are subject to your own checking, for example coil springs are great but if not spaced evenly and protected with a hood will make for an uneven sit, overtime they may even break through into the cushion above.
We’re experts in this area and come from years of unbiased experience. Our whole ethos also stems from this simple idea of sustainability and ‘getting the most for your money’. ‘Design led’ suggests that the pieces are going to look good, but it’s more than that, it’s making sure the pieces will also last a lifetime.
Want to know more? Get in touch at [email protected]

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