You've heard this advice about furniture before, and it's still true. Look for serious, high-quality construction, solid wood and steel bases, drawers that glide, and chairs that don't wobble. Particleboard may be affordable, but it won't hold up as well as solid oak. Check the upholstery; seams should be straight, and patterns lined up. It helps to find a furniture store that has a good reputation among friends and family.
Regarding prices-markdowns are great, but be careful when scouting for bargains. If you sacrifice quality for a lower cost, you may wind up buying twice. Think of your furniture as a lifelong possession. A fine sofa or dining table can always be recovered or refinished when styles or preferences change.