How to Identify Luxury Furniture

How to Identify Luxury Furniture

When you are designing your client’s space, you need to choose livable pieces that help them through their day-to-day life, pieces that add a personal touch to the space to prevent the room from feeling stiff and uninviting, pieces that speak to the soul of your client.


You need luxury furniture.


Luxury furniture is defined as products that hold a unique artistic vision within them. It is made by people of a high skill set using innovative techniques and generations-old systems. Top-quality long-lasting materials are always used to ensure that the piece can stand the test of time without losing its beauty.


So it is clear to see why people invest in luxury pieces.


But since so many families now understand the value of luxury furniture and are investing in luxury pieces for their home to pass down through generations, luxury furniture designs are often copied by other brands resulting in low-quality replicas flooding the market. This has made finding genuine pieces of luxury furniture difficult if you do not know what to look for.

At Décor House, we understand that luxury furniture is so much more than a look. True luxury is about quality of living, and this is something low-quality knock-offs cannot provide. That’s why we only carry pieces made by brands we trust to produce high-quality, stylish, durable furniture for the modern home. We have spent the last 38 years providing our clientele with a vast array of design services, and in this time, we have come to recognize the signs of luxury furniture compared to knock-offs. Today we are using our experienced team members' knowledge and talent to help you learn how to identify luxury furniture both online and in a showroom using examples from the brands we carry to illustrate our advice.

Keep reading to learn how to identify luxury furniture so you can be confident that the furniture you select for your client's space is genuine.


Why Are Knock-Offs So Bad?


Before we explain how you can identify if a piece of furniture can be classed as a luxury piece, we want to emphasize the importance of buying furniture from a genuine source.

Knock-offs are usually significantly cheaper than purchasing a luxury piece since they are often not made to the designer’s specifications meaning they do not meet the same standards as the original piece. Nor are they made using the correct materials. Not only does this mean that knock-offs do not have the same lifespan as a genuine piece, but it also means that they are more likely to be damaged beyond repair within your client's first year of having them in their home. Not only will this reflect poorly on you as an interior designer, but it also tarnishes the name of the brand the piece was copied from.

Moreover, since knock-offs do not pay a royalty to the original designer, the person that designed the piece will not be paid properly for their work. This will have a negative effect on everyone that has worked on the original design. If there is no demand for a product, then it will be shelved, and some designers may be fired for not getting the result the brand wanted.

So don’t ignore the red flags. Invest your client’s money as you would invest your own money and only purchase a piece that you know is genuine.


How To Identify Luxury Furniture

There are many techniques you can use to tell if the piece of furniture you are considering purchasing for your client’s space is an authentic piece of luxury furniture. While this article does not list them all, we are listing the techniques our design team finds the most useful when they are helping our clients because we know they are effective.


The Labels and Marks


This may seem like the easiest way to identify a luxury piece of furniture, but it still requires some research. You need to know what an authentic label or marking looks like so you know that the piece you are looking at is not a fake.

Use a search engine to look up what a brand uses to identify their furniture. For example, the brand Caracole uses a brand tag sewn into the seam of their chairs. But they also use a number of glued on safety tags with important notices to convey information about fire regulations. One of these tags always includes phrasing akin to ‘under penalty of law, this tag is not to be removed except by the customer.’ If the piece you purchase has tags like this, then it is likely that it is genuine. If it does not, then do not purchase the item and contact the seller for more information.

It is important to do this research before you start shopping as most brands now use a sticker or tag that has been glued on the base of the furniture, and copiers know this. So they have begun to copy this too.

If you cannot find a sticker or mark, look for a serial number or the country of origin, e.g., “Made in USA” engraved into the wood or metal. Copycats usually do not engrave their pieces as this would be an added expense and result in a loss in profits for them.

However, keep in mind that labels can change over time. For example, a piece of Baker Furniture produced in 1940 would likely not have the brand's iconic gold or silver-plated markings. Instead, it would have a tag that features a simplified version of the brand's iconic logo- the letter ‘B,’ with a tulip and a crown sitting on top of it. The crown reflects the brand's traditionally trained craftsmen, while the tulip signifies Dutch craftsmanship and is a nod to the company’s founder. Most copycats would not know this, so you wouldn’t find these details on a replica.


The Mechanisms

Designers are artists at heart. They work hard to create furniture that is unique on all fronts, and this is also true for the mechanisms they add to their designs. You can take advantage of this and use your brand knowledge to identify whether or not a piece of furniture you intend to purchase for your client’s home is fake or genuine.

For example, the majority of the Vanguard chests in our collection have a soft-close mechanism built into the drawers. This is a feature that most knock-off versions will not include as it is an expensive mechanism to integrate, and most buyers would not know about it if they did not look into the specifications of the original product.


The Price


Luxury furniture can be expensive because you are paying for the time and experience of industry professionals as well as high-quality materials. We know that your client may be hesitant to spend money on an authentic piece with a high price tag when there are stores selling knock-offs for a significantly cheaper sum, but it is important that you encourage them to invest in their home.

If you are shopping for a specific piece for your client's home online and you find it being sold at a reduced price rather than it being on sale, then this should be an immediate red flag.

For example, if you found an online store selling a luxury Nuevo occasional chair at the rate of $600, it is likely that your client would not receive the original product from Nuevo and instead receive a poorly made copy since the recommended retail price for an occasional chair from this brand is at least double that price.

The best way to check if the price you have seen advertised is accurate is to visit the online shop of the manufacturer of the furniture and check out the price of the product. You could also request a catalog from the manufacturer that lists all of their current products and the prices they are usually sold at.

Most manufacturers also maintain lists of the stores their products are sold at, meaning you can find out if the store you were planning on buying from is a reputable retailer of that brand's products.

Here at Décor House, we make it easy for our customers to find out what brands we carry. Visit our brand's page for more information.


The Material and Finish


Luxury furniture has a luxury feel. So iconic pieces from respected brands are made using high-quality materials to achieve this feeling. This means that you can use the material type to identify luxury furniture as copycats do not take the time to source quality materials for their replicas as they only care about making a fast sale. Instead, they use this time to perfect the design and the look of their copy.

This means you can identify a fake by paying attention to the little details about a piece of furniture. If you are buying an upholstered side chair that is supposedly from the brand Councill, then check to see if the fabric is smooth and nicely tucked with no excess creases or material. If it is not tucked properly, then this is a red flag.

One tip we always give our customers is to check the stitch patterning of upholstered pieces. Even stitches are a sign of quality, while uneven stitchwork tells us that the craftspeople were likely rushed to finish the piece implying that it is not a genuine piece of luxury furniture.

If the color of the fabric is not uniform, then this is another red flag as a luxury piece of furniture would never be allowed out of a warehouse if it did not pass strict branding tests. This is also true for pieces with wooden parts. For instance, the Councill Pamela Side Chair has wooden elements. These elements should have an even finish in color and stain, and the wood should have no visible knots. A sign of true quality, which is rare in knock-off pieces, is a chair's joints. A piece from a luxury brand should have no visible joints.

We always suggest that you visit that manufacturer's website to see the materials listed for the piece you are thinking of purchasing for your client's home. You should compare these materials to what you see on the store's website. If they are not the same, then this is a sign that the piece you are interested in is not a genuine piece of luxury furniture.


The Base

It is easy to overlook the importance of the base, which is why the majority of replicas are exposed by it. More often than not, a fake will have more legs than the authentic piece its design was based on. For example, a luxury dining table may have a single pedestal base, while a fake has two pedestal bases to support a poorly made table top. To the untrained eye, it may seem like the fake is just a different version of the original, so it is important to research the brand before you make a purchase.

It is also common for chair leg caps to be different on the original design to how it was on a replica because the average consumer does not notice these minor changes. So in order to learn how to identify luxury furniture when compared to knock-offs, you must take note of the little details.


The Size


The size of a luxury piece of furniture is usually clearly stated on a store's website so that customers know if the piece would fit in the space they have available. If you cannot find the dimensions of the piece you are looking at easily, then this may mean that the vendor is trying to hide them from you intentionally. This is a sign that the piece of furniture your client would receive would not be a luxury piece of furniture.

You can find the dimensions of any piece of furniture on its brand's website, so if you aren’t sure if the piece you are looking at is fake or not, compare the dimensions to what is stated on the brand's website.

If the piece has arrived at your client's home and it is smaller than you expected, get out your measuring tape and use it to check if the dimensions are the same as what is listed on the brand's website. If they do not match, then return the piece and buy from a different vendor.

We always recommend that you measure the seat height of any chair you receive, as a replica copy is often off by a few inches.

We have the dimensions of all the pieces on our store listed clearly for our customers to see, so visit our website to see what a reliable store looks like.




The final trick you can use to determine if a piece of furniture is luxury is only relevant if you have already purchased the piece for your client's home as it concerns the packaging that the piece arrived in. Most brands take every advertising opportunity available. This includes benefiting from the empty furniture boxes that you leave outside your home on garbage day, so if the piece arrives packed in thin cartons without labels or bar codes, it is likely a fake.


Can You Avoid Fakes All Together?


The best way to avoid fakes is to only buy furniture from a trusted retailer. If you are unsure whether a store you are shopping with carries legitimate products, you should check the product description of the item you are interested in purchasing for your client and compare them against another website and then against the brand's own website. If the details are not the same, then this should be a red flag.

The best way to tell if the store you are buying from is a legitimate retailer is to check their website yourself and look for a list of furniture stores that sell their products. Most brands now feature a ‘Where to Buy’ section on their website to prevent potential customers from being scammed by copy cats. These lists point customers toward venerated furniture stores like us who have connections with the brand and negotiate prices with them to get the best deal for our customers while still charging a fair price so that craftsmen, designers, and salesmen can all make a living.


Brands That Often Have Their Furniture Copied


Even though we have covered a number of ways you can identify if a piece of furniture is truly a luxury piece, we know that it may still be difficult to know what to look out for when furniture is your business. So we have listed some popular furniture brands that have their furniture copied and how you can spot a fake.


Bernhardt Furniture


As one of America’s largest furniture companies, Bernhardt often has its designs stolen by copycats. The brand Candace Collection is one of the most copied on the market today, particularly the collections sofas.

The easiest way to know if a luxury Bernhardt sofa is genuine is to check the quality of the tufting on the inner armrests. Copycats will put more effort into perfecting the tufting on the seatbacks than that of the armrest as seatbacks wear more quickly than the armrest, and a poorly tufted back would uncover the scam. If the seat does not feature tufting, then check the nailhead trim of the piece. If the line is not straight, then this is likely a fake and should be returned for a full refund.


Bethan Grey Furniture


Every designer should have Bethan Grey Furniture on their radar because copycats have this brand on theirs. This brand has almost all of its designs copied, and since this brand is based in the UK, copy cats usually get away with it since most buyers presume that they are buying from the brand's USA-based retailers.

The brand's chests and cabinets are particularly popular with copycats due to their unique look. This is because buyers are less likely to think that an item with such a unique look could be copied. If you think that you have bought a replica rather than a genuine piece of Bethan Grey Furniture, we suggest that you look at the quality of the hinges used on the doors. Genuine hinges are the same color as the legs of most pieces, while fakes are usually made using a flimsy silver hinge that could be found in most hardware stores.


Ceccotti Collezioni Furniture


This popular designer furniture brand is well known for its great artistic pieces and the Tuscan craftsmanship of its furniture. However, most of the pieces that this brand has designed have also been copied.

Several of the brand's signature table designs have been copied by different copycats. But these fakes can be easily recognized when they arrive at the buyer's home since they often look different from the pictures buyers see online since different materials were used to create the replica. For example, the Ceccotti Collezioni Fagiolo Table is often replicated by brands that do not use marble on its lower table top. Instead, they use contact paper to get the same visual effect. There is a clear weight difference in these tables which accounts for the reduced shipping price. These replica tables also often do not have the correct type of glass on their upper table top, meaning that these fakes can actually be unsafe to have in the home.

Truly, it couldn’t be more important to buy genuine luxury furniture for your client's home.

We hope this has taught you how to identify luxury furniture, and more importantly, how to spot a fake.

A piece you love today will be loved by future generations. So always invest in luxury furniture for your client’s home.

If you are looking for luxury furniture for your home, then look no further. We carry a massive collection of authentic pieces of luxury furniture from brands like Caracole, Baker, and Ralph Lauren. Visit our website or our furniture store to see everything we have in stock in one place. There you will find detailed product descriptions of every piece in our collection to help you find furniture that is right for your client’s home.