IKEA: a wildly renowned furniture store, popular among young people, especially hipsters and DIY enthusiasts. From its foundation in 1943, IKEA has exploded around the globe. The store is a mammoth, with over 330 locations in 28 countries. Regarding IKEA’s products, however, the web is full of mixed reviews. Some observers state that IKEA is fabulous for certain items, such as décor, kitchenware, and organizers, but not so great for others, such as furniture. IKEA is known for its furniture, though… right? With such mixed reviews, you may be asking yourself: Is the cost of IKEA furniture worth sacrificing for quality? Here are a few things to consider before answering this question for yourself.
Furniture can be expensive. For most young people, moving into an empty apartment and purchasing a couch, table, desk, etc. is almost impossible. IKEA offers inexpensive, stylish furniture. Taking a trip to IKEA and purchasing a few striking pieces is a quick, cost-effective solution. For the moment. Sometimes, stocking up on cheap furniture is a decent temporary solution. In the long run, though, inexpensive is not always best. Momentarily, saving some money on furniture is attractive; however, if you have to replace your furniture every year or so (or even every six months) you quickly spend more money replacing inexpensive furniture than investing in a quality piece that lasts for years.
IKEA Product Materials
A great deal of IKEA furniture is made from pressed wood. Pressed wood is the hotdog of the furniture industry. It is formed from wood veneers, shavings, particles, sawdust, and fibers. The hodgepodge of pieces is then forced together under intense pressure and heat. While easy to make, inexpensive, and expedient, pressed wood simply does not last.
Weighing the ROI
When making purchases of any kind, you should keep ROI in the back of your mind. ROI, or return on investment, is exactly what is sounds like: ideally, your investment should be minimal and your return should be great. Often, this plays out over time. Purchasing a quality piece of furniture may be a huge investment. However, over time, the return you achieve from years upon years spent utilizing the valuable item produces positive ROI. We can demonstrate this with an equation. Bear with us as we explain some basic math.
ROI = (Net Profit/Cost of Investment) x 100. This usually applies to business investments, but the tool can be used to determine personal investments too. To fit this equation into personal investments, we’ll rename “Net Profit” to “Years Used.”
For example, let’s say you purchase an inexpensive piece of furniture for $300, and it lasts about 8 months. ROI = (0.8/300) x 100 = 0.26%. This seems like a good percentage. However, if you purchase a more expensive, high-quality piece of furniture for $900 and it lasts for 7 years, your ROI will significantly change. ROI = (7.0/900) x 100 = 0.78%.
This was simply an example with approximated numbers, but here is the point: your ROI will ultimately be greater if you invest in higher-quality furniture, even if it is more expensive in the moment.
So, our initial question is answered. Is the cost of IKEA furniture worth sacrificing for quality? In the long run, if you’re looking for excellent ROI, probably not. How can you judge the quality of furniture then? How can you make a good, educated investment?
The first step is understanding some basic furniture terms.
- All Wood Construction: This term explains itself. All wood construction means that the entire piece is made of wood! Of course, any piece of furniture boasting an all wood construction is highly durable and will last a long time.
- Solid Wood: Solid wood furniture is also sturdy, beautiful, and excellent quality. Unlike all wood construction, however, solid wood furniture may contain fragments that are not solid wood. Usually, these fragments are not visible.
- Plywood: Plywood is fashioned from thin pieces of wood (usually lumber) fused together under high pressure.
- Artificial Laminate: Artificial laminate is synthetic, essentially designed to simulate wood. To create it, a wood grain design is printed onto plastic or other non-wooden surfaces.
- Veneer: Veneers, thin sheets of high-quality wood, are usually placed on lower-quality wood to simulate a specific design or type of wood.
- Hardwood vs. Softwood: Hardwood is typically better for furniture than softwood, although both have positive attributes. Hardwood is very sturdy, originating from trees such as oak, cherry, walnut, poplar, and ash. It’s durability, however, can make it difficult to fashion and work with. Softwood originates from pine and cedar trees. Because the wood is soft, it is easier to carve than hardwood. Likewise, it can produce less sturdy furniture.
- Kiln Dried: Kiln dried wood is resistant to cracking, because nearly all of the wood’s natural moisture has been removed through a carefully monitored process called kiln drying.
With these basic terms out of the way, what makes a quality piece of furniture? Generally, a quality piece of furniture is fashioned from kiln-dried hardwood, some softwood, or high-quality plywood. Check to see if the piece is sturdy. Make sure it has screws or dowels and not staples. Double-check to ensure that all its adjoining pieces work well. Do drawers easily slide back and forth? Do doors open well? Finally, check for an excellent finish. The piece should be completely sanded and smooth to the touch. The stain should add appeal, bringing out the beauty of the wood and colored consistently.
A Quality Furniture Source
Wehrli Furniture is committed to quality. We create custom furniture designed to perfectly fit your unique style. We believe in a balance between form and function, unique to every client. Our furniture is high-quality, durable, meant to provide an excellent return on investment. Besides custom furniture, we also provide restoration, upholstery, and painting services. Contact us with any questions! We look forward to meeting and exceeding your furniture needs.