Tips and Guides

Expert Advice: 5 Things to Check When Buying Furniture

These must-dos involve thorough inspection

Photography: Miguel Nacianceno (Main Photo)

Shopping for furniture and accessories doesn't just involve looking for what's pretty and sturdy. You should also take into consideration the materials and how each is crafted. When you go shopping, make sure you come prepared with your list, swatches, pictures, and the ever reliable tape measure. Get ready to check these important factors:

How the Furniture Looks Upside Down

Turn the piece around and examine it carefully. Check if the underside is finished. Quality furniture will have neatly tucked fabric which is also double-stitched (not stapled), whereas wood must be painted and not left raw. 

Photo by Ocs Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions.

Framing and Supports

Ask about the framing of the furniture. Remember that kiln-dried hardwood (has less moisture and is less prone to decay) is best. Try carrying the sofa from one of it’s corners—it should have weight to it if it's of quality.

For beds, you would want to check what the slats and vertical supports are made of. If the supports are of substandard material, chances are your bed won’t last long. Slats should be three inches apart to help with mattress wear. They should be screwed or doweled together for stability.

Photo by At Maculangan.


Do a scratch and pull test for the fabric. The fibers should not come off in doing so. You also need to check if the material feels good against your skin.

Photo by Marc Jao.

Foam used should be firm as softer paddings will sag faster in time. Ask if there are springs installed inside. These will help distribute your weight evenly as you use the sofa, which will make it last longer.

Photo by Ocs Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions.


For most wood furniture, hardwood is preferred. If cabinet material has to be replaced to lessen costs, choose plywood over particle or fiberboards.

Photo by Miguel Nacianceno.


Double check measurements if they will fit your space. As much as possible, triple check it with the list that you have.

Don’t rush into buying everything at once—not because they are on sale, and not just to complete your space as soon as possible. Go window shopping the first day and purchase your items in the coming days. You might also want to visit some thrift shops, purchase a piece, and have it restored. Mix the new with some old to add character. Furnishing your home will take time, so make sure that you buy pieces that you absolutely love.

Photo by Miguel Nacianceno.

Interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila is an alumna of the University of the Philippines and is one of the go-to designers for the Real Living Makeovers. You can get in touch with her through e-mail: vera.villarosa[at]



Do you have questions or concerns about your home's layout, furniture, and color scheme? Send your questions to reallivingonline[at] with the subject: Expert Advice. We might answer and feature your queries online.

More on

4 Ways to Arrange Furniture in a Small Space

4 Ways to Shop for Furniture Like a Pro

Furniture Arrangement 101


Latest Stories

How To Vacuum Your Home Properly

Here’s how to avoid all the usual vacuuming mistakes. Plus, learn about a revolutionary new material that will help you bust all that dirt at home.

A Cozy and Modern Family Home in Quezon City

Works of art, beautiful fabrics, and a mix of old and new pieces bring this townhouse to life

5 Things To Never Clean With Baking Soda

This finely milled powder has its downsides, too

There's An Affordable Way To Keep Your Home Smelling Good 24/7

Say no to artificial fragrances with this three-step hack

A KonMari Reality Show Is Coming To Netflix

Will de-cluttering diva Marie Kondo's new show spark joy?

You Only Need P5,000 To Work On These Home Improvement Projects

The best part? These can increase the value of your space, too.

What's Inside The Vatican Walls?

Aside from having one of the largest collections of art in the world, the Vatican holds many other treasures

Meet The Architect Behind This Industrial-Pinoy Home

Inspired by the Bahay Kubo, this architect worked with industrial details and affordable building materials to create an inviting space

Is It Possible to Paint Over Tiles?

No one likes the sight of lackluster tiles. Know what to do with these tips from an interior designer.

A Sneak Peek at the New Clark City

A Singaporean consulting firm has been tapped for the development project

You Can Use Wallpaper On The Ceiling, Too

Talk about having a one-of-a-kind accent in your space

Rockwell's Glasshouse Is The Chicest Restaurant Out There

Fashion retailer Harlan + Holden's response to the global trend of lifestyle dining is this airy and beautiful restaurant
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!