BIG-BOX STORES: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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Shopping for furniture can be tough. The danger of ordering online is that you can’t physically feel and touch the items. Is it a soft leather? Does the fabric feel cheap? Is this color blue or aqua or slate? For reasons like this people often stick to the big-box stores, which is fine. The challenge is finding something stylish and contemporary at these giant chain stores.

Below is a small sample ‘test’ I did online for three big-box stores; Ashley Furniture, Raymour & Flanigan, and Macy’s. I simply went to their websites and searched for chairs. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly of what I found.

RAYMOUR & FLANIGAN

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The Good: This is a modern wing back chair in a textured gray fabric. The Cassa Chenille Accent Chair is $350, but like many of these large stores you can probably get a discount in person. This chair is great because while it has a modern look to it, it still has the right amount of comfort that many people like in their homes.

 

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 9.57.45 AMThe Bad: Tufted fabric is a classic element, that when used right, can add a little bit of sophistication to your room. This however, is not sophisticated, it’s over-stuffed and under-styled. And worst of all this Maxine Chair is $800. The one thing they got right is the frame. It has sleek modern lines and does not feel too bulky. In fact, the frame is the only thing about this chair that’s NOT bulky. Note the overstuffed cushion as well.

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 9.58.32 AMThe Ugly: At $370 this Caroline Swivel Rocker might be perfect for grandpa, but not for anyone else. In fact, you should not buy this chair or any like it if you are under the age of 75!

 

 

 

ASHLEY FURNITURE

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6220021_KOThe Good: I like orange, for now. I can see this color going out of style in a year or two, and perhaps coming back again. This color was popular in the 60’s, 70’s, and even the 80’s, but had gone out of fashion until recently. Called Verbena Chocolate (price unknown as Ashley does not list costs online) this is a somewhat soft looking formal chair in my opinion. I could see it flanked by a cocktail table or arranged in a pair for a small conversation corner.

2490131_KOThe Bad:  This chair looks like something an Eames chair threw up. It’s just wrong, all of it. Oddly enough this is a very popular design as I see it at many of the big-box stores. Here’s a tip: If you see something at every store, don’t buy it. That means that style has come and gone and is no longer ‘in’.

 

3920044_KOThe Ugly: I think I saw this pattern in a hospital waiting room back in 1991? Sometimes the pattern says it all, and in this case it says burn me.

 

 

 

MACY’S

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Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 10.11.14 AMThe Good: Unlike the pattern we saw in The Ugly from Ashley, this Brie Fabric chair uses a much more pleasing design. The pattern has enough white space in it so as not to overwhelm your sight. The frame has a classic feel with solid arms that are delicate but still substantial. All this will cost you though at $850, but don’t forget your coupon and 10% off for using your Macy’s card!!!

 

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 10.08.54 AMThe Bad: While I like the general color and style of this Asher Leather Recliner, they just missed the mark. It looks like if you sat down on this seat you’d slide right down to the floor. It is hand-rubbed Italian leather, so the quality IS there. Not sure why the chair has to recline either, that really takes away from the aesthetics. Maybe having the chair recline is the only way to keep people from falling off it?

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 10.10.09 AMThe Ugly: Oh Fudge! The Jedd Fabric Power Recliner Chair (who the hell named this?) is a steal at $600. And if you’re lucky maybe someone will steal it from you! The fabric is actually called fudge. I think that’s because this chair looks like a big chunk of fudge! They should rename this chair The Big Chunk.

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