Towards the end of last year, there was an interesting and somewhat controversial topic discussed in my Interior Design Facebook Group. It was primarily about the furniture industry and how the quality of items can vary drastically between retail stores and brands purchased exclusively through interior designers.

In the specific post, the writer referenced great brands like Palecek and Noir Furniture which can only be purchased through an interior designer. From the sounds of it, they had attended High Point and seen some fantastic pieces which had a great quality to match, but couldn’t purchase directly from the brand because they were to the trade only. Why is that?

What’s the deal with furniture either being so cheap or so expensive? And is it bad to purchase through an interior designer?

In today’s article, I aim to take the confusion out of this topic and explain the advantages of purchasing through an interior designer or design firm.


Furniture Secrets – Revealed

Many higher-end furniture companies focus on what they are good at. They delegate complex customizations and order placement to interior designers. Many of these furniture companies that are featured at High Point are high-end and custom, which can become very intricate. There are hundreds of options for many of the pieces you see at High Point, and the interior designer is working through each of those to provide the best solution for your needs.

It is very similar to how car manufacturers sell cars – through dealers who handle the customer service aspect and work with the consumer to make sure the order is what the customer needs. Many furniture companies require a Purchase Order with specific coding that is different for each vendor. Manufacturers would need to hire full-time staff to manage this, so instead, they handle the sales through an outside sales team – retail stores or interior designers.

With trade-only brands, everything can be customized to suit the needs of the consumer. However, retail stores (think Crate and Barrel, West Elm, etc) are producing higher quantities based on streamlined fabric and finish options that have mass appeal. They are unable to customize for every single person. This is why you can purchase a new sofa and have it delivered within a few months – they are being mass-produced. With higher-end furniture and custom items, if everyone was purchasing this way then you would be waiting over 2 years for it due to the complexity and intricacy of the item.

Have you ever been worried about whether a piece of furniture will fit your space correctly? Or be well-proportioned with the rest of the room? This is just one of the many aspects an interior designer considers when choosing furniture for their clients!


Why Purchase Through An Interior Designer


When you set out to purchase a high-end piece of furniture, you aren’t just buying the furniture itself. You are likely to be given exceptional advice from the interior designer that is tailored to you, your family, and your space. If you were to buy through a retail store you wouldn’t be given that sort of service, detail, or care.

A design firm or interior designer is more invested in the project, making it both an enjoyable and fulfilling experience for the homeowner.

Aside from the detailed aspect of working with a designer, we often arrange the inspection, freight, and delivery (and storage if needed) of the furniture. We take the stress out of the equation!

If you are considering new furniture by purchasing through an interior designer, make sure you choose one that works in a way that you are comfortable with. Some interior designers have project requirements while others have more flexible working arrangements. 

Always check whether an interior designer can handle the inspection, freight, and delivery of the new furniture. This can often alleviate a lot of the stress associated with organizing new furniture!


Supporting A Small Business


A small business, like a design firm or interior designer, has a ton more riding on a satisfactory outcome, as opposed to a big box store. They are more invested in the transaction and will ensure a better customer experience throughout.

In addition to this, they also have dedicated manufacturer support who want them to succeed and want their clients to be happy. This whole business structure actually works for the end user’s best interest.