How To Get The Best Quality Furniture For Your Residence Halls

In Blog, Purchasing and Value by Morgan Dix

How do you define value when it comes to residence hall furniture? Is it quality? Is it price? Because, in the end, we all want to get the best quality furniture possible.

The truth is, not everyone agrees on how to assess value.

For some, it’s the latest design. Others emphasize durability, craftsmanship, flexibility, sustainability, or customer service when they’re selecting a partner vendor.

Obviously, you have to define your value criteria for yourself when you choose the best quality furniture for your residence hall. And I’m not attempting to do this now.

But if you’d like to learn more about best practices, we highlighted an excellent example of Penn State University’s Best Value Process here.

All that Glitters Is Not Gold

What I want to share with you today is another perspective on value. It has to do with the materials we use in our furniture, and I want to highlight some features you may not notice on your own.

Allow me to invoke that familiar proverb: all that glitters is not gold.

Sometimes you have to look beyond the lustrous surface of a piece of furniture to really see the value in it. Most of the established companies in our industry should be able to deliver an attractive exterior.

But examining the inside of the furniture can give you a truer and more accurate perspective on the real value of the piece.

Our vertically integrated manufacturing process affords us some unique advantages when it comes to engineering the inside of our furniture.


In essence, we build furniture with a shockingly long life-cycle because we can include the highest quality materials in our standard offering for the best possible price.

Here’s what I mean and this is how it gets you the best quality furniture for your money.

1. Internal Construction

Let’s take a look at the internal construction. This is the bones of the furniture and what makes it last for generations.

At DCI, we use solid northern grown hardwood rails at every drawer level. There is no skimping here.

The frame is substantial.

We’re able to do this competitively because the wood in our framing is a byproduct of our manufacturing process. What does that mean?

In essence the wood we use on the inside comes from the wood we use to make panels for the outside. Compare that to companies that purchase components and use minimal framing or inferior materials.

That approach not only compromises sustainability, it affects the long-term lifecycle of the furniture. DCI is the only manufacturer in our industry using hardwood Maple, Oak, and Ash for internal components.

Better material, lower cost, zero waste, and least possible carbon footprint.  Now that is a win-win. You get the best quality furniture without compromising on sustainability.

2. Hidden Components

Another way we maximize value while reducing cost is by processing all our own plywood.

When you consider materials quality on these parts that are not seen from the outside, many companies use hardboard, melamine, and masonite for case backs, drawer bottoms, and sometimes even drawer sides.

Instead, we use 7-ply hardwood plywood for these select components.

We’re able to do this competitively because we process and cut all our plywood with state of the art machinery. This allows us to get full yield out of the entire sheet of plywood. It actually costs us less to make it better!

Using this high quality hardwood plywood significantly increases the longevity of the furniture.

3. Solid Hardwood

Some of our partners want the highest standard, so in addition to our standard solid wood sides and drawer fronts, we offer them optional solid wood drawer components and solid wood case tops.

Of course you can’t beat the beauty and long-lasting pedigree of solid hardwood. But the value doesn’t stop there. You also get the highest level of sustainability by minimizing adhesives and plastic laminates.

This increases cost, but because we are vertically integrated, you pay a fraction of the price for this product compared to companies who outsource their raw materials to deliver a product of this value.

4.  Reclaimed Materials

Our experience and state of the art equipment enable us to process wood from forest to finished product. This has even greater advantages than you may realize.

Most importantly, it allows us to recycle and utilize reclaimed wood. This is a huge advantage for customers looking to maximize sustainability and earn LEED credits.

You can read more about our up-cycling here.

There’s More to Value than Meets the Eye

So when you think about buying the best quality furniture for you residence hall, remember that the best is not cheapest. The truth is, no other company can offer you the quality we can at the same prices.

That’s the magic in our vertical integration process, and why we built our company around that model.

To be completely honest with you, business experts have told us that our approach is not the most profitable.

But for us it’s about more than profitability alone. We have local employees who have worked with us for 37 years. Sometimes three generations of the same family work in our organization.

Keeping our workers productive and our factory updated with the most advanced equipment is a price we’re willing to pay to stay true to our holistic vision and values.

I encourage you to come and see for yourself. I guarantee, once you see our operation in action, you won’t want anything else.