When you’re browsing fitted bedrooms in furniture stores, it can be so, so tempting to opt for the really low cost options. This is especially true if you’re working to a tight budget or have limited disposable income due to the recession, for example. However, buying cheap bedroom wardrobes and units is one of the worst decisions you can make in terms of home design. Although many cheap bedroom units do look stunning, and it’s hard to believe they’re anything other than top quality, you have to remember that they’re cheap for a reason. That reason is that they’re either not very well made, or are made from sub-optimal materials that are simply not designed to cope with the storage pressures of a modern bedroom. High quality bedroom drawer chests and other furniture will, undoubtedly, cost you more initially, but these units are intended to last a lifetime. If you cheat and opt for budget furniture, you may find that you need to replace your bedroom within just a few years due to chipping, denting, scratching, peeling, or even entire bedroom wardrobes falling apart! Not only is replacing broken furniture a costly and inconvenient exercise, but it also presents a very real, and very scary, safety concern, particularly if you’ve got young children in the household. If you’re unsure of how to tell cheap bedroom units apart from high quality fitted bedrooms, here’s a few things you should look out for:
What to Avoid: Plywood
Many cheap bedroom drawer chests are made from plywood, but why some companies choose to do this is a mystery. You may be thinking that plywood is a cheap material, but actually there are other less costly materials that produce better overall results, such as MDF. While it is true that plywood is relatively strong (which is probably why some furniture manufacturers choose to use it), it has many disadvantages that actually make it entirely unsuitable for use in bedroom units. Firstly, plywood has quite an open, sparse, and thin grain due to the way it is made up via layering. The sort of softness that comes with this leaves plywood structures very vulnerable to weak spots. If a weak spot occurs in just the wrong place, it could compromise the integrity of bedroom wardrobes, which essentially become a ticking time bomb – it’s not if they’ll fall, it’s when. Plywood is also very susceptible to the effects of heat and moisture. If your house doesn’t have very good ventilation and tends to steam up in hot and cold weather, this moisture will be absorbed by the plywood, which is very porous. This can cause it to warp. Once it re-sets, it’s very difficult to return the furniture to its original state. This can affect not only the way the furniture looks, but also how easy it is to open and shut.
What to Look For: Chipboard
Always look for fitted bedrooms that are made from chipboard, or particleboard. All of our bedroom units are made from EGGER chipboard. Chipboard is made by pressing recycled materials together, rather than layering, so instead of an open grain, chipboard is very dense, and very closed. This means it’s very unlikely to produce weak spots, making your bedroom wardrobes much more secure. Chipboard is renowned for being stronger, sturdier, and even more versatile than plywood, and aesthetically it resembles solid wood very closely, so it doesn’t need to be covered in a vinyl, acrylic, or PVC wrap for customers that want an exposed wood finish. What’s surprising is that chipboard is actually cheaper that plywood, yet it produces much higher quality furniture that’s durable, robust, and, most importantly, safe.
What to Avoid: Un-coated Chipboard
Unfortunately, one disadvantage chipboard does have is that, like plywood, it is quite porous (it is less so, however, due to the denser nature). This means it can soak up any moisture in the air which could cause warping. It’s very uncommon to find un-coated chipboard used to make bedroom units, but it can happen, so be vigilant. Always ask what coating or laminate is covering the chipboard – if it’s bare, then walk away!
What to Look For: Melamine Coated Chipboard
Most chipboard that is used to make bedroom wardrobes is coated in one way or another. This not only acts as a way to protect the wood underneath and enhance its strength, but is also acts as a barrier to keep out moisture, particles, and dust which could affect the integrity of the structure. Our EGGER board is coated in melamine, a type of hard wearing resin that is often used for laminate flooring. You can be sure that if melamine can withstand heavy foot traffic on laminate flooring, then it can withstand moderate use in bedrooms.
What to Avoid: 12mm Thickness
If you take a look at some other furniture websites, you’ll notice a common trend – not giving detailed specifications about the fitted bedrooms on offer. While you’ll be offered the sizings and the materials, you probably won’t be offered details about the thickness of the material. This is a clever trick that prevents companies from having to divulge that they’re offering low quality products. If a specification doesn’t confirm a material thickness, chances are it’s 12mm, 15mm if you’re lucky. While there’s nothing wrong with 12mm and 15mm thicknesses for many DIY tasks, they just don’t hit the spot when it comes to furniture.
What to Look for: 18mm Thickness
Bedroom wardrobes and bedroom drawer chests are perhaps two of the most abused pieces of furniture in the home. We tend to overload them well beyond their capacity with clothes, shoes, and all manner of other garments and trinkets. If you really take a moment to think about just how much you’ve got hidden in your wardrobe, you’ll completely understand just how important it is to opt for an 18mm thickness!
Don’t fall into the trap of buying cheap bedroom furniture. The prices may seem appealing, but it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll need to replace your bedroom within a couple of years due to suboptimal materials and bad workmanship. If you really want to be cost effective, think ahead, and opt for furniture that is going to last well.