Custom vs. Store Bought Furniture

Posted by Abby Nurnberger on

Part of owning and operating a fabric store with an upholstery drapery workroom is submitting to the fact that your life revolves around custom furniture. One of the most common questions I’ve been asked by customers over the last 20 years is “why should I pay more money to have something built/restored for me when I can buy it in [insert furniture conglomerate here] for cheap”!? Obviously supporting small business and domestic manufacturing is beneficial, but most people tend to overlook a couple huge advantages of custom furniture. First, custom furniture is just that: custom. It can be made to fit the exact measurements of your space. The moment I realized that confining yourself to whatever furniture colors and sizes are in stock at the local IKEA could be avoided was liberating. Designing rooms that will be used every single day for years does not have to be a process done in 5 minutes. In short, custom furniture is fundamental in ensuring that YOU design the space, and the space does not design itself. A lesser-known, but extremely important advantage of custom furniture versus store-bought is safety. Quality furniture uses a hardwood frame devoid of knots, while cheap manufacturers may opt to use plywood or particle board to cut costs. Another sign of substandard furniture can be found in the dowelling. Chinese furniture makers are notorious for using stapled dowelled joints, while superior craftsmen construct them by hand. In addition, cheaper foam and legs that are separate from the frame also bring down the overall quality of Chinese furniture. Essentially, the debate between custom and store-bought can be boiled down to 2 questions – “Do you care what the interior of your home looks like?” and “Does the integrity of your furniture matter to you?”. If you answered yes to any of these two questions, then I would strongly consider buying custom the next time you go looking for furniture.

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