We need to move on from only shopping at the local mall for your furniture.
Over the years, when working with clients who are new to working with a designer, they’ll say, “I love the look of Restoration Hardware/Pottery Barn/Crate n Barrel/Z Gallerie/whatever the current hot mall store is.” I instantly get a little deflated when I hear this, and need to remind myself it’s just their lack of knowledge - there are other options to choose from. Selecting a piece or two at one of these stores isn't a problem, but walking out of the store with an entire house full of furniture as if you walked in and bought the whole set and plugged it into your house is very unoriginal and doesn’t speak to who you are as a person. Besides this, there are a few other reasons why you may want to reconsider always running to the mall first when you need new furnishings.
The quality isn’t what it appears for the price you are paying. I had a client last year who had purchased a sofa from one of the stores above (I won’t say which one), and a year later it looked like it was 20 years old. In fact, I tried to help resolve his issue by having all the insert cushions replaced, but in the end it wasn’t worth it. They did have a large family so it would get wear, but he had paid $10,000.00 for his leather sectional and it looked like he had paid maybe $1,200.00. All furniture ranges in quality, and a big portion of upholstered furniture is how the inside is made. The cushions, coils, and wood that supports the sofa all make a big difference to how it will hold up. I’ve seen many furniture vendors do an awesome job with the design from the outside, but the quality on the inside is sacrificed. A quality sofa is 8 way hand tied, has a webbing back and made of solid wood. I can guarantee by the way this sofa was wearing, it did not have the quality construction a $10,000 sofa should.
Also, you're not really saving big even if it’s on sale. Those furniture box stores have to mark up their products quite a bit to pay for those beautiful showrooms in those expensive malls. Also, they have to pay for all those nice glossy catalogs piling up in your mailbox. So when they advertise they are on sale, is it really? Some companies mark up 3 times their cost - when it’s on sale this is calculated into the equation as a marketing tool to get you to buy. I realize that they have to profit as every business does, but when you see it’s on sale for that weekend, don't just rush out and buy it before the sale ends. It doesn’t mean you are getting that $10,000 sofa for $8,900.00 when it’s not even worth the sale price.
You have a limited number of fabric options and colors at the retail box stores. These furniture stores will have a few options, but when you plan on purchasing a sofa or other furniture you’ll have for 10 years plus, a few options may not have the right color ways or tones to match your walls, carpets or other furnishings. Having the wrong color may throw off the look in the space you are trying to achieve and you may not realize later why it doesn’t feel right. Comparatively speaking, in my design studio, I have fabric books of with 75 tones of greys only. This applies with every color - reds, blues, browns, you name it, I've got it. In a box furniture store, you’ll most likely have one main color option. You'd have to get really lucky for that one option to be the precise color tone for your space.
If you already have your house full of Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn furniture, don’t feel bad. Again, some select pieces are fine, but mixing them up is key to good design. Moving forward, be aware of the quality versus the price you are paying and also the color options, wood options, etc. you will have when shopping.
As a designer, I like to start every room with a space plan first, then fabric selections, rugs, accessories, etc. from several vendors I purchase from direct. This is how a cohesive well-designed space comes into fruition. If this is something you are stuck or overwhelmed with, we are here to help. Call us…916-221-8752.