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With the mercury breaking records across the continent recently, and the sun breaking spirits, the time for denying the link between human behaviour and global warming must surely be over. And with deforestation worse than ever it’s everyone’s responsibility, we think, to enact everyday changes to reduce our impact on our beloved, threatened globe. This all starts at home. 

If you’ve recently moved house or need to replace any furniture, then why not embrace the opportunity to cut down on all that identikit, mass-produced furniture that may be destroying forests across the globe and take yourself to an auction instead? Everyday, hundreds of items go up to the gavel, from antique furniture to more modern pieces just waiting for a new home. By buying pre-loved furniture, you’ll not be placing any further burden on the planet via production, electricity and use of resources. And you won’t be adding unnecessarily to landfill. It’s a win win situation. With that in mind, here are 6 IDEAL tips to help you choose high quality furniture at an auction.


High-quality furniture should be like promotional flags; they should be waving at you, impossible to miss and catching the eye of potential buyers. OK, that analogy didn’t quite work – but you get what we mean, right? And when it comes to wood, the quality  speak for itself. 

There are generally three types of wood you should be looking for. Solid wood is the most expensive in the category, but you get what you pay for; it also makes the most beautiful and durable furniture. Veneers can also make outstanding pieces since they are made by putting high-quality wood on the outer layers. Finally, particleboard or composite wood is smooth and appealing to the eye though it may not last for decades. 


If you can’t get your eyes off a beautiful sofa or chair, consider its composition to determine whether it’s worth the price. If it has removable cushions, unzip the cover and have a look inside. Good quality furniture has a block of foam wrapped with Dacron, cotton, or down with a protective inner cover. Such sofas may be quite costly but last longer than foam-only cushions. They are also eminently more comfortable.

When buying new furniture, ask about the density rating of the seat foam: a 1.8 pounds or higher seat foam is considered high quality. There are removable back cushions that have foam or loose fill. For the latter, you should find cushions with multiple compartments as they prevent the fill from settling.


If you’re looking for a sofa that will last, the last thing you want are squeaky chairs. It’s important, then, to lift the cushions and push the base of the couch. If it squeaks, then this isn’t the best regardless of how beautiful it looks. Additionally, if the base pushes down and doesn’t spring back immediately, then you need to think twice about buying it. Generally, a good sofa is one with zigzag coils. If you prefer a firmer feel, consider ones with traditional coiled springs.


When looking for an upholstery bed or sofa that will stand the test of time, you need to find a fabric that looks and feels the part. When choosing upholstered furniture, you should consider your lifestyle. How much care does the upholstery fibre need, and can your lifestyle accommodate such care? Silk will always look good, in any household, but it may not retain the looks if placed next to a sunny window. Some fibres may also not withstand heavy use as they are prone to wrinkling and snagging. As a result, choose a fabric which not only looks good but will also survive in your home setting.


Drawers and cabinets are the common parts of furniture that malfunction. So, pull the drawers all the way out and also make sure it latches well and shuts evenly. Open the cabinets and confirm that they remain open then close again. The handles and knobs should be tight and not turn or jiggle.


The legs are the most important part of your furniture since they carry all the weight. While plastic legs may be attractive, more often than not, they won’t hold the weight of the piece properly. Met legs, on the other hand, can damage your floor surface. The best legs, then, are made from heavy wood and are joined to the frame of the furniture, not glued or nailed. If the furniture is custom made and hence bigger than usual, it should always have extra support.

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