How much should furniture cost

There is large range of prices you can pay for a piece of furniture. In this post, we'll take a look at the two extremes of the scale for coffee tables and see what you get for your money.

The Budget End: this Ikea coffee table for $99

Ikea table

The High End: this table for a RRP of $4175

High end coffee table

As you can see, that is quite a price range! Let's have a closer look at actual differences between the two pieces.

The Ikea table is constructed from the following materials;-

Table top: Particleboard, Fibreboard, ABS plastic, printed and embossed acrylic paint, Clear acrylic lacquer
Filling material: Paper
Shelf: Particleboard, Melamine foil, ABS plastic
Leg: Fibreboard, Particleboard, Foil

The high end table is constructed from the following materials;-

Solid Alder timber with Mahogany finish
Zinc alloy metal ferrules in gold bullion


The construction methods used for the above tables are vastly different.  The $99 table is constructed of particleboard that is joined using screws and bolts. It may come flat packed and require assembly by the purchaser.  The table is functional and may last a few years if looked after. It can't be repaired or re-coated to restore the original appearance and it probably won't give you a feeling of satisfaction as you look at it while sipping your coffee.

The high end coffee table is made from solid alder timber and would be joined using mortise & tenon joints and glued.  The surfaces can be re-finished and polished if they become dull or scratched.  It is an object of beauty that you could enjoy while having your coffee and pondering how to tell your spouse how much you spent on a coffee table. It will outlast your lifetime and be fought over by your children when you die.

I am not advocating everyone go out and buy $4000 coffee tables, but just that the cliche "you get what you pay for" does hold true when purchasing furniture. If you buy a piece of furniture that is handmade by a craftsman, you should not compare the price to a mass produced table that is made from chipboard - they are apples and oranges (or maybe lemons).



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