A consumer’s guide to furniture

 

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How do you transform a house into a home and make it your own?  Larry Baer, a vice president for Baer’s Furniture, has some advice on how to choose statement pieces for your home.

What are the latest trends in furniture? Are there new furniture items and new furniture features that consumers should know about?

Baer: The design in general is constantly evolving and changing, so it’s never sitting still. Art, technology and fashion are always changing. The main trends are still consistent, and the primary styles don’t change. You have coastal, you have modern and you have tropical furniture, as always. But you’re also seeing a lot of interesting accents. What happens is, you’re reinterpreting old trends with a new approach. There’s definitely a bias toward more clean line designs, and you’re seeing somewhat more industrial-type furniture, like concrete tables, countertops and floors. It used to be you’d walk into a cool restaurant in Soho and you’d be surprised to see a concrete floor, but now you’re seeing it places all over the country, including homes in Florida. Acrylic is something, too, that’s really coming back in style, and that reminds me of when I was a kid in the ‘70s. In general, you’re seeing that people want furniture that’s got a lot of character. You’re seeing a lot of the hand-hammered metal on accent tables, consoles and even on bedroom furniture. That’s one of the great things about being a larger retailer, like Baer’s: You can source globally and price competitively and still have one-of-a-kind things. You can find stuff with beautiful architectural details and put together these really eclectic interiors in people’s homes. Consumers are becoming more comfortable with unique designs, and we offer complimentary design services to our customers. Complimentary design is a great advantage because people can express themselves and have that freedom, but know that it will all blend together and look well-thought out.

Is there a trendy furniture color or a popular fabric pattern this year? What special designs and colors should shoppers have their eye on?

Baer: We’re still seeing a lot of the spa colors — the greens and the blues and teals and turquoises. And we’re also seeing more accent pieces with a lot colors. It’s about letting people be more expressive and be more personalized, and letting consumers get comfortable being more unique and choosing what works for them.

What’s the best way to judge furniture’s durability? How do you determine whether a furniture item will last a long time and remain in good shape?

Baer: That’s a really tough thing because some unscrupulous retailers have done a great job making lesser quality things look like better quality things. But we do things better at Baer’s. Quality merchandise is one of the things we’ve built our reputation around. There’s great-value furniture, but you have to make sure you get good quality furniture because if it doesn’t hold up, it doesn’t do you any favors. Before you buy furniture, find out what the warranty covers and what the furniture is made of, research the manufacturer and make sure you’re buying from a reputable retailer. Some furniture stores are out to make quick profits, but at Baer’s we want to have customers for life. Baer’s is a family business; we know we’ve got to stand by customers to keep customers, and we really pride ourselves on giving customers the benefit of the doubt when problems arise. In this day and age, with the internet, if we don’t stand by your customers, you’re done, and your reputation is gone. We really have made a conscientious effort to really stand behind the things we’ve sold, at great expense to the company.

How can furniture shoppers ensure that they make comfortable purchases? Is there a trick they can use to find chairs, sofas and couches that will be cozy for everyone in their family?

Baer: I don’t think there’s any tricks in anything in life. When it comes to recognizing quality and comfort, there’s no replacement to going into a furniture store and sitting in the chair. Consumers definitely want to touch and feel it. There’s no way to know if you’ll be comfortable with it, until you sit in it. People need to experience the comfort and quality level to understand it. They can’t see comfort on a screen.

What other advice do you have for furniture shoppers? Is there anything else they need to know?

Baer: I think consumers are able to make much better decisions now because of all the information available to them. I think you need to develop relationships with retailers. This industry does not lend itself to ordering from a retailer across the country. You need someone local that has a reputation and that’s going to take care of their products and that will stand by you. We’ve been around for 70 years, and there’s a reason for that.  There’s a reason to buy local in this industry, because local stores have to earn our reputation every day.  We’re super proud of what we have to offer.

Contact Kowarski at 321-242-3640 or ikowarski@floridatoday.com.  Follow her on Twitter @IlanaKowarski.

10 Furniture Problems You Can Fix Yourself (Courtesy of popularmechanics.com)

​A professional furniture restorer shares her secrets on making repairs that last.

See whole article here.

Crystal Dvorak has been fixing, creating, restoring, and upcycling furniture for more than 20 years. The owner of Urban Patina in Shakopee, MN, she’s seen every problem a piece of furniture can have. And she’s fixed them. These are some of her tried-and-true techniques for repairs that stand the test of time.

 

Loose Rungs on Your Chairs

After years of being pushed and pulled to and from the dinner table, chairs can suffer from their wooden joints coming loose. The first casualties are often rungs popping out of the legs. "This happens even more frequently with new furniture that's not constructed as solidly as older furniture," Dvorak says. Those loose rungs need to be reglued. First, remove the old glue. "Sand the end of the rung clean, down to the wood," Dvorak says. "Then use a syringe to insert wood glue into the opening in the leg. A syringe lets you get the glue right where it's needed without having to completely remove the rung." Then insert the rung and clamp the chair tight until the glue is dry. "Keep in mind that not all wood glues perform the same," she says. "I've tried almost every wood glue out there, and I use Titebond III. I buy it by the gallon."

After years of being pushed and pulled to and from the dinner table, chairs can suffer from their wooden joints coming loose. The first casualties are often rungs popping out of the legs. “This happens even more frequently with new furniture that’s not constructed as solidly as older furniture,” Dvorak says.

Those loose rungs need to be reglued. First, remove the old glue. “Sand the end of the rung clean, down to the wood,” Dvorak says. “Then use a syringe to insert wood glue into the opening in the leg. A syringe lets you get the glue right where it’s needed without having to completely remove the rung.” Then insert the rung and clamp the chair tight until the glue is dry. “Keep in mind that not all wood glues perform the same,” she says. “I’ve tried almost every wood glue out there, and I use Titebond III. I buy it by the gallon.”

 

Wobbly Chairs

Few things are more unnerving than sitting on a wobbly chair. If gluing loose rungs and tightening the hardware doesn't work, then add right-angle corner braces. You can buy the braces at hardware and home improvement stores for just a couple bucks for a four pack. Make sure to buy the paintable kind if you want to paint the braces to match the chair."Add a brace where each leg meets the seat. You may have to bend the brace a little so it's flush against the chair leg—you don't want a gap between the brace and the leg," she says. "Be sure to drill pilot holes before inserting the screws through the brace. That'll keep the wood from splitting."

Few things are more unnerving than sitting on a wobbly chair. If gluing loose rungs and tightening the hardware doesn’t work, then add right-angle corner braces. You can buy the braces at hardware and home improvement stores for just a couple bucks for a four pack. Make sure to buy the paintable kind if you want to paint the braces to match the chair.

“Add a brace where each leg meets the seat. You may have to bend the brace a little so it’s flush against the chair leg—you don’t want a gap between the brace and the leg,” she says. “Be sure to drill pilot holes before inserting the screws through the brace. That’ll keep the wood from splitting.”

 

Pieces Coming Apart at the Seams

If furniture starts to separate at the seams where two pieces of wood come together, a simple solution is to add flat corner braces, which are available at hardware and home centers for less than $1 each. This eliminates having to drive screws through the seam in the hopes of pulling the gap closed. Add the brace in an inconspicuous location, like the back of the piece. "Place the bracket over the joint where the wood is the thickest so you get the most bite with your screws," Dvorak advises. "Use clamps to pull the seam tight, then drill pilot holes through the bracket, drive in your screws, and you're done."

If furniture starts to separate at the seams where two pieces of wood come together, a simple solution is to add flat corner braces, which are available at hardware and home centers for less than $1 each. This eliminates having to drive screws through the seam in the hopes of pulling the gap closed. Add the brace in an inconspicuous location, like the back of the piece. “Place the bracket over the joint where the wood is the thickest so you get the most bite with your screws,” Dvorak advises. “Use clamps to pull the seam tight, then drill pilot holes through the bracket, drive in your screws, and you’re done.”

Loose Legs

"When people drag furniture instead of picking it up to move it, they put a lot of pressure on the leg and can cause it to come off," Dvorak says. Some people compound the problem by trying to drive several screws through the furniture into the leg to secure it. That causes more problems by splitting the wood.Instead, Dvorak sands the part of the leg that faces the furniture to allow the glue to form a stronger bond. Then she applies wood glue and clamps the leg firmly in place. "You also have to use fasteners. You have to pre-drill to keep the wood from splitting, then drive two screws that give you at least two inches of bite into the leg." Countersink the screws, fill the holes with wood filler, sand the area smooth, and apply a finish.

“When people drag furniture instead of picking it up to move it, they put a lot of pressure on the leg and can cause it to come off,” Dvorak says. Some people compound the problem by trying to drive several screws through the furniture into the leg to secure it. That causes more problems by splitting the wood.

Instead, Dvorak sands the part of the leg that faces the furniture to allow the glue to form a stronger bond. Then she applies wood glue and clamps the leg firmly in place. “You also have to use fasteners. You have to pre-drill to keep the wood from splitting, then drive two screws that give you at least two inches of bite into the leg.” Countersink the screws, fill the holes with wood filler, sand the area smooth, and apply a finish.

 

Broken Drawer Corners

Dresser drawers are usually made of thin, flimsy pieces of lumber, and the dovetail corners are notorious for coming apart. "I get a lot of dressers where people tried to pin the corners with brad nails," Dvorak says. "That doesn't work. The wood is too thin to nail, and pinning it cracks or breaks the wood, making it even harder for the joints to go together. Plus the nails usually end up coming through the wood at an angle and are then poking into your drawer."The best fix starts with removing any nails from the corners. Then gently take the corner the rest of the way apart and sand away any remaining old glue. Apply wood glue, reassemble the corner and clamp the drawer until the glue dries. "If the drawer is sticking, apply beeswax along the bottom rail to help it glide," she says.

Dresser drawers are usually made of thin, flimsy pieces of lumber, and the dovetail corners are notorious for coming apart. “I get a lot of dressers where people tried to pin the corners with brad nails,” Dvorak says. “That doesn’t work. The wood is too thin to nail, and pinning it cracks or breaks the wood, making it even harder for the joints to go together. Plus the nails usually end up coming through the wood at an angle and are then poking into your drawer.”

The best fix starts with removing any nails from the corners. Then gently take the corner the rest of the way apart and sand away any remaining old glue. Apply wood glue, reassemble the corner and clamp the drawer until the glue dries. “If the drawer is sticking, apply beeswax along the bottom rail to help it glide,” she says.

 

A Veneer That’s Seen Better Days

Most furniture has a veneer covering. Even dressers, tables, and desks made from real wood probably also have veneers. Over time, the veneer can come loose from the underlying wood surface or chip off. "When it's lifting, first clean out any debris between the veneer and the surface underneath," Dvorak says. "Use your syringe to squirt some wood glue under the veneer, then press the veneer down. Place a wood scrap or shim over the veneer and clamp it down. The scrap piece of wood keeps the clamp from damaging the veneer and applies even pressure. If there's nothing to clamp to, place wood over the veneer and weigh it down with paint cans or something heavy."If the veneer has chips missing, fill the area with a wood filler such as DAP Wood Filler if you plan on applying a paint or stain finish. Make sure the filler can be painted or stained.  "Otherwise, you'll need to replace the damaged veneer," Dvorak points out. "You'll need a veneer that's the same species and has the same wood grain as what you have now, then play the mix-and-match color game to find a stain that is a very close match to your current finish."

Most furniture has a veneer covering. Even dressers, tables, and desks made from real wood probably also have veneers. Over time, the veneer can come loose from the underlying wood surface or chip off.

“When it’s lifting, first clean out any debris between the veneer and the surface underneath,” Dvorak says. “Use your syringe to squirt some wood glue under the veneer, then press the veneer down. Place a wood scrap or shim over the veneer and clamp it down. The scrap piece of wood keeps the clamp from damaging the veneer and applies even pressure. If there’s nothing to clamp to, place wood over the veneer and weigh it down with paint cans or something heavy.”

If the veneer has chips missing, fill the area with a wood filler such as DAP Wood Filler if you plan on applying a paint or stain finish. Make sure the filler can be painted or stained. “Otherwise, you’ll need to replace the damaged veneer,” Dvorak points out. “You’ll need a veneer that’s the same species and has the same wood grain as what you have now, then play the mix-and-match color game to find a stain that is a very close match to your current finish.”

 

Uneven Table

 

When one leg on a table or desk is shorter than the others (or maybe your floor is a little wavy), then the furniture will rock up and down. Luckily, this is one of the easiest furniture problems to solve—and it doesn't involve sticking matchbooks under the table legs. Dvorak recommends that you fasten nail-on glides to the ends of the legs. The glides are basically cushions attached to a nail that you stick in a leg. They're designed to keep the legs from scuffing the floor, but they can also be used to level a table. The glides cost about $2 for a four-pack.  Measure the gap between the short leg and the floor. Next, drill a pilot hole and insert a glide in the three non-problem legs. "Use washers to shim the last one," Dvorak says. "Place washers over the last leg to get the thickness you need, then insert the glide."

When one leg on a table or desk is shorter than the others (or maybe your floor is a little wavy), then the furniture will rock up and down. Luckily, this is one of the easiest furniture problems to solve—and it doesn’t involve sticking matchbooks under the table legs. Dvorak recommends that you fasten nail-on glides to the ends of the legs. The glides are basically cushions attached to a nail that you stick in a leg. They’re designed to keep the legs from scuffing the floor, but they can also be used to level a table. The glides cost about $2 for a four-pack.

Measure the gap between the short leg and the floor. Next, drill a pilot hole and insert a glide in the three non-problem legs. “Use washers to shim the last one,” Dvorak says. “Place washers over the last leg to get the thickness you need, then insert the glide.”

 

Busted Handles

When the screw holes in wooden handles are stripped, you won't be able to tighten the handle no matter how hard you try. You'll need to fill the holes with wood putty so the screws have something to bite into. "Make sure the label on the putty says it's drillable," Dvorak says. "They're not all the same, and some won't take well to drilling."Once the putty is dry, drill a pilot hole and reattach the handle using a screw. "You don't want to use a nail," she says. "A nail won't hold the way a screw does."

When the screw holes in wooden handles are stripped, you won’t be able to tighten the handle no matter how hard you try. You’ll need to fill the holes with wood putty so the screws have something to bite into. “Make sure the label on the putty says it’s drillable,” Dvorak says. “They’re not all the same, and some won’t take well to drilling.”

Once the putty is dry, drill a pilot hole and reattach the handle using a screw. “You don’t want to use a nail,” she says. “A nail won’t hold the way a screw does.”

 

Those Pesky Scratches

Dvorak says she doesn't use wood markers or fillers to fill in scratches because the process involves a lot of trial and error to get the right match, and despite all the choices available, it can be nearly impossible to get the perfect color. Instead, she prefers a paste finishing wax that starts at $6 for a 1 lb. can at hardware and home centers. "You can use a clear wax or one that's close to the color of the furniture," she says. "You can buff out minor scratches and make the surface smooth without having to worry about color matching."

Dvorak says she doesn’t use wood markers or fillers to fill in scratches because the process involves a lot of trial and error to get the right match, and despite all the choices available, it can be nearly impossible to get the perfect color. Instead, she prefers a paste finishing wax that starts at $6 for a 1 lb. can at hardware and home centers. “You can use a clear wax or one that’s close to the color of the furniture,” she says. “You can buff out minor scratches and make the surface smooth without having to worry about color matching.”

 

Deep Surface Damage

Sometimes, as with water damage or burns on the surface, the problem is too severe to buff out. "There is no quick and easy fix for this," Dvorak says. "To do it right, you have to refinish the piece." This entails stripping off the finish and sanding the surface, then applying the new finish. "It takes time, but you'll end up with a quality surface," she says.
Check out our how-to steps for refinishing furniture.

Sometimes, as with water damage or burns on the surface, the problem is too severe to buff out. “There is no quick and easy fix for this,” Dvorak says. “To do it right, you have to refinish the piece.” This entails stripping off the finish and sanding the surface, then applying the new finish. “It takes time, but you’ll end up with a quality surface,” she says.

General answer to customer’s complaint of FlatFair.com negative reviews

See also: http://www.shopperapproved.com/reviews/flatfair.com/

Review from Yitza Marie Perez in TrustPilot.com

Published Monday, March 28, 2016

Thank you.

Thanks for all the negative reviews and so many apologies from the company I won’t buy the living room set I fall in love with. I knew the price was to good to be true.
FlatFair

Reply from FlatFair

Hello Yitza,

Thanks for your message and hence, the opportunity to respond the reviews issue generally to you and all others may read this thread in the future.

FlatFair.com has over 2000 satisfied customer reviews here out of over tens of thousand satisfied but quiet customers. TrustPilot.com and Yelp.com, Ripoffreport.com constantly solicited our monthly fee for subscription and we can not satisfy their demand. The less than 20 negative reviews of FlatFair.com you found in Trustpilot.com, Yelp.com, etc. in the past years are getting way more exposure than the above other reviews. Are these factors related for the over exposure? I don’t know but you can make your judgement.

We apologize to those who left us negative review as many of the negative reviews were our fault and we treat those reviews very seriously. But we apologize even we were demanded unreasonably either by mis-information or abuse because we feel customer’s poor buying experiences need to be apologized.

We are proud that we were able to offer our well deserved customers in the very affordable prices with quality service! If you believe the price is too good to be true, it shows that we already left our competitors far behind. We hope your suspicious will be answered by those other tens of thousand customers shared their happy buying experiences with our product and our service.

We controlled our cost by not hiring expensive social media companies to beautify our images and to hide those negative reviews. We passed those saving to our valued customers by offering more affordable products and better services!

We hope you can give us an opportunity to prove us some day!

Thanks again!

 

—————————————————————————————————————————————-p.s.

Published 4 days ago

I had a great experience!! I am going to order again, despite the negative reviews here.

I don’t understand why there aren’t more positive reviews, unless it’s that the customers who are satisfied just didn’t bother to write a review? I was afraid to place my order. I had seen the same sofa on other sites for about 30-60% more, even Amazon and Overstock. The brand was the same and so I went for it and ordered two sofas.

I received a notification the same day that my sofas were back ordered and Ken in customer service offered to cancel my order. I wanted the sofas so I decided to wait for them . They arrived before the estimated date by over two weeks and Ken communicated well with me the whole time. The delivery guy was nice and the sofas were packaged well from the manufacturer

My sofas are exactly as pictured, perfect condition and better quality than I expected for a sofa under $500 each. The quality seems equal to the sofas I was replacing that had been purchased from Costco years ago.

I will be placing an order now for a dresser, because it is $300 cheaper here than at the other sites I found it on!

Face Time calling used in assisting customer furniture assembling

Webex, Join.me, Logmein, teamviewer, gotomypc are popular names for remote desktop support in computer or internet industry. We have also heard often remote surgery by medical doctors, FlatFair is using the same concept to help our customers in furniture assembling now.

Face Time of iPhone was used recently by our customer service to assist to diagnose our customer’s assembling problems and both sides get very happy experiences.

Though the lady customer in the other side shows a little bit shy in the first minute seeing FlatFair customer service face to face, but both sides quickly jumped into the point and the customer changed her front camera to the back camera to show the furniture pieces on the carpet. The customer obviously get confused by the many holes on the base for Poundex sectional sofa back supports, even though the Instruction Manual has step by step procedures. The iPhone camera becomes our own eyes in the customer home and virtually a furniture expert is her hand-in-hand guide. Less than 10 minutes of virtually in-site assistance resolved the issues successfully. We can see the smiling face of the lady customer. A possible return was avoided and a unhappy customer minutes ago was turned into a smiling face!

Thanks a lot for iPhone Face Time!

John Yueh

Old building turned new furniture

http://www.cbc.ca/1.3488594

The video reminds me of a furniture enthusiast built very beautiful, durable furniture from used pallets. Some Pallets used very high quality hard wood for the weight it needs to support. They are the perfect low cost sources for good solid wood furniture. I have collected some already and planning to start working on them in one weekend!