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THE BASICS OF BUYING FURNITURE ONLINE

By now, you may be at least somewhat comfortable shopping for goods and services on the internet. Or perhaps you may have limited experience with shopping online, but the simple fact that you are reading this page indicates that you are at least interested in exploring the option. And one thing about shopping this way is undeniable – the vast selection of product options seems almost endless! Today you can literally surf the internet until you find exactly what you want, and you can usually find it at a great value.

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But because you are viewing a computer screen rather than touching, feeling, or sitting on the furniture you have discovered, questions immediately arise – how good is it? What is it made of and how is it constructed? Is the price too good to be true? Is it made in another country with no regard to quality? Additionally, you may have questions about the seller. Are they reputable? Will they stand behind the product? If you can somehow find what you want, at a great value, and still get warm fuzzies regarding these questions – then you have discovered a truly great way to select furniture for your home! Who doesn’t enjoy a comfortably furnished home where everything is just the way they want it - especially when you can do it at a fraction of the cost? Thanks to new materials, construction techniques, improvements in quality control, there are ways to feel very good about buying a piece of furniture online. As with any investment, however, it pays to keep some basic facts in mind before you begin shopping for furniture. The purpose of this section is to provide you with basic information and guidelines so you can make an educated purchase, resulting in the most enjoyment and the most value for your furniture dollar.

SO HERE'S THE THING

Finding a reputable company is a very important step toward ensuring you not only receive a quality product but excellent customer service as well.

Company - a majority of online furniture companies operate with nothing more than a computer and 1-800 number. They essentially operate as ‘retail brokers’ moving product from the manufacturer directly to you. This strategy can result in operational weaknesses – such as a lack of control over important aspects quality control, packaging, and how your freight is handled while shipping. Lead times are often unknown and lengthy

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as they do not control the inventory. Small companies operating this way often do not have a very good handle on customer service as they don’t have a returns warehouse or a parts inventory. In fact, many reputable furniture manufacturers will not sell to catalog or internet retailers without minimum inventory commitments. It should not be uncommon for you to ask questions about the company – where they are located and how they conduct business. It is your money after all.

Leon Furniture is an  industry leader – committed to our promise of exceptional quality, an amazing selection, and the personal touch of world class service with no-nonsense answers to any questions you may have. We maintain strong relationships with hundreds of the very best partners in the furniture industry. Additionally, at Leon Furniture we manufacture a great deal of our furniture, to ensure total control over quality and materials, design, packaging and availability.

Inventory - Before you purchase furniture online, ask yourself what you would consider a reasonable delivery time. Many companies offering quicker delivery times and overall customer satisfaction warehouse the inventory rather than ‘drop-shipping’ from the manufacturer. But the reality is there is no way any retailer can own an endless supply of all product offerings. At Leon Furniture we are no different. Yes, we drop-ship some of our furniture directly from manufacturers where it makes sense. But we do ship the vast majority of what we sell from our 26,000 s.f. Phoenix Fulfillment Center.

Quality Control - Another reality of today’s marketplace is that a lot of furniture is manufactured overseas. While you benefit from this as lower production costs result in lower retail pricing for you, there are things to watch for. Quality for one – yet quality concerns are manageable if done correctly. However if quality control is not managed correctly, the resulting product could be what the American consumer would call “inferior quality” (this is a nice way of saying it – the quality could be just plain poor). While most manufacturers have grasped this – we cannot say they all have. At Leon Furniture, we feel it is critical that we employ a qualified staff of Quality Control Agents in each of our overseas factories monitoring production every step of the way – and rejecting product that does not meet our high standards for quality.

Delivery - Often forgotten or neglected, this is one of the most crucial factors in internet selling – how will we get the product to you? And can we make it an excellent experience? We are (typically) shipping your furniture halfway across the country after all. Proper packaging and the right home delivery company can make the difference between a repeat customer and a financial disaster for the seller. We believe that while most companies have not solved this issue, through years of experience (and some trial-and-error) we have developed the very best home delivery partnerships in the marketplace. The very best kinds of partnerships – where we make each other better every day. We feel very strongly that our Home Delivery companies give us a clear competitive advantage over the rest of the industry!

Pricing - The most tempting benefits of online shopping are discounts and selection. In general, the furniture industry has been operating on fairly high margins due to low foot traffic and non-reoccurring income. This is not the case with many online furniture companies. It is possible to save a bundle and still get the same quality furniture. Centralized warehousing and volume sales can drive prices down well below traditional retail. However, do not assume all companies are equal. Various companies will offer discounts based on quality sacrifices rather than taking advantage of lower operating costs.

At Leon Furniture our business model is to sell quality furniture at a fair price. Rather than selling inferior product at what appears to be ‘bargain’ pricing, day after day we consistently offer only furniture that meets our quality standards. And there is no question – we do have lower operating costs. So we can offer our furniture at value prices unbeatable in the marketplace.

At Leon Furniture our business model is to sell quality furniture at a fair price. Rather than selling inferior product at what appears to be ‘bargain’ pricing, day after day we consistently offer only furniture that meets our quality standards. And there is no question – we do have lower operating costs. So we can offer our furniture at value prices unbeatable in the marketplace.

CASE GOODS (WOOD FURNITURE) – MATERIALS AND CONSTRUCTION

Common hardwoods used in the construction of furniture include maple, oak, cherry, teak, mahogany and ash. Softwoods include pine, cedar and cypress. A piece of furniture usually consists of various components which may include several types of wood.

What is solid wood?

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The number one question in the furniture industry is: "Is this solid wood or veneer?" Well, the answer is yes. Most furniture is both solid wood and veneer.

Solid wood furniture means that all exposed parts of the piece are made from one type of wood. But the frame and inner parts may be made of other materials. Please understand – the fact that a piece of furniture is not solid wood is often a good thing. Solid wood is affected by the environment, as it absorbs and loses moisture. Kiln drying during construction improves the dimensional stability of the wood.

Density  (lb/ft3)
  White Ash
40-53
  Aspen
26
  Beech
32-56
  Birch
42
  Cedar
23
  Cherry
43-56
  American Elm
35
  Maple
39-47
  Oak
45
  Pecan
47
  White Pine
22-31
  Teak
45
  Walnut
38

Something to consider when comparing woods is the density of the wood used to construct the furniture. The table shown to the left lists wood densities (pounds per cubic foot) for some common woods used in construction of our furniture. The greater weight per cubic foot, the harder (denser) the wood is. Also, consider this – many years ago, more furniture was constructed with solid woods; however it was also generally manufactured locally. For example, furniture to be used in the desert southwest was usually made of materials native to that region and harvested locally. Furniture built using woods native to the mountains of North Carolina was sold and used in that region. Naturally, solid wood furniture typically performed well in its native environment.

Also, consider this – many years ago, more furniture was constructed with solid woods; however it was also generally manufactured locally. For example, furniture to be used in the desert southwest was usually made of materials native to that region and harvested locally. Furniture built using woods native to the mountains of North Carolina was sold and used in that region. Naturally, solid wood furniture typically performed well in its native environment.

Also, consider this – many years ago, more furniture was constructed with solid woods; however it was also generally manufactured locally. For example, furniture to be used in the desert southwest was usually made of materials native to that region and harvested locally. Furniture built using woods native to the mountains of North Carolina was sold and used in that region. Naturally, solid wood furniture typically performed well in its native environment.

Plywood, MDF, and Particleboard

The use of non-solid wood products is probably the most maligned and misunderstood aspect of furniture construction. As solid wood is porous by nature, it has a tendency to expand and contract as the humidity changes. In constructing the large flat panels that make up the tops of tables or the sides of cabinets, solid wood does not offer the necessary stability. Plywood and products manufactured of ground up wood are significantly more stable and less apt to warp or split. These large flat panels will often be framed in solid wood and covered by veneers to recreate the look of one large piece of wood.

Because timber cut from trees is not the size or shape required for furniture, bonding is used to join pieces together. In addition, this process is used to prevent warping, splitting and other issues plank wood will experience throughout the years. Frequently a plywood sheet will be surfaced with a high-grade veneer. Construction of 5-ply or 7-ply boards can offer great strength, stability and durability, so the use of plywood(as opposed to solid wood) in furniture construction is not a bad thing. Most plywood is stronger and lighter than solid plank wood. For these reasons, manufacturers sometimes use plywood in non-visible areas of furniture construction where strength is paramount. This mostly applies to higher end furniture, as lower cost products tend to use paper veneer over particleboard.

Furniture Grade MDF (medium density fiberboard) is often compared to ‘particleboard’, where in reality they have very little in common. MDF is superior to particleboard in every way. MDF is a very dense type of wood material made from very small, fiber-like particles, particleboard has very large particles and it tends to be looser than MDF. Compare the density range for common particle boards: 8 – 24 lbs/ft3 to that of furniture grade MDF which ranges from 32 – 41 lbs/ft3.

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MDF provides consistent, uniform strength and is free of defects. It is highly resistant to warping, cracking and splitting and has no knots, voids, or other surface imperfections. It provides limitless options for the application of custom tailored veneers. It is used to create furniture even in the most expensive price ranges. It is a high quality construction material suitable for use in any type of furniture, resulting from decades of research and development aimed at designing a structurally superior wood product for use in construction of today’s furniture.

Veneers

The word veneer does not refer to whether something is wood or not. but rather the way it was made. Here are some types of veneers used today:

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Solid Wood Veneering - The beautiful grain you see on the top of a dining table or dresser is most often a wood veneer-a slice of wood selected for its outstanding character. Dating back to ancient Egypt and Rome, veneering became commonly used in the 17th Century. Today the use of veneers is found at every price level of wood furniture. The advantages of veneering are many. In covering the core panels, veneers are often applied creating patterns that add interest and beauty to the piece. Often, more expensive woods which would be impractical or fragile to use as structural parts are used as veneers. For example,

Crotch Mahogany, often utilized in eighteen century designs to give that fiery look to the front of a Chippendale armoire could not be utilized structurally due to its gnarled character. The use of "veneering" is a time-honored technique in furniture construction. It involves using layers of decorative woods "bonded" on the top and bottom of "ply" construction. Veneering allows manufacturers to match fine grain wood sections and to use inlays of various woods to create beautiful designs that cannot be found in solid woods. Ply construction increases the strength and resistance to warping, and is found in all price ranges including the most expensive furniture on the market today.

Paper veneering - Some surfaces that look like wood on a piece of furniture may not be. Due to the high cost of veneering, a method has been developed that reproduces the grain of wood photographically. This wood image is then applied over the flat panels to simulate a wood surface. There are two ways to tell if what you are looking at is an engraved or printed surface. The grain will be perfect, with none of the flaws of nature, and the grain will have no variation in texture as one would expect from a piece of real wood. This process is being used primarily on the inside backs of cabinets where the manufacturers feel they can save a little without being obvious. However, on less expensive furniture, you might find engraved surfaces almost anywhere. The drawbacks of engraved surfaces are that they are not repairable and that when coming in contact with a solvent, the grain may come off. Ask your furniture salesperson, if you are not sure, which if any parts of the piece you are considering are engraved. This process is in most cases used on lower end furniture and it does have some serious drawbacks over solid wood veneering. Paper veneering is the main reason why term " veneer " has been abused for the last few years.

Solid Plank Wood

This type of surface is mostly used on country, mission, farmhouse types of furniture. Above styles allow use of these types of materials because its simplicity and lack of advanced carvings or pattern surfaces. Above all: imperfections, scratches , etc only add character to its already distressed and casual look. Because of tendency to "flex" it is not used or recommended on more formal types of furniture.

Finish

Furniture finish is one of the most overlooked features during a furniture purchase. Proper stain is the difference between years of shine and color depth or pealing and cracking. It has been said that a piece of furniture looks only as good as its finish. Most of the fine furniture sold today goes through a finishing process involving many steps. After the piece is thoroughly sanded, a stain is either sprayed or wiped on. Sometimes the grain is "highlighted" using steel wool. If the piece is traditional in design, distressing, or fly specking can be added using anything from a chain with bolts to a paintbrush dipped in black paint to give the piece an aged look. Hand rubbed, also known as a wiped finish is by far the preferred way of staining furniture. Sprayed finish usually will hide the natural grain and usually does not penetrate as well.

Dovetail Joint Construction

One of the most recognizable clues indicating quality in wood furniture is dovetail drawer construction. English and French dovetails are desirable types of construction for many reasons; including the stability of the joints as well as the extra storage capacity of English dovetail drawers. For key joints, dovetail construction is superior to stapling and will last much longer. Size and shape of the item may determine the type of dovetail technique that can be used.

Antiquing

Antiquing is a common technique in the production of new furniture designed to give the wood an old world charm or more of an ‘aged’ look. There are different degrees of antiquing and methods for accomplishing various looks. The James Martin bathroom vanity in ancient blue - shown below is an example of our furniture in an antiqued finish – is full of character. These looks will not detract from the durability of our finishes; the finish is part of a 12-step hand glaze designed to prevent peeling, cracking, or fading, the stain has been lightly brushed to create an aged look and feel.

The same James Martin vanity might also appear in beautiful, rich wood finishes such as ‘Oak’ or ‘Mahogany’ or in an antiqued buttermilk or black with a slightly different antiqued finish referred to as a ‘rub through’ as shown below. Please enjoy searching through our website to find the look that works best for your home.

Distressing – Another common form of antiquing is referred to as distressing. Distressing typically appears in the form of intentional dents, rubs or dings. Distressing is intended to give the furniture a slightly more causal feel; sometimes a country or farmhouse look. The number of actual techniques used by manufacturers is virtually endless, but they all have a common goal – to create a slightly aged look. Distressing is also commonly used in the design and manufacture of leather upholstered furniture.

Wormholes - A very common technique found in casual as well as more formal and sophisticated looks is referred to as ‘wormholes’. A form of distressing, wormholes in their most extreme form give furniture a very casual or country look. They literally appear as if a worm went crazy chewing holes through your furniture. However as an intentional form of aging or antiquing in furniture manufacture, wormholes are often much more subtle, and might even be used on high-end serious furniture such as the formal dining chair in the photograph shown on the right. To achieve this subtle effect a nail is heated and then gently hammered into the wood.

How to recognize a quality product when you see one

While many of us might easily recognize a quality vehicle or timepiece without much trouble, quality furniture brands are not as commonly known. Just because you have heard of a brand name does that make it a quality piece of furniture? Of course not. Let’s look at some practical ways you might spot quality when our furniture is delivered to your home.

There are several things to consider when buying furniture including cost, style, and the intended use. Do a visual inspection when the furniture arrives in your home. Do the doors fit properly? Open and close the drawers. Do they open and close smoothly? Is the hardware of sufficient quality and is it installed properly? Examine the construction of your piece – particularly if it will be used for storage – to ensure the joints are assembled properly. For drawer construction, dovetail joints are superior to stapling and will last much longer. Is the hardware of sufficient quality and is it installed properly? What type of veneering technique was used? With the best of intentions, we have seen beautiful products that are simply engineered poorly, sometimes resulting in broken joints or chair arms.

All of these things factor into the cost of a piece of furniture. As with many other things, it pays to buy the best that you can afford. You’ll get what you pay for. You will also remember how much you enjoy the piece long after you’ve forgotten how much you paid for it!

If you have any questions about making an informed purchase of wood furniture, please give our knowledgeable sales team a call at 1 (877) 636-9613 or email us at sales@leonfurniturestore.com

BEDROOM FURNITURE

Current lifestyles often dictate that the bedroom become more than just a room with a bed in it. Today, your bedroom is also a place to relax and read, or perhaps to enjoy a movie. As a result, bedroom suites have evolved with your needs. Gone are the days where shoppers acquired a simple bedroom suite and held on to it for years. Today consumers are enjoying bedroom options that not only provide greater practical comfort and functionality than in the past, but also a wide variety of looks and features.

Historically, bedroom suites were purchased as a coordinating set - all pieces matching and bought together from a single manufacturer’s collection. While this strategy remains very common, today's consumer sometimes demands more flexible options. Today when researching your purchasing options, it is acceptable to mix and match manufacturers as you choose. However, try to avoid selecting more than two different types of materials, e.g. wood, stone, brass in the same room. You may mix different woods from the same color range. Eventually as pieces in your collection age, or your desire to redecorate may change, it won’t be necessary to replace the entire set. If you love your sleigh bed or lingerie chest, keep it and replace the others with complimentary pieces. Don't be afraid to experiment! Decorate to suit and express your own personal style and / or functional requirements. We believe that Max Furniture can meet your needs – whatever they may be.

Bedroom sets usually involve some combination of a bed, dresser, chest or armoire, night stands and a mirror. Other popular bedroom accessories include loveseats, chaises, large chairs, and area rugs.

Beds – As the largest piece of furniture in a bedroom, the bed will be the focal point. There is a wide range of bed designs to choose from such as platform, sleigh, four-poster, canopy, daybed and metal styles. Complimenting the bed while functionally important, the nightstand is a small chest of either doors, drawers, or perhaps a combination of the two.

Dressers and Chests – Dressers come in a multitude of shapes and sizes. The ‘drawer dresser’ sometimes referred to as a ‘chest of drawers’ has a set of drawers as its prominent feature. A ‘door dresser’ as you may guess, is so named for the fact that the doors located in the center of the piece are the focal point. When selecting a dresser, the biggest factor to consider is whether you prefer more small drawers or fewer large drawers for your clothing or storage needs. Again remember to ask questions about drawer construction when making your purchase.

chest

Chests are one of the more versatile pieces of bedroom furniture. They can store everything from socks and t-shirts to televisions. The smallest chest is called a ‘lingerie chest’ which is narrow with many drawers. It is ideal for the clothing items for which it was named. A larger and very common size is the high chest, the design is more vertical. A gentlemen’s chest is yet again a larger, typically a wider version of a High Chest. The largest type of chest is known as an armoire or wardrobe. It has two or four doors and can come with everything from a simple clothes rod to a more elaborate interior wiring system or adjustable shelving to hide your home entertainment center.

What you need to know about Beds

Consider both for form and function when you begin researching beds. As far as function goes, you'll want your new bed to be strong, durable, a comfortable height, and the right size for you and the room in which it will reside. There are many beds that provide extra storage and this may be important to you. Some beds require a box spring and some beds cannot accommodate one, so this is something else to consider.

Consider both for form and function when you begin researching beds. As far as function goes, you'll want your new bed to be strong, durable, a comfortable height, and the right size for you and the room in which it will reside. There are many beds that provide extra storage and this may be important to you. Some beds require a box spring and some beds cannot accommodate one, so this is something else to consider.

Types of Beds

Here are some key categories of bed styles. Though there are choices outside of these general styles, this should help you narrow down your options.Platform and Storage Beds – A platform bed has a raised surface for a mattress to rest upon directly. A box spring is not used. Platform beds generally provide a harder and firmer sleeping surface, since there is no extra box spring layer. They are also lower to the ground because of their design. Since platform beds often take up less space than more traditional options, as well as typically having simpler designs, they won't overwhelm a smaller room. They also often include storage space, such as pull-out drawers under the mattress base, another great feature if you are short on space. These are a practical and stylish choice, especially well-suited for a room with space and/or storage constraints.

Sleigh Beds – Sleigh beds are a popular traditional style. They have large shaped head boards and foot boards which are usually made of wood, though leather and metal are options as well. Sleigh beds are versatile in matching other bedroom furniture, and work well both in the center of a room and against a wall. They certainly have staying power – sleigh beds were popular over two centuries ago and are still a top choice.

Canopy and Four Poster Beds – These are the most traditional, formal, and often dramatic bed design options. Four poster beds have posts, with varied levels of detailing, on each end of the beds’ head boards and foot boards. To accommodate a canopy, additional support rails span from the top of each post to post. High post beds can be up to eight feet tall; low post options are up to three feet high, for a more subtle look. Most four poster beds are made of wood or metal. Often, when choosing a formal style, you will want to coordinate all of your bedroom furniture closely. For old world glamour in a room large enough to carry it off, four poster beds are the way to go.

Panel Beds – In a panel bed, the head and foot boards are full panels, which are often made of wood, leather or upholstery. Panel beds can fall into a wide range of styles, depending on the material used. A wood panel bed can be a traditional, classic choice, while one made of leather or upholstery can be a modern, sleek choice.

Day Bed – A day bed maintains the appearance and at least partial function of a couch but includes an actual mattress and works as a comfortable bed for sleeping. Day beds accommodate standard twin mattresses. A link spring, a metal grid-like structure, is used to support the mattress instead of a box spring, so there may be room for an optional trundle underneath. Day beds are great for guest rooms or anywhere else you would like to provide ‘extra’ sleeping options.

Trundle Beds – Trundle beds are twin size, store an additional bed underneath the main bed structure and are usually a feature of youth beds. Trundles can be metal or drawer-style. The trundle does not include a box spring due to space constraints. Day beds often include a trundle. Trundles are a great way to provide extra sleeping options for guests without using much space.

Materials

Wood – Wood beds are very common and come in a wide variety of styles and wood types. Wood is appropriate for each type of bed described above, and spans decorating tastes from formal to modern to rustic. Popular choices are the hard woods, including cherry, maple, mahogany, and oak. A quality wood bed should be sturdy and strong.

Metal – a Metal bed can provide a clean simple look or suit more ornate tastes, depending on the complexity of the design. A classic open-rail design can complement almost any bedroom furniture. A wrought iron bed with intricate flower designs holds a romantic appeal. Regardless of the style, a metal bed can balance the look of a room that otherwise includes all wood furniture. When shopping for metal beds, look at the detailing and metal finish to make sure they suit your taste. Also make sure that welding is smooth and secure.

Upholstered – Upholstered fabric or leather beds generally have a sophisticated, modern and luxurious look. These can also be very comfortable choices, since there is often cushioning underneath the upholstery. The construction underneath the upholstery should be heavy duty and durable, as in any bed. Review cleaning and care instructions before committing to this style.

Room Layout

A key layout factor will be the size of your room. Is there a television in the room? Take careful measurements to determine what bed you should purchase. As discussed above, many bed styles, including day beds, trundles, and platforms, are designed specifically to make the most of limited spaces. Other styles, such as four poster beds, will overwhelm a smaller room. Consider the scale of the bed as compared to your other bedroom furniture. 

Bed Construction

After you have worked through the style, function, and materials choices, the main requirement is that a bed be built to last. There are key details of workmanship worth looking for. For beds, check that the joints are secure and that the bed feels solid, steady, and balanced. Headboard and footboard legs should be even and should not rock. If the bed includes drawers, dove-tail joints are the most durable. Also check that drawers glide smoothly on their slides. Always make sure that any stains, paints, or finishes on wood or metal are consistent and smooth.

In wood beds, mortise and tenon joints (square pegs wedged firmly and sometimes glued or pinned into square holes) are signs of quality craftsmanship. For metal beds, joints should be welded securely and smoothly. Upholstered beds should have even and neat seams.

The mattress support built into the bed ensures comfort for you and contributes to the longevity of your mattress. It should be designed with the size of mattress to be used in mind, as king mattresses need sturdier support than twins. High quality wood bed frames can offer secure mattress support; usually wood slats that are perpendicular to the bed rails are used to hold the mattress and box spring. Quality metal frames are strong and reliable. Most come with rolling casters, which should be large and heavy weight. Metal frames are often adjustable in size, with extra support a must for king size mattresses.

When your Leon Furniture bed is delivered to your home, light assembly will be required. Our White Glove Delivery service is recommended, and can greatly ease delivery.

Selecting Your Bed and Mattress Size

You should measure the size of your room and consider how much space is used by your other furniture in order to choose your bed size. We offer most of our beds in Queen, King, or California King sizes, with some also offered in Full size. Youth furniture is usually offered in Twin or Full size. Day beds and trundles are usually only available as Twins. When considering one of the King sizes, be sure to carefully consider your space. Though roomy and luxurious, these sizes fill a room faster than you'd expect.

mattress

What is the difference between a California King and a King (sometimes referred to as standard or eastern King)? While very similar in size, the California King is 4” longer and 4” narrower than a standard King size. This is important as bed rail placement and length will vary between the two sizes.

These sizes correspond to the standard mattress sizes so it should be easy to pair up your bed with the right mattress and box spring. Even so, it’s worth double checking the bed measurements just to ensure they match. Note: a sleigh bed style is often intended to have the bedding (sheets, comforter) tucked inside the bedrails – so you will typically find a few extra inches around the mattress or box spring.