Looking for high quality, handcrafted, real solid wood dining furniture at great prices? Here are some tips and advice I've collected to make your shopping experience successful and fun.
1. Look for dining furniture made in the U.S.A.
Most “American Made” wood furniture sold in the USA is actually imported from overseas. The quality is not as nice as you will see if you are searching for genuine, handcrafted solid wood dining furniture. In an effort to cut costs, a lot of major American furniture companies have moved their operations overseas and quality has plummeted. To find true craftsmanship that is backed by a lifetime guarantee, seek small, local furniture companies that craft honest, high quality dining furniture out of locally and responsibly harvested hardwoods.
2. Decide what style you're looking for
Are you seeking modern wood dining furniture with clean and simple Shaker lines, rustic “distressed” furniture, traditional colonial furniture or something in-between? Furniture makers will typically specialize in one style or another. You'll get the best quality and price if you purchase from a craftsperson who specializes in the style you’re looking for.
3. Decide which type of wood you prefer
Our most popular selling wood for dining furniture is solid cherry, but there are many other beautiful and durable furniture wood available including maple, walnut and oak. These four premium woods typically price out at about the same with the exception of walnut which carries about a 20% premium. Each wood varies in color, grain, hardness and durability and some woods, for example, cherry, even change color over time. Ask your furniture builder what types of wood they work with. Most will offer several choices.
4. Ask about the construction methods used in building your dining furniture
Look for traditional construction and pay particular attention to the joinery methods used with corners and legs. High quality drawers normally feature dovetail joinery, while table aprons are usually attached to the table legs with mortise and tenon joints.
5. Consider lead time for crafting the furniture and for shipping and delivery
Custom handcrafted dining furniture takes time to design and build. Typically the lead time is 6-12 weeks for crafting, however the pandemic is often adding months to that. Don’t forget, if your furniture is being shipped, you may need to allot an additional 1-9 weeks for its arrival.
6. Insist on White Glove shipping and delivery
Perhaps the biggest complaint from furniture buyers is about shipping and delivery. Before your purchase, find out how your furniture will be shipped. If it’s traveling any distance, insist on a professionally trained delivery crew that will bring your furniture into your home, set it up and thoroughly inspect for shipping damage.
7. Get a lifetime guarantee
Most serious custom furniture makers will be happy to back their work with a lifetime guarantee. If yours is uncomfortable with this ask why. You may want to move on to another workshop if there is no room for negotiation on the guarantee.
8. Best time to buy dining room furniture
When it’s on sale, of course! Autumn is traditionally the time when we think about dining furniture. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and other holidays mean your family will be gathering around the dining table. Many furniture companies will run the best sales of the year during the Fall so start looking today. Your dream dining room set will soon become a reality!
* If you want your dining furniture for the holiday season, make sure to discuss delivery time with your craftsperson. The Fall is a busy time, so we recommend buying dining furniture in late Summer to guarantee a delivery before Thanksgiving.