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Mosby's Journal
Mosby's Journal
September 5, 2023

Why furniture got so bad

No one expects an Ikea bookcase or West Elm sofa to last for generations, or maybe even to survive another move. But walk into a vintage furniture store and you’ll find all types of old pieces that were inexpensive and mass-produced in their day, yet have still managed to achieve heirloom status.

Furniture isn’t what it used to be. Fifty or 60 years ago, people thought of it as something they’d have for life — a dresser that a grown kid could take to college, a dining table where future grandchildren would have Thanksgiving. Today? Not so much.

Modern consumers are often all too happy to ditch last year’s Wayfair shipment for whatever new trend is sweeping their social media feeds. At the other end of that cycle is an industry relying on cheap labor and flimsy materials to fatten profit margins and keep prices down.


Not really news to me, and I suspect a lot of DUers can relate to seeing this decline in quality and the reasons for it. Press board is utter crap, it's literally just paper that's been pressed together.

Most cheap furniture uses particle board covered with a plastic or wood veneer, it's not as weak as press board but a little water makes it swell up and ruins it. It also sucks at holding fasteners like hinge screws. Larger pieces have to be disassembled partly in order to move them, if they can be moved at all.

I'm lucky enough to have some old furniture, a couple pieces more than 100 years old now. It's really worth investing in good furniture, it can be moved, holds its value and frankly looks better.

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