These days you can get furniture of all kinds and pretty much all prices but is cheap worth it? and more importantly is really expensive furniture worth it? It may seem like a simple debate but there is actually a lot to it.
What is Expensive and What is Cheap?
As everyone knows, or at least they should know, cost and price are relative. £100 to someone earning £200 a week is a lot of money; to someone earning £2000 a week, it really isn’t. But it isn’t even that simple because the person earning £2000 a week could have £1700 going out in bills and other costs so maybe £100 is still a lot. While this point is a little facetious it does highlight a wider issue. For the sake of discussion let’s assume something like a sofa at £200 is pretty cheap and one at around £2000 is pretty expensive given the sizes are the same. There may not be much on the market lower than £200 for a sofa but if you really wanted to spend big you could, there are sofas out there you could easily spend £6000 on and that isn’t even the sort the mega-rich would have.
The first big argument in favour of more expensive furniture and many other things is quality. “You get what you pay for” is the old saying and it largely rings true when it comes to furniture. Sadly in many other areas like fashion, the brand name is where the cost lies and not the production values. Take this chair from a small company in Kent https://cheekychairs.com/collections/the-sitting-firm-collection/products/the-darwin-armchair-upholstered-in-liberty-of-london-fruit-billett
It costs £645 which, for a single chair may seem expensive to some people. However, when you look further into it the chair is literally hand made, not in a factory, but in a real workshop by real hands! It is hand painted, the fabric is from Liberty’s of London and the seat has been handcrafted and stitched by a real person in Kent. What does this give you? Well using this as an example you get real quality that should last generations.
Let’s look at an alternative www.cultfurniture.com/furniture-c10/chairs-c3/wooden-chairs-c30/cult-living-reuben-wooden-dining-armchair-fabric-upholstered-brown-p9264/s19145
While this chair isn’t exactly cheap it is a much cheaper version. What do you get? Well on the surface you get a similar chair but even looking at the shape you will see a factory produced look. The fabric will be thinner and machine stitched the chair will have been built using a production line. The chair may last years but if you sat on both every day one would last a lot longer.
The point of this is simply to say that in some cases more money really does mean higher quality and that higher quality means longer life, more comfort, and a much nicer product.
This is a big issue these days and quite rightly too, and it plays a big role in the debate. The saying goes “buy cheap buy twice” and that is really important here. Buy opting for a low-cost option you run the very probable risk of it breaking after a couple of years and then being thrown out. Who cares? Some people might say but when you think about the energy used to make it, the materials used and the energy used to get those materials, the fuel to deliver it, the fuel to move it to a shop and take it home…the list goes on. Suddenly that cheap sofa has a very real environmental cost even if it doesn’t have monetary one. A more expensive sofa carries many of the same costs initially but it’s longer lifespan means these costs are not repeated 2 or 3 times over for the same result…something nice to sit on and watch TV over a 15 year period. Investing in expensive furniture could very well be the environmentally friendly option and it is a growing movement in interiors and other sectors. Even this old article from 2007 is stating the same point but it is still taking a while for the idea to filter through https://www.greenlivingtips.com/articles/choosing-greener-furniture.html
Pleasure and Enjoyment
This may or may not be a primary motivator for a lot of people but saving up and really working to get something expensive that you absolutely adore will bring you more pleasure. If you like beautiful things then opting for a cheaper option will not really slake your thirst.
The simple fact that not everyone is able to save up lots of money to buy something really posh is not really a problem. Buying used furniture and pretty much anything is now super cool and super easy. Gone are the days of any kind of stigma. So the quality issue runs right through to actually still only paying a small amount. Do your research, find good brands and furniture makers and then start hunting on eBay, Gumtree and the myriad of other auction and used sites out there. You could very well end up with two or three luxury furniture items for the same cost as something that will fall apart in a year from a retail park furniture shop. Buying used is even more green too so you can also bask in your own green credentials as you luxuriate on something that cost more than your car!
The bottom line is that in most cases expensive furniture is better. There is no way around it, it tends to be made using more sustainable methods and materials, it should last much longer because it’s made better and it can also just be more beautiful. The great thing is most people can make this choice regardless of income its just a case of finding the right person or shop to buy it all from.