Buying Furniture For Your Home Theater? 2 Questions You Should Ask First

Posted on: 17 February 2015

After painstakingly searching for the perfect movie projector and sound absorbing drapery, you might be ready to shop for home theater furniture. However, before you fall in love with those power recliners finished with bonded leather, it is important to remember that you will be living with your investment for a while. Here are two questions you should ask before buying home theater furniture, and why they might matter to you later: 

1: How well is this piece made?

After spending money on an expensive home theater system, you might be tempted to skimp a little on the seating. However, the way each piece is made might determine whether or not you still own that item a few years later. As you snuggle up next to your sweetheart in that armchair or as your kids bounce around on those recliners, the structural integrity of each piece will make a big difference. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Frame Material: When you shop for upholstered furniture, look for pieces made with a hardwood frame. Hardwoods like oak, maple, and cherry have a lower water content than softwoods like cedar, pine, and spruce, which makes them stronger and less likely to warp.
  • Cushion Surrounds: Unzip upholstery cushions to see what is inside. If you see a pillow filled with loose stuffing, those cushions might not hold their shape well. Instead, look for cushions with internal pillow surrounds, so that you don't end up shaping those seats before people come over.
  • Joinery: The weakest portion of any furniture piece is the joint. If you notice joinery that is simply glued or nailed together, keep shopping. Look for furniture that has woven, dovetailed ends, which won't come apart as easily.

To find high-quality furniture, ask the salesperson if they have an as-is warehouse. If you spot several similar items that may have been returned, steer clear of that product line. Although higher quality furniture might come with a higher price tag, you might save money down the road if you don't have to replace it.

2: Are the integrated electronics covered by warranties?

As you shop for seating, you might be wooed by fancy electronic gadgets integrated into each piece. However, those modern chairs might become run-of-the-mill if the circuitry ever goes out. Before you buy furniture with these features, ask if the integrated electronics are covered by warranties:

  • Massage Chairs: Over time, massage chairs can take a lot of abuse. Cushions can wear out or internal electrical components could be fried if you spill a little soda. Ask your salesperson if the massage chair warranty covers water damage.
  • Electric Recliner Controls: If you aren't a fan of those giant pull levers, you may have opted for a recliner with easy-to-use, electric controls. Unfortunately, your kids might love those knobs and switches as much as you. To fend off trouble, ask your salesperson if electric recliner controls are covered for user error.  
  • Motion Simulators: One of the best features available for newer home theater chairs are built-in rumble packs. These systems can simulate explosions, driving in a car, or even a sudden fall. Unfortunately, motion simulators are prone to wear and tear. Make sure that you understand how motion simulators are meant to be used so that you don't void the warranty.

Keep in mind that some products contain an express warranty in addition to a written warranty. An express warranty is basically any claim made by the manufacturer. For example, that massage chair might have a five year limited warranty, but the maker may have stated that the system is guaranteed to run for 20,000 hours. If your system dies before then, it might still be covered. 

By asking the right questions to get more info and understanding what you are buying, you can drive away with home theater furniture that you will love for many years to come.