Quality Furniture Imports vs Made in America - Which is Better?

Posted by Michael Foran on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 @ 11:30 AM
Michael Foran

Find out which is better - quality furniture imports versus made in America.

 

Which is a better way to go? Imports or made in America? This is one of the questions people wrestle with. I have over 35 years experience in the furniture business and I have seen a big shift from most furniture being made in the USA to most furniture being made overseas. The idea of this blog is not to get into why this happened but to give you my opinion of the pros and cons of each.

My experience has always been in quality furniture, so that is what I will discuss in this blog.

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Quality Upholstered Furniture (sofas, chairs, sectionals, benches ....)

This is an area where the United States still comes out on top. Most quality upholstered furniture is special ordered in custom fabrics or leather and it is not economical to send one or two pieces from overseas. There are many quality manufactures making beautiful sofas and chairs in the USA. Most of these manufactures still construct these pieces with hardwood frames and 8 way hand tied construction. 

From what I have seen in upholstered furniture there is a huge quality difference between imports and made in the USA. I suggest you buy your sofas and chairs from a quality United States manufacture.

 

Wood Furniture (Case goods)

Imports

In in the wood or case good category most of the furniture is made overseas in many different countries including; China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Brazil, Italy, Canada and many more. This gives you many more styles to pick from, but you have to be careful with quality. For the most part I think the quality is better in Italy, Vietnam, Philippines and Canada. Italy is famous for beautiful inlays of exotic woods and hand carving. Italy makes expensive beautiful traditional and contemporary furniture. The people of Vietnam and the Philippines are very good at making beautiful furniture at less expensive prices. There is also a good supply of native woods like mahogany.

 High end Italian dining room

This company is in the USA with factories in Italy and other European countries. They make high end furniture hand crafted by highly talented select artisans. 

High end Italian dining room table top

Imported contemporary chest

This well-priced turquoise contemporary chest makes a statement in this client's foyer.

 

Made in the USA

There is not as much furniture made in the United States as there used to be, but some of the factories that are left are offering custom options that you might not get overseas. Some of the manufactures might have 20 different finish options or more. Some you can change hardware or add accent stripping. Some of the companies will make custom sizes. Most of the manufactures I am talking about are small factories making bench-crafted pieces with centuries-old woodworking techniques. These pieces will of course be more expensive than their import counter parts.

Hand crafted coffee table made in USA

I used this custom red painted coffee table in this client's family room. They wanted a large striking coffee table, so I ordered this table in a custom 50" x 50" size. This table is made in the United States by a great company that makes custom bench-made furniture. Each piece they make is a treasure. This company is expensive, but there are other good companies making custom USA bench-made furniture that is less expensive.

Custom finished contemporary coffee table

This contemporary coffee table was custom finished in the USA

Made in the USA dining table

This table is made in the USA and has a hand planed top with a custom finish. It also features a hand forged iron base. The imported chairs are made of mahogany and have leather seats.

High end leather sofa made in USA

High end leather sofa made in the USA with imported tables.

 

Pros and Cons of Wood Furniture

Pros of Imports 

Selection of styles

Many pieces to pick from                            

Lower pricing on most products

 

Cons of Imports

Quality not good from some countries

Delivery can sometimes be a problem

Not as many custom options 

 

 

Pros of Made in the USA

Beautiful hand crafted furniture

Many custom options

Made in the USA

 

 

Cons of Made in the USA

Not as many styles to pick from

Higher prices on most products

Not as many pieces to pick from

 

As you can see, imports and furniture made in the USA can be expensive, but there are a lot of well-priced import options. When a designer is given a budget from a client they must give them the look they want and still stay in the budget.  By mixing in imports and furniture made here, you can get a great look and still stay within your budget.

 

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Topics: high end furniture, Quality furniture