Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Design off the shelf - the Top 5 Retail companies providing furniture and finishes you can afford (mostly)

If you haven't figured this out by now, I specify and purchase alot of furniture, fixtures, and finishes.  Often we have little time and modest budgets to completely transform a space.  Finding unique furniture and accessories is often a challenge when you are working with tight constraints.  To help out those in similar situations, I have put together a quick guide to the companies that I go to when I need to create a 'wow' factor using off the shelf items that have a bespoke look.  Before I reveal my top five picks, let me qualify the criteria I used to select the best companies.  In my mind, they have to have a diverse product line, offer great quality and value, have a mix of styles, and develop their own pieces.  Some of the more popular names did not meet most of these criteria.  For example, companies like Design Within Reach or Crate and Barrel have some great items but don't often make their own goods or limit their product lines.  They were considered, but in a pinch, I prefer the following five companies:

1- Restoration Hardware - What can I say about Restoration?  They are doing things right with true attention to detail and pieces of amazing character.  Their bath fixtures are works of art at half the price of Waterworks and their reclaimed wood furniture has all the charm of custom pieces.  If you find their running lines pricey, just wait for the sales as they often move out inventory regularly throughout the year.
2- Room and Board - Although they don't have many stores, Room and Board pays great attention to quality and timeless design.  They sell everything from Nelson lamps to Eames furniture and have the best values in sofas that I have seen.  They can custom upholster to your specifications and the prices are very reasonable.   I have personally owned several of their pieces and have never been disappointed.

3- FLOR - Need to change a room in a hurry?  Use paint and FLOR tiles and the transformation is complete.  FLOR has the most incredible range of carpet tiles that are easy to install and can be customized in an endless amount of combinations.  They have tiles ranging from graphic prints (such as Union Jacks and cowhides) to subtle textures to Cable Knit Sweaters.  They also have area rug kits pre-configured in tonal ranges.  Overall, they are a great value and the installation is a breeze. 

4- Mitchell Gold Bob Williams - If you have ever seen 'The Good Wife' on TV, you know that Alicia Flourick has some pretty good taste in decor.  What you might not know is that most of her apartment comes from MGBW.  The company has a wide range of styles and price points most of which are focused on gracious entertaining and family living.  I particularly like their upholstered items including beds and side chairs.  Definitely worth a look.

5- West Elm - Although West Elm is the least expensive company on our list, it certainly is not the least interesting.  With a product line that is constantly evolving and an emphasis on stylish modern decor, this company is definitely one of my favorite.  Not only do they tend to incorporate current trends and eco friendly sourcing into their play book but they always have an inspiring way to look at items that often get taken for granted such as mirrors or shelving.

Although I would never advise that you furnish your home all from a single source, I certainly encourage you to mix and match from reputable companies such as these.  We constantly are referring to these outlets as part of our Room Service package which creates custom designs for clients using off the shelf products ( 

Let me know what you think of these stores as well as any others that might be on your favorites list!


  1. Thanks for sharing Interesting post.
    Great job!! You have a nice blog for mattress. I will be back alot Good luck with all you do!
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  2. Thanks Matt - I appreciate the encouraging words and good luck to you as well!

  3. wow that's a really nice design furniture and finishes very affordable price.thanks sharing kraig.
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