Furniture Shopping: In Person!

This is purposely in time for the weekend, though this weekend in Chicago, it might be too nice to be in stores...But start thinking - if you want this for Turkey Day, remember it can take 16 weeks for deliveries!

And summer is time for furniture sales.



As promised, another part of my "series"!  For what I call "the big stuff" here is my primer/outline for where/what:

*Furniture stores like Pottery Barn, West End, Room and Board, Crate & Barrel, Z Gallerie, Jennifer Convertibles (and OTHERS) who are all over the US carry their "own line".  Land of Nod (Crate & Barrel owned) and Pottery Barn Kids fit in here.  They often (not always) carry furniture to put their own labels on, and these are often not designed just for them.  Most of the furniture is made by big companies--some overseas--to be sold to various branded chains (like these).  They can be set up to add their own touches, and they perhaps offer exclusive fabrics and/or wood finishes.  CB2 and Ikea largely fit in here, but their furniture tends to be in their unique look & contemporary.  Of course, IKEA is worldwide, I love it, and the creator is one of the wealthiest people on earth.

* Department stores like: Macy's, Bloomingdales (always famous for their forward design "back in the day"), Sears, Penney's and Carson's carry some lines like those above.  Some companies like Carson's and Bloomie's have separate stores to carry other "store lines" (later).  Some carry a few manufacturers I use at the Mart as well.

* Furniture stores: W. E. Smithe, Lazy Boy, Dania, Thomasville are chain stores that carry their own line and other "furniture store" items.

*Higher end store/showrooms that are "on the street" but might work with Designers:  Ligne Rosset, Orange Skin, Modulo, Luminaire, Design within Reach, Montauk.  More of "a look" and I am sure there are plenty more stores. ..River North is a great area for these shops.

*Neighborhood-y stores like Roy's.  Good reputation, retail source.

Where to go?  Wherever you want, depending on whether you are buying "for now" or "forever".  Pretty much, you will get what you pay for, as the saying goes, so if it doesn't cost much, well, then....Believe it or not, these places (not the European ones, most likely) also buy fabric from the same mills, so they might look and BE the same!  These mills sell to Designer lines, too!

Any and all of these places are direct to the consumer and a few discount "to the trade".

Lots of years ago there were more and different retail stores.   The American Furniture Mart (now condos) plus the "closed floors" of the Merchandise Mart sold to stores, pretty exclusively.  Some of these lines were available to Designers like me, but not often...the mid-range market was pretty much only retail.  Dealers might sell requested lines or items at a discounted price to Designers so we could accommodate our clients.  Now, these manufacturers are not really shown to a wholesale market in Chicago and have their big reveals at High Point, NC.  These lines were at Marshall Fields, etc., and are now at some of the stores above.  Thomasville opened its own retail business. 

These items were the mid-range products that are now at Pottery Barn, et al.

Many stores have in-store decorators to help you coordinate your choices, materials, sizes, plans, etc.  They are trained to understand what they sell.  That's great!  Take advantage of it, but don't be too persuaded... think on the choices if you need to and go back again.

Remember that only you can determine what a bargain is for you, and remember how long some of these items can take to be delivered.  Check out their warranties, delivery costs and policies, and who pays that incoming freight. 

Next time:  Either "to the trade" shopping or the fun shopping (for me, anyway:  outlets, accessories and art, plus more about online stuff)

Crate and Barrel photo: photo ©Jen McCabe   Thank You!!

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