The term “DURABLE” stems from an economic concept of a good that has utility over an extended period of time.Durable furniture is an elevated standard given how many importers have stylistically copied the appearance and fashion of higher-end furniture manufacturers. Of course, there’s always more to a book than the cover. Inexpensive look-alikes cannot possibly have frames and components built to last in a commercial or heavy-use environment. Good quality materials cost money. Period.
To illustrate, here is a tale of two couches.
In my younger days I purchased a big-box value furniture retailer’s sofa. I loved it. It looked just like what I imagined for my dream home. When it was delivered, I lovingly decorated the space around it because, of course, when a piece of furniture looks that good the rest of the space has a standard to live up to. My newly purchased accessories complimented the couch perfectly and the room looked like a design magazine. Until, that fateful 48 hours later when the sofa skirt started to fray. Then, 72 hours later when the seat sank a little too low because the frame was made of inexpensive, poorly fastened, small-scale ply wood.
Fast forward a few months when I was shopping foreplacement for the faulty sofa I had to fight to return. This time, with experience as my teacher, I ended up at a high-end retailer famous for quality. I really had no idea what made a piece of furniture “quality” but I had confidence in the reputation of my retailer. I bought a sofa with a substantially higher price tag than the value model. It was delivered and after a few months it was still wearing perfectly. After a few years it was still wearing perfectly. After a decade, it was still wearing perfectly. As a matter of fact, I got sick of looking at the thing before it ever showed any signs of wear. Today, 20 years later it is still in perfect conditions after being handed around from family member to family member.
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If you are faced with purchasing furniture for your group living facility know that no one expects you to be an expert.
Durability and quality should always be a goal since any group living environment will challenge furniture severely.
Look for a reputable contract / commercial furniture provider who has the expertise to help you make the right decision. Yes, it will cost a little more than discount retailers but it should. Quality construction and components cost more money regardless of the manufacturer’s buying power. Ask questions, talk about expected usage and consider your options.
Upholstered furniture is always covered by fabric so the only way to confidently purchase quality “under the hood” is to buy from a quality contract furniture provider.