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Where to buy decent quality furniture at reasonable prices?
Old 10-07-2007, 11:01 PM   #1
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Where to buy decent quality furniture at reasonable prices?

We're furnishing a new house, need to buy some basic furniture such as a sofa, entertainment center, china hutch, etc. I don't mind paying for quality construction, but I do mind paying for a brand name. Can anyone advise how to get the best value in this arena? We're shopping in Dallas. Looking for classic styles that won't need to be updated for a while (nothing uber-modern). Appreciate your suggestions.

We looked at Rooms to Go and Ashley furniture, prices are low but I'm skeptical how the pieces will hold up over time.

Department stores generally seem to be a step up. Crate & Barrel seems to occupy similar market space, although slightly more modern design.

Then there are more expensive places like Ethan Allen, but I'm not sure if the higher prices actually indicate better materials/construction or just more marketing.

I like the price/quality equation at Costco and Sam's club, but generally their selection of styles is very limited.

There is also a new chain called "the dump" (The Dump) and they have an eclectic mix of peices in a warehouse setting. But I don't know if this stuff is any good.

How do you tell if you are actually getting quality furniture?
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Old 10-07-2007, 11:13 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by soupcxan View Post
We're furnishing a new house, need to buy some basic furniture such as a sofa, entertainment center, china hutch, etc. I don't mind paying for quality construction, but I do mind paying for a brand name. Can anyone advise how to get the best value in this arena? We're shopping in Dallas. Looking for classic styles that won't need to be updated for a while (nothing uber-modern). Appreciate your suggestions.
How do you tell if you are actually getting quality furniture?
craigslist: dallas / fort worth classifieds for jobs, apartments, personals, for sale, services, community, and events

We've upgraded most of the furniture in our house from the Hawaii Craigslist. Look for phrases like "just paid it off", "moving", "two years old", "redecorating", and so on.

Some feel that the hassle factor of dealing with certain types of Craigslist sellers is far more expensive than paying retail. We've learned to be patient and not to be upset by sequentially meeting a jerk, a clueless drifter, and a liar. By the third or fourth contact you'll find a desperate indebted seller who'll give you a great deal. If you can wait a month or two you'll start hitting your stride, and a year from now you'll still be using Craigslist to upgrade the original bargains.

Best way to see the quality is to look at it, play with it, and sit in it. You can also ask for brand name, model, style, and so forth to look it up on the Internet. But we've found out that color & construction quality are much more important than brand names.

Spouse has learned that most sellers post their stuff in the early afternoon. I've learned that if she gets on the computer around 2 PM and then calls out "Oh, honey!" that the rest of my day is probably going to be spent hauling furniture...
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Old 10-07-2007, 11:38 PM   #3
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IKEA is lots of fun and seems to have some good quality if you like the lines. I used Holton's in NC and ordered top brands for a much reduced price even after the shipping cost. Or, get a trip into the Carolina's and shop & ship!
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Old 10-08-2007, 05:11 AM   #4
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Can't speak for Ethan Allen quality today, but my bedroom set growing up was EA and it looks almost the same now (40 years later). It's still in my mom's house and will go to my sister's kids once mom/sis get their act together and call a mover. It is really heavy and built to last.

For our own furniture we have some early C&B (some say the quality has declined) along with pieces we had made by a guy in Vermont (these are a gorgeous cherry and will last several lifetimes). Stuff we picked up here in Italy at a "moderate" price frankly does not compare even to C&B.

http://www.asleepinthewoods.com/

Some stuff with tips on IDing good construction, with some brand rec.s.
A tale of two sofas Oakland Tribune - Find Articles
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Old 10-08-2007, 06:53 AM   #5
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We just furnished a new house this year and I learned more than I would ever want to know about furniture.

After doing a lot of looking, we passed all of the discount places because of the same concerns you had. We wound up going to a local rep for an Amish community and had them build us a dining room table and chairs in cherry. The quality is unbelievable and the price was right about what a Crate or Room and board would want for the same concept. Total cost was $2800

We did have Room & Board build us a dining room breakfront which we did because they have a system of modular custom builds. Cost $3K

Couches we bought from a local dept store which let us pick the fabric and built from a standard design. Total cost was $2500 I think. It's so comfortable that I'm now back to watching TV

We spent more than we had originally planned, but we decided that quality would serve us better in the long run.
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:45 AM   #6
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I've bought lots of furniture over the years and for reasonable prices and furniture that lasts try Broyhill furniture .You can go to Broyhill.com and it will give you a store in your area .I usually get sick of it before it wears out .
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Old 10-08-2007, 08:00 AM   #7
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I have a rooms to go couch. Cheapest one they sold at $400. Also the only one they had in stock that fit our criteria. Very comfortable, has held up well so far (4 years old). Kid proof - the fabric can be cleaned with water - pen/marker wipes right off, yet cloth fabric is still breathable. I just found out after a recent potty training accident (my daughter's, not mine) that it is also waterproof. Definitely a good value/cost trade off. Maybe double or triple the craigslist price, but it was brand spankin new.
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Old 10-08-2007, 09:46 AM   #8
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For wood (only) furniture, I have had pretty good luck at antique stores. I focus on furniture from the 1920's to 1940's (new enough to be economical, but old enough to be sturdily built from real wood, and pretty).

However, I have to look elsewhere for items like a mattress, sofa, or overstuffed chair, generally speaking. I have a 20-year-old La-Z-Boy sofa that I hate (my ex selected it), but got in my divorce. We had it double scotch-guarded and it still looks great (for what it is), but the recliner mechanism at one end is now irrevocably jammed. I think it has finally "died", thank goodness, so I will not have to move it north to my ER location. The thing weighs a ton. Moral to this story: if you buy a La-Z-boy sofa, make sure you like it.
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:00 AM   #9
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Milo the Magnificent(Pug) artistically decorates any solid wood(like my futon) - so I stick with Target's kit in a box style.

However we have a Nebraska Furniture Mart(think Warren Buffett) not too far north of me in case - me/Milo/The Dog Whisperer finally get on the same page.

heh heh heh
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:08 AM   #10
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If you're looking to furnish your entire house check out Direct Buy.

DirectBuy, The #1 Way To Buy Direct

I've had a membership there for around 4 years and saved a ton of $$ when we bought our place. It might not be the best choice if you just need a few pieces of furniture because the membership dues can be a little pricey. But, it's worth a look.
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:32 AM   #11
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Here is what I learned from my mom who is a world class shopper. Thankfully I didn't pick up her spending habits.

Some stores with supposedly quality furniture also sell poorly built furniture as well and cheaper stores sometimes sell well made furniture. So you need to learn to look at the details before buying. Look at the joints, are they dovetailed or just butted together and glued. Take out the drawers. Look at the tracking mechanism. Is it likely to hold up, wood gliding on wood likely no. Feel the finish over places that you normally won't see. If they took the time to properly sand and finish the underside of trim to the same quality as the facing they probably took the time to watch other details. If you have to look at multiple copies of the same piece to find one that does not have a defect you probably should not buy even the perfect one because that one likely has some defect that you can't see. The store showroom versions of upholstered furniture are often overbuilt and feel sturdier than what would be delivered to you.

Furniture is one of those things where I have to agree with the old folks when they say, 'They don't build them like they used to.' So buying used, antique, or custom/amish built has some appeal.

Thankfully my FIL is a custom furniture maker and I don't have to follow any of those rules. Just keep him supplied with quality wood and he spits out incredible furniture for ~20% of the cost (for us ) of department stores. Unfortunately he doesn't upholster so we will need to go find a sofa soon.
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:45 AM   #12
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I've seen quite a few people travel to High Point, NC, stay over a weekend, and bring their blueprints or house specs to the furniture dealers in High Point. I was there two summers ago to pick up a few pieces for us, but if you had to furnish an entire house, top to bottom, I'm pretty sure you can't beat the deals at High Point even when you factor in delivery and transportation costs. The mark-up on furniture is enormous. Here's the website for one High Point dealer, which takes orders online, as well. Discount Furniture Store at Furnitureland South
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Old 10-08-2007, 12:00 PM   #13
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A Thread from earlier this year
Old 10-08-2007, 04:58 PM   #14
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A Thread from earlier this year

http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...ure-26745.html
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:56 PM   #15
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I love IKEA and Ashley.....my bedroom set from IKEA is 5 years old and still in great shape. I had bought leather couches and tables from Ashley and they are also in great shape (I have visitation rights....a friend of mine bought them when I converted my apartment to a studio). I also have a few pieces that I found on the side of the road and refinished.....an old sowing machine that flips into a table and it still works! I also have a storage table with really cool legs that I stained.
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Old 10-10-2007, 01:16 PM   #16
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I used to sell advertising for years, and some of the reupholsterers told me that ANY furniture made after 1970 was poor quality...unless very pricey (even Ethan Allen is pretty pricey). Another argument FOR refinishing old furniture instead of buying new.
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Old 10-10-2007, 04:25 PM   #17
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I bought an Ethan Allen couch, chair and 2 ottomans in 1981. Yes, it was expensive.

And then I raised a family, so my furniture was well used. I've needed to replace them or recover them for a long time, we had moved to slipcovers which looked horrible but at least they covered the major flaws. Finally, I got fed up and replaced it all with a new couch and loveseat from Lazy Boy. We all love the new stuff, it really makes the old shabby living room look like it belongs in the 2000's rather than the 80's.

But now I can't bring myself to throw away this old worn, faded and thread bare Ethan Allen furniture because I know it's "good stuff". My son took the couch for his recording studio in the basement. So I still have my favorite chair, just no place to put it. Maybe I should look into re-upholstering it, or just save it in the attic and hand it down when a kid moves out.

BTW, we love the new furniture. I bought it specifically for TV watching, which is what we use the living room for. The TV is in the corner so the new couch is at an angle, facing the TV rather than placed in the normal position for conversation. Our house is from 1955 and the focal point of the LR is the fireplace (which we haven't used since the mid-90's) which has always made it hard to watch TV.

I figured if I was going to buy new furniture, I'd buy something decent and practical for how we would use it.
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Old 10-10-2007, 04:33 PM   #18
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I'll second the Craigslist idea. 95% off sale -- you just have to be patient. Much more fun, too.
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