We cannot emphasize enough the value of choosing luxury furniture for the home. Most people understand the many reasons behind the decision to invest in superior home decor. Iconic pieces of designer furniture are products of unique artistic vision that are defined by a high level of craftsmanship and innovation and are produced from top-quality, long-lasting materials that stand the test of time without losing their beauty and quality.
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For instance, the Arne Jacobsen Series 7 Chair, the Charles and Ray Eames Eiffel chair and the modern-day Le Corbusier chaise lounges are more than half a century old but looking at them today, one can imagine they will look just as relevant in the next 40 years.
Many discerning families invest in luxury furniture and other items for the home and pass them down through generations. However, because of the apparent value of these items – both present and future, they are often copied resulting in the production of replicas. Many times, a successful design is closely imitated and sold as the real deal for less, ending up in the hands of unsuspecting buyers who can’t tell the difference.
Because of the great popularity these wonderful luxurious pieces portray, their replicas and fakes can be produced anywhere across the globe, including countries like China and other Asian and European countries. So how do you know if the luxury couch you are about to spend a fortune on is not fake?
In this article we will cover some factors to help you distinguish original from a replica. The article will also feature some great designer furniture brands whose pieces are regularly copied and how you can spot the original from the fake.
You Will Always Get What You Pay For
Before we look into ways to differentiate an original from a fake, let’s quickly see some important reasons why an original production will always be the best. Remember that you will always get what you pay for. The benefits of getting a genuine and original piece far outweigh the disappointment you will get over time from buying a replica. When you opt for the original:
- You can comfortably and safely use the piece knowing fully well that each product is designed to the quality and exacting specifications intended by the designer and brand that produced it.
- They are more comfortable than the replica. While the replica loses its comfort with time because of inferior production techniques and materials, an original will continue to provide comfort for years.
- You will continue to enjoy your modern masterpiece while it retains value for many years.
- Each product will have a lifespan that will likely be 3 times that of a replica, which literately amounts to a lesser cost in the end.
- They improve the value of your home and thus improve the overall market value of your property.
- In some cases where there is an issue, most original luxury pieces come with years of warranty to further reinforce your confidence in the product.
Simple Tips to Help Tell Fake Furniture from the Original
#1: Check for Labels and Marks
This is straight forward and obviously one of the easiest ways to validate if your piece is authentic or fake. Check for a sticker glued on the base of the furniture, a mark stamped on the leather, or a tag attached to the fabric.
However, you need to know that labels do change over time. For instance, an Egg chair that was produced by Fritz Hansen between 2006 and 2010 has a red tag, but the ones made after 2010 now have a brown tag. Original copies of those models also feature a fire-retardant form, which means you are likely going to find a fire label too; which you won’t find on a replica.
Sometimes you may not be able to find a label or mark on your piece because it has been removed or fallen off. In that case, look for a serial number, the name of the company, or the country of origin e.g “Made in Denmark” engraved into the wood or metal.
#2: Check the Materials and Finishing Touches
Obviously, a real iconic piece is all about high-quality material, proper proportions, and superb finishing. This makes all the difference in the durability of the furniture. But people who copied the original piece and produced the fake don’t have the time to source for quality materials. They are only after the design and the look. They only want to make a fast sale and so their production processes are not as meticulous. Touch and feel the quality of the materials used for your furniture, and make sure you pay attention to details.
Check to be sure the leather or fabric is uniform, smooth and nicely tucked with no excess creases or material. It should also be evenly stitched – usually by hand which adds to the unique beauty of the luxury furniture.
A paper cord seat needs to be uniform and tightly weaved. If you are getting a Wishbone chair and you noticed it’s made with nylon or other synthetic material, you know it’s fake. Wooden parts should come with an even finish in color and also with no knots. If you are buying an original design from a top brand, your furniture should have not visible joins.
When it comes to mechanisms, some designer furniture has some uniqueness that makes them stand out. You can take advantage of that to check if your furniture is fake or genuine. For instance, an Egg chair has a handle by its side that adjusts the tension for reclining (for the models that can recline because not all models can do that). This is a feature that most replicas don’t have because it is quite an expensive mechanism to integrate.
Also, in other furniture like the original swivel chair also has a very smooth rotation at 360 degrees. This is usually lacking in most fake products.
#4: What is the Cost?
This is a very important pointer to show if your high-end furniture is fake or not. If you found a store online selling Wishbone chair, for instance, at the rate of $300, you may not be getting the original product in the end. That price is too good to be true, isn’t it? The recommended retail price for an iconic design of a Wishbone chair is at least double of that amount because its real luxury furniture.
Many authentic pieces carry a high price tag, and this could be jaw-dropping sometimes. So when you have a store offering you such product for a far lesser amount, that should be a red flag that you are about to buy a fake.
One thing you can do to check this is to look at the online shop of the manufacturer of the furniture and check out the price of the product. You can also try to get a reputed retailer that can sell the original product to you.
#5: Check the Base and Feet
Sometimes, replicas have more legs than the authentic real deal. Also, the disc or chair leg caps of a replica is often different from how the original design was created indicating that its not real luxury furniture created by notable designers.
#6: Check the Dimensions and Proportions
Don’t fret, you can easily get dimensions on the manufacturer’s website, so when in doubt if the furniture you’re about to buy is fake or not, get out your measuring tape and check if the dimensions are correct. If they don’t match, it’s a sign that something is not right. Also, the seat height of a replica copy is often off, too. Check out the shape too to see if it is even or looks poorly constructed.
#8: Check Your Conscience
There is no question about this, whenever you about to buy fake luxury, your conscience will surely prick you because of some red flags that must have occurred along the line. It may be the ridiculously low price, the structure and quality of the product, and much more. Your conscience will always tell you this is a knock off.
Knock offs don’t pay royalty to the original designer, and so don’t produce furniture according to the designer’s specifications and standards. So go with a clear conscience and get the real deal. Make the investment that you think it’s worth the piece and take note of the red flags that its not luxury furniture.
Some Brands with the Most Copied Furniture Pieces and How You Can Spot the Replicas
Here are some popular brands of furniture that was copied as well as how you can spot the fake in case you come across one.
Kartell’s Louis Ghost chair and Victoria Ghost
Kartell is a popular designer furniture brand that is well known for its great artistic pieces. However, most pieces of this brand have also been copied. A popular example of these pieces is their Louis Ghost chair and Victoria Ghost chair.
How can you spot a fake?
Every original Kartell collection furniture piece carries an embossed mark on it, which bears the brand name, product name, and designer name. A single mold technology was employed in the making of the full polycarbonate furniture pieces; therefore, each piece is stable and durable while also being weather and shock resistant despite its crystalline and evanescent appearance.
When you see an original piece of Kartell chair, it flexes according to the movement of the user when they sit on it. But a replica, with its poor quality cannot do this adjustment. They only sit rock solid without movement.
Palliser’s Othello Accent Chair and Their Chair
How to spot the fake
It’s quite easy to detect the fake of these pieces. The original pieces are made from high-quality material, proper proportions coupled with superior finishing.
On the other hand, people who copy are not really after how they are produced. All they want is to produce a piece according to the design and look. What determines the durability of a piece is the way it is produced. It requires some effort and time to source the best material and build a furniture piece that exactly matches the designer’s specifications.
But because the companies that copy originals are only after making a fast sale their production process not as meticulous.
Tom Dixon Beat Lights
How to spot the fake
To distinguish the original Tom Dixon beat lights from the fake, pay attention to the design. Each piece of Tom Dixon’s piece is beaten and spun by hand by skilled craftsmen in Northern India. While the originals have perfectly uniform circles in the inside, the replicas have smooth interiors. So when you are considering buying a Tom Dixon light, make sure you check the interior design before you make a commitment.
Knoll’s Barcelona Chair
How to spot the fake
There are lots of ways you can identify a fake copy of Knoll’s pieces. First is to check the logo and the special seal. Knoll designer chairs have serial numbers that shows that they are originals. Another dead giveaway is the packaging. If you have the products packed in thin cartons without labels or bar codes, it may be a sign that the piece has come from a low-classed company.
Another difference between an original and fake piece of Knoll’s furniture is also the upholstery. The upholstery often used in replicas is of a lower quality than what is used in the originals. The stitching on the original piece is also very consistent compared to that of the replicas, which are usually machine-made instead of hand-crafted. Overall, the replica will also start to give way after a short time because of its low quality materials.
A great example of this kind of designer furniture workmanship is detailed in this article on Minotti Furniture.