Now that you know from this post all the ways trade furniture is better than retail furniture in terms of the actual pieces themselves (higher quality, longer lasting) and the impact the much greater selection and customization options have to how your rooms can look and feel, let’s talk about the less tangible benefits.
When you’re making big decisions and investing in anything you’re entitled to have a good service experience with product and service providers you can trust. It’s also vital that you know you’re making wise choices with your investment that you won’t regret later.
This probably goes without saying since most of us have been in the position of finally finding a piece that's exactly right for our space in every way. . . except that it's double or triple what we'd planned on spending.
More furniture budgets are blown when the lack of retail options back us into a corner, forcing us to either settle for something that's the right price or spring for something that's more than we should really spend (and of a quality that doesn't even warrant that premium price).
When I'm designing my clients' spaces, we start by developing a realistic budget (you can learn all about that in this post). Because I essentially already know what's available and what the price points are, I can guide my clients to know what's possible in terms of the look and the quality they want for their budget.
Then, once it's time to pick actual pieces, I work the selections into their budget like a puzzle. If it's necessary to spend more on a certain item to make the whole design better, then I can adjust by using other items that are fine at a lower price so we still stay within the overall budget, but end up with a great result.
It's not magic, of course, but it certainly feels like it to the client!
Plus, depending on the designer and the piece, there's a good likelihood you'll actually save money by buying furniture through a designer. Even if you could get the exact same item without the designer (which you can't, especially in terms of customization) the retail price and shipping would be much higher simply because designers are getting volume discounts and most pass a portion of that at the very least along to you.
This is one thing most homeowners don't really think about. When you buy an item from a furniture store or online retailer you haven't bought from before, you don't really know what to expect from them. Is the quality going to be reliably good? And if there's a problem, how will they respond? Will they be in your corner or will you be in for a fight to get them to stand behind their products?
But since designers like me are ordering furniture all the time, we have the chance to actually get to know our vendors. We go to trade shows like High Point Market and visit the showrooms, which means we actually get to touch, inspect and sit on their furniture before we ever recommend it to you.
We meet and talk with the vendor representatives and get a feel for how they treat their customers (us!). Believe me, if they're rude or unresponsive to our calls and emails and/or if it seems like the quality of their products isn't consistently great, we simply don't buy from them.
That in turn protects you from having problematic dealings with them in the lifetime of your furniture.
Not to mention, these companies have some real skin in the game in selling to designers. We do loads of repeat business with the good ones and we warn each other off the bad ones. Having that kind of weight backing up your purchases and ensuring your experience with the vendors is positive is a huge benefit.
And you just can't get that by buying retail furnishings on your own.
Done-for-You Ordering, Tracking & Receiving
Um, seriously - who wants to spend hours upon hours managing every tiny detail of your furniture orders?
Not you! But another hidden bonus of buying trade furnishings through a designer is that you don't have to deal with all of that. The designer (and/or their team) takes care of it.
Here's what they do so you don't have to:
Place the orders (picture hours scouring the orders to be sure every detail is correct, then more hours on the phone and on email actually placing the orders)
Orchestrate and schedule the shipping arrangements
Spend weeks contacting the vendor over and over to track where your items are in the process of being made to be sure nothing falls through the cracks and stalls your orders (because this does and will happen if someone doesn't stay on top of it).
Can you see how vastly different buying trade furnishings is versus retail from every angle?
I hope this sheds some light on how this all works - and why shopping for furniture on your own pretty much stinks.
Save yourself that dreadful ride to the third (or 30th!) furniture store and just call me. I promise you'll actually have fun and end up with a gorgeous room full of furniture!