Fast Furniture vs Investment Furniture: Know the Difference
With today's increasing demand for convenience and affordability, true quality has become difficult to find. You may have discovered this to be especially true if you're in the market for new furniture. Perhaps you've purchased furniture pieces that looked beautiful online—but felt flimsy and cheap once assembled in your home.
Unfortunately, we live in an age of "fast furniture," and it's becoming an issue in terms of quality and the growing impact on our planet and its resources.
So, what exactly is fast furniture, and how does it differ from investment furniture? We're diving into this increasingly important topic and sharing some tips for selecting the right investment piece for your space.
Fast Furniture vs. Investment Furniture
You may have already heard of "fast fashion," which refers to the trend of producing large amounts of cheap clothing that's not meant to last. The idea of fast furniture is similar. Specifically, fast furniture pieces are made rapidly and in large amounts from cheap, lightweight materials. Because of the lower quality materials used in these pieces, they tend to be inexpensive—but they're not made to last and often need to be replaced within a few years.
Many factors have led to an increase in the demand for fast furniture. Today, people are moving and relocating in large numbers. In fact, recent studies have shown that around 13.8% of Canadians moved between 2019 and 2021. With this has come a demand for lightweight furniture that's easy to ship and move as needed. Likewise, with furniture and interior design trends constantly changing, many people are turning to fast furniture to keep their spaces updated without spending a pretty penny.
On the other hand, investment furniture refers to furniture pieces designed to last. They're made of high-quality, durable materials that will stand the test of time. Yes, investment pieces will cost more up-front, but with proper care and maintenance, they can last a lifetime and may even be passed down from generation to generation.
Why Choose Investment Furniture Over Fast Furniture?
While you will need to put more money into an investment piece up front, there are still more compelling reasons to choose these long-lasting pieces over fast furniture brands.
For starters, investment pieces are built to last. They're made from quality materials like solid wood, steel, aluminum, and even ceramic or stone. By contrast, fast furniture pieces are often made from cheaper and less durable materials, like plastics or particle board, that may break or become damaged quickly. With investment pieces from high-end brands, you get quality materials and craftsmanship.
It’s also worthwhile to consider the environmental impact of the fast furniture trend. The waste generated from pieces that inevitably break and need to be discarded is high. In addition to the large quantities produced, this cheap, flimsy furniture can cause huge issues. In fact, Canadians throw out over 10 million tons of household waste (including furniture) each year.
Likewise, the manufacturing of fast furniture contributes to deforestation across the globe—especially as more manufacturers engage in illegal logging practices to obtain low-cost wood.
Combine all of this with the fact that cheap furniture production depletes other natural resources and contributes to global pollution, supply chain issues, and other environmental concerns—and it's easier to see why more people are beginning to sound the alarm on these unsustainable furniture-making practices.
Shown above: Millennium Dining Table in solid Walnut and aluminum base. Clara dining chairs featured in top grain leather.
What to Look For in a Quality Furniture Piece
If you want to make a more sustainable and responsible choice when shopping for furniture, opt for investment pieces over fast furniture selections. This means shying away from trendy pieces made of cheap materials—and being mindful of the sourcing practices used by the furniture manufacturer.
So, what exactly should you be looking for as you shop for an investment piece?
1. Quality Materials
Start by narrowing your search to quality materials that will hold up to the test of time, lasting for decades or even generations. Solid wood (including hard and soft woods) is an excellent option because wood is aesthetically pleasing and can last many years. You can even sand and stain or paint wooden furniture down the road if you want to refresh it or give it an entirely new look.
In addition to natural woods, you may also want to seek out other durable materials like metal, aluminum, concrete, and ceramic in your next furniture purchase. Compared to cheap and flimsy plastics and particleboard, these materials resist breakage, warping, and other damage, so you don't have to replace your furniture again anytime soon.
Other natural or organic materials, such as bamboo and cotton, are also ideal when shopping for sustainable investment pieces. If you do opt for a piece that contains plastic, look for furnishings that include recycled materials.
2. Stable & Sturdy
When visiting a showroom or testing a piece you want to add to your space, ensure the furniture doesn’t wobble or seem like it will fall apart once you add pressure. If you’re looking at a luxury sofa or chair, you can even sit on it to test its construction and comfort.
If you hear any creaks or groans, there might be better choices for your living spaces. Additionally, a piece of fast furniture is much more likely to come out of the box for you to assemble yourself or not be level from the beginning. This means it cannot sit at the perfect angle, thus risking your room’s aesthetics.
Shown above: Playing Hooky sectional sofa paired with our Pisa cocktail tables
3. High-End Construction
It’s easy to tell when someone passionate about outstanding construction has crafted a piece of furniture. You’ll notice things like dovetail or dowelled joints in pieces created by an expert who cares about the quality of their furniture. A dovetail joint connects a drawer's front, back, and sides to create a strong joint that isn’t easy to separate. Usually, seeing these is a great sign that your new furniture will last.
4. Fabrics that Will Stand the Test of Time
Another way to distinguish between investment and fast furniture is by examining the fabric that covers a piece. Looking for natural fabrics like cotton, linen, or leather or performance fabrics made of natural and synthetic fibers (like Olefin or Polyester) is a great way to understand if a piece is the right investment for you.
For example, there are many types of leather furniture, and you should make sure that you’re not purchasing a sectional that uses bonded leather when you want a high-quality top-grain leather piece. Understanding what’s an investment that will last can make a massive difference in the longevity of your furniture items.
Shown above: Bellevue ultra-elegant sofa with a metal base
5. Quality Craftmanship
You want it to be well-made when you’re looking to invest in a luxury furnishing item. One way to ensure that is checking if a company utilizes artisans to create their furniture by hand. These talented people spend a lot of time creating and building pieces and have usually developed their skills over many years. Choosing a handmade piece will always be an investment, but you can be sure that it was created to last for a lifetime by someone passionate about their craft. A great example is our Kobe Dining Table, which is crafted with Yukas wood and features abstract metal details.
Shown above: Kobe Dining Table with an abstract metal top and circle bases in Yukas wood
Shop Investment Pieces at Domaine Furnishings
Now that you have a better understanding of why investment furniture is essential, you may wonder where you can begin shopping for quality items that will last for many years while being sustainable for the planet.
At Domaine Furnishings, you'll never find fast furniture trends; instead, you can always count on us for quality-made, durable investment pieces that you can proudly pass on to future generations. With materials ranging from natural woods and metals to concrete and hand-woven fibers, you can feel good about outfitting your space with our built-to-last dining room sets, bed frames, coffee tables, sectionals, and much more.