Ordering custom furniture can be intimidating but, if you know what options are available, the piece will look stunning in your home!
Customizing, and not buying stock furniture, is a big investment and can be pricey. This guide will help you in choosing the best choice for you and your family…
Once you determine your style preference, taking exact measurements is an extremely important step in ordering custom furniture. You want to make sure the piece fits in your space, is not too big or small, and coordinates well with other furnishings in the room. One option is to map out the piece you’re considering by placing newspaper on the floor to reflect the dimensions. This will help you determine the appropriateness of size as proportion is critical.
Bring home fabric samples…
This may seem obvious but it’s important to bring home fabric samples. Since ordering a custom piece can be an expensive purchase, it is important to match and coordinate colors and textures with other furniture, paint, and curtains in your room. Sometimes you may not like the manufacturer’s choices and may decide to go with your own fabric found at a different location. Most companies will work with your material (also called “customer’s own material” or “COM”) and will factor it into your quote.
Fabric is important…
From the manufacturers’ fabric to finding your own material, there are many options. Fabrics are usually categorized into “grades” which center on quality and price. Grade A fabrics are typically lower in cost while Grade F is more expensive.
Fabrics can also be classified by “double rubs” which is a term used when rubbing the fabric back and forth to determine the durability. Typically, double rubs are grouped by:
Light (10,000-15,000 rubs)- for lighter use
Moderate or General (15,000-25,000 rubs)- for everyday use
Heavy (25,000-30,000 rubs)- for heavy duty use
It’s best to determine the amount of usage of your custom piece. In our home, with two dogs, I would never choose a material that wasn’t labeled “high-performance.” One type of high performance fabric is called Crypton, which is a highly durable and stain resistant material. I used this for my family room couch since we occasionally eat in the room and the furniture gets high use. I am not saying delicate fabrics cannot be used. If you’re looking to upholster an accent chair for ornamental use a thinner, low-rub, linen may be appropriate.
Also consider the amount of sun exposure your piece will get. If your furniture will be placed in direct sunlight, a sun-resistant or Sunbrella fabric may be necessary.
Decide on cushion filling…
Once you determine the amount of usage, the next step is to decide on cushion filling. There are many types, from down feather-filled to foam, and your consultant will go over your options.
Foam-filled cushions will generally be lower in price where down-filled is more expensive. In our family room, I decided to go with down cushions because I wanted a softer, more comfortable seat to read and watch TV. Please note that down-filled tends to look more informal and you will need to regularly fluff the cushions. In our living room, I decided to go with a combination of foam with down feathers. This gives a more formal appearance as the cushions will better keep their shape while the down creates a softer seat.
Please note that a recent law has been enacted to ban toxic flame retardants in foam cushions.
Ask for a cutting of the actual fabric…
It is possible that the fabric samples from the showroom have been there for awhile. This could create a variation in the color. In other words, a truly white fabric could look more on the ivory side if it’s an older sample. To prevent disparity in color, request a cutting from the fabric bolt that will be used to create your custom piece. You will be assured that the dye lot is consistent with the sample and will coordinate with your room décor.
Consider a warrantee or protection plan…
Many companies will offer a warrantee or protection plan to guard against accidental damage. Since you are making an investment in your custom furniture, this may be an appropriate option for you. Make sure to read the fine print as coverage can vary and may not be suitable for you and your family.
Understand it will take time…
Right now, many fabrics are imported from other parts of the world so timing can be held up based on shipping complications from the pandemic. Don’t be surprised if it takes several months to get your custom piece so factor that in when ordering but, trust me, it will be worth it!
Enjoy your custom furniture! If you are looking for more home ideas, take a look at easy design tricks to totally change the look of your home… happy decorating!