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3 Important Living Room Furniture Pieces and How to Buy Them

Buying furniture is a significant home investment, and one that will directly impact the décor of your space for a long time to come. Being that furniture isn't something you can replace every year or two, you want to carefully consider and save up before replacing a single item, so that you get a good return for your investment. Below are three important living room furniture pieces, and the qualities you should look for when buying for best results.

1. The couch

The couch is the first thing that you see when walking into a living room, and it is also used multiple times a day by everyone in the family. This is why it should be high quality. When buying, try to lift the seat from a corner – it should be heavy, which indicates that high quality wood and fabric was used. Find out which material the wooden frame underneath is made out of – kiln-dried hardwood frames are the strongest, e.g. maple, mahogany, walnut, alder and oak etc.

Next, confirm that the fabric has been double-stitched and goes all through the back of the couch, including the pillow-covered area. Pick a colour that works into your décor and lifestyle e.g. a white couch is hard to keep clean if you still have young children, or live in a dusty place. There should be some piping where the fabric meets metallic or wooden parts, as it prevents the fabric from pulling out place. Finally, ask whether legs are hot-glued onto the base for additional support, as nails and screws can loosen up over time.

2. The Dining room set

You'll use this table for most of your meals, as well as a workstation if you don't have a separate study table. Consignment stores and auctions can be useful sources of good quality furniture at affordable prices – you often find pieces sold when moving because of space or transportation constraints.

Darker wood is more solid and sturdy than lighter wood, but be careful to confirm that the wood is actually hardwood and not just a dark stain on softwood. Avoid tables and chairs that are too lustrous, as they can be easily burned (by hot food) and are harder to keep clean. Expect chairs to be more expensive than the table; you can save a little by picking different chairs instead of a set when you can't afford the latter.

3. The coffee table

The most important factor is to get a table that is very stable, particularly if you have young children. Steer clear of wide tops with slim middle cores, as they can easily topple over if a child were to sit or climb on the edge. Young families should go for four-legged, sturdy tables, or those built like ottomans. Lower is better so that the children won't get under it and hurt themselves trying to come out or pull other stunts. The edges should be done smoothly; consider circular tables to do away with edges altogether. They should be varnished to make cleaning easier. Glass-top tables aren't ideal in a home with children, since they are not only fragile, but will frequently get dirtied with unsightly fingerprints.

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