In 2017 there are millions of consumers worldwide that are choosing to purchase their furniture through major re-sellers. This is great for the few select furniture companies that have made it, but what does it mean for the small stores across the globe that offer bespoke furniture? In this article we look at what the future holds for furniture retailers across the world as we move into this new age.
High Quality Furniture
It’s very rare nowadays to find furniture that is of a high quality and still affordable. This is because most western countries, such as the United Kingdom are importing wood from European countries. This wood is heavy and takes up a lot of space, so transportation costs are enormous. Most people choose to use trucks to transport wood, and this study suggests that 80% of wood from Finland is transported by truck.
This is an expensive form of transportation and so many retailers are looking for ways to cut their costs and improve profit margins. As a result, the use of hardwoods or even pure softwoods in many flatpack furnitures is incredibly rare. Instead, many retailers are using chipboard, about 1″ thick and then covered in a laminated wooden finish. This gives the appearance of a high quality wood, whilst actually being fairly cheap to make.
Chipwood is made from many pieces of wood chipped together and then stuck together with an adhesive, it’s often used for budget furniture but not highly recommended for construction. In fact, many kitchens within the United Kingdom use chipwood covered in a marble finish for kitchen counters and more. So why don’t smaller stores use these techniques to drive down their prices?
The Price We Pay For High Quality
Creating chipwood at a small scale is never economically viable. It’s best when used as part of a large scale operation. If a carpenter has to focus on crafting high quality furniture, their time and effort is better spent on the ergonomics and design of the furniture, rather than on blending the wood. That’s why many small furniture stores choose to use real hardwoods and softwoods for their designs.
Using a properly treated oak tree can give fantastic results, and simply requires that the consumer accepts small blemishes and cracks that naturally occur within the tree. However, despite these marks, the quality of the furniture afterwards is normally fantastic by comparison to budget alternatives. We recommend that you check our article about the great and trendy furniture so that you can look at the latest trends.
The Future For Hardwoods
It’s hard to say whether the economy is going to improve in western countries, the political landscape is uncertain and many families are uncertain about their finances. One thing for certain though, is that until living standards improve in western countries – hardwoods are going to be favoured less. Many countries that have large quantities of logs are still using them to build houses, places such as Switzerland and some parts of America.
However, for everyday furniture, we expect that the trend is going to continue towards cheap and flatpack furniture. It’s both cheap to build and transport, with some aesthetically pleasing finishes, despite relatively low quality designs. You can expect this furniture to still last a few years before breaking, especially if they don’t use wooden pegs with glue to hold the furniture together.
Like all of these things though, you need to have a careful eye on how you’re going to choose the right product. Looking for furniture that is mounted using braces and screws is going to end up being more sturdy than furniture that opts for pegs and glue.
We look forward to a day when people choose high quality furniture from small resellers over larger businesses – yet we understand there are still some companies delivering great quality for the price. It’s unrealistic that hardwoods will see a return in the near future, at least not at a global scale.
The future is bright for quality retailers that can deliver aesthetically pleasing wooden furniture, whilst also offering great build quality.