Barely passed the test? Here are some tips on how you can tell the real pieces from replica designer furniture.

1) The price

This is obvious and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Iconic furniture comes at a price, and even if you can find a pre-loved piece, the prices are seldom lower than half the price.

2) The finish

Paying premium price for your furniture means you should expect quality in the finish. There should be no rough edges or poorly glued areas. In addition, some brands will only produce iconic furniture in various colours or finish options (although special editions do exist but the prices for those would also be much higher). So do your research and always double-check if you spot a piece that comes in an unusual shade or colour. In 2011 Herman Miller released an all-black (including the metallic frame) Eames lounge chair for the Japanese market. Only 100 pieces were created and sold at their stores in Tokyo, so while it may not be a common edition seeing one around may not mean it’s a fake either.

3) Seals, markings, labels

Chairs, such as the Wishbone chair, usually come with a label on the underside stating the brand and the serial number. So try looking for such signs when you are inspecting a designer piece. Of course, some furniture pieces don’t come with such seals or if they are second-hand, their labels might have fallen out over time.

4) The joinery

Especially true for wooden furniture, premium designer furniture often relies on the use of dowel joints, which are more time consuming and take more effort to create. Replica pieces tend to bring the various elements together with staples, glue or nails. For example, with the Wishbone chair the curved back support is made from a single piece of wood that’s been steam-bent so finding one with a back support that has a joint in the middle would be a telltale sign that it’s not authentic.

5) The proportion/dimensions

One of the biggest giveaways with ‘inspired’ or replica pieces is the slight difference in its proportions. It may be a slightly narrower seating area or a more slanted backrest. Of course, this also means you would need to have seen the actual design before in order to really tell the difference.

Here are some other ways you can find out more about designer furniture: