by

Aaron Wong

2021-03-01

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Why I wouldn't buy a Crate & Barrel sofa

The thought of splurging on a sofa from Crate & Barrel has honestly never crossed my mind. With the amount of money it costs to buy one of their sofas, you could instead bring home 4 sofas from your closest IKEA.

I’m no math whizz but four sofas definitely seems more worth it than one. As a die-hard IKEA fan, it begs the question why anyone would make this trade-off.

To make matters worse, trying to figure out why stuff from Crate & Barrel is so expensive, or if the prices are in any way justified will leave you even more confused. There’s a whole mixed bag of opinions on the brand with some swearing by it and others who would rather shop anywhere else. 

In the first place, if Crate & Barrel was any good, why are we seeing such conflicting ratings among review sites?

Questions, questions, questions. But one thing for certain is that it wouldn’t fill a review-researching shopper with confidence in their products.

If you’re asking yourself the same boatload of questions, stay tuned. Today, I’m here to get to the bottom of this and figure out if the sofas from Crate & Barrel are worth it. Hopefully you’ll be able to decide if this is the right sofa brand for you by the end of it all.

To begin, let’s start by talking about the number one factor when it comes to buying a sofa.

Price

That’s some powerful language
Source: PostGradProblems

Let’s face it, price is the first thing shoppers look at when choosing possible candidates for their next sofa. Unless you’re part of the Gold Coast elite that is – which I’m not.

There are many opinions on how much is “expensive” for a sofa, but one thing nobody will say about Crate & Barrel is that they are an affordable option. 

For those who haven’t checked, getting your hands on any one of their most popular sofas is an easy way to set yourself back two thousand dollars:

Remember that these are just the base prices. Selecting different fabrics or a bigger couch size will quickly pile up upon that bill. Also, god forbid you’re looking for a leather sofa which will add an additional $2500 minimum to the final price.

Taking IKEA sofas as our standard unit of measurement when comparing costs… well that’s a lot of IKEA sofas.

Needless to say for someone who is still in his 20s, that would be way out of my current budget for a sofa. But if we’re talking about a couple of years down the line then maybe?

After all, Crate & Barrel is generally regarded as a “grown-up” brand for those settled in their home. 

I’ve taken the liberty to visually show where they stand on the sofa price spectrum with this flowchart:

IKEA, Ashley, Target → Rivet, Article → Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Room & Board → Restoration Hardware, Herman Miller, Design Within Reach.

As the chart clearly demonstrates, while Crate & Barrel may not be the Ferrari of sofas, they are still pretty up there – maybe they can be compared to the BMWs. So, given how un-budget-friendly their sofas are, they surely must have the goods to back it up right? 

Thankfully, the good news is they do!

Quality

What can I say? When it comes to sofas made right, Crate & Barrel does it better than most. I truly believe that after days of sofa research.

Whether their sofas are made up to snuff for something worth nearly $2000 is another story, but it can’t be denied that they are built to last. You couldn’t say the same for several of the other sofa brands that fall in the same price range. I’m looking at you West Elm.

If you suddenly entered a sofa-killing frenzy to wipe any traces of a Crate & Barrel sofa off the face of the Earth, you’d be at it for quite some time.

Even when considering that each of their models are made very differently (they are in fact private labeled), most of them have impeccable construction. This is especially true for their sofas built in America – North Carolina to be specific.

Among their most popular models, the Lounge II, Axis II, Gather, and Petrie check these boxes (at least they do in CB America). The Willow and Barrett sofas… not so much, but there also haven’t been any resounding complaints about them.

Image Credit : Crate & Barrel

Not to say that “made in America” is the end all be all of sofas, but in all seriousness nobody makes sofas like North Carolina craftsmen (it’s known as the furniture capital of the world for a reason). 

A dissection of one of these meticulously built sofas will show you that they mean business. Kiln dried hardwood frames, joints that are glued and screwed, high quality springs in the cushions to prevent sagging. The Works.

Of all the things that could send a sofa to an untimely death, the couch fabric wearing out would be the most likely culprit in this case. Even then some of their sofa models come slipcovered and can be revived with one of their replaceable slipcovers (like the Lounge II petite).

If Crate & Barrel doesn’t offer replacement slipcovers for the model you’re looking at, you can also get bespoke covers for their sofa models from third parties. With Crate & Barrel being what they are, this would also save you a pretty penny compared to their original covers. 

Basically, their couches last a long time (go for the ones made in North Carolina).

Credibility

If only the process of buying a couch was as simple as just “buying the couch”. Reputation, customer service and post-sales support matter and it pays to think about these things before running into issues. 

I mean, why else would anyone be paying two thousand dollars for a sofa? Sure, the quality on their sofas is great but they aren’t the only ones who play at that game either.

Once upon a time (which wasn’t very long ago), if you read through the reviews it is clear that Crate & Barrel had a rather solid reputation. Unfortunately as of recent, it’s been looking like this:

It’s incredible how un-credible recent reviews are making them out to be! The recurring theme seems to be down to supply chain issues and massive delays which is not particularly shocking given what’s been going on in the world.

Either way, people aren’t happy right now which should make it clear that it’s not the best of times to order a sofa from them. Hopefully they can bounce back from this in the near-future without cutting costs on their sofa quality.

Yay Or Nay?

If it wasn’t already obvious from the title of this blogpost, I wouldn’t get a sofa from Crate & Barrel. The thing is, I think that their sofas are a little too highly priced even on their best days.

If given the choice (and budget), I would prefer to get my sofa from Room & Board who have well-made couches on top of an unsurpassed reputation when it comes to customer service. Or I’d get a fancy leather sofa from Article who make wonderful leather sofas.

But! If you’ve got an eye on one of Crate & Barrel’s sofa offerings, then I say: go for it. Yes, their sofas are expensive but there’s always more to a sofa than price and quality.

At the end of the day, no amount of analysis will tell you how it’s like to sink into the sofa after a hard day’s work, pasta in hand as you curl up to watch the latest season of your favourite Netflix series. 

As it has always been, sitting on a couch is the only way to know whether it’s the couch for you, and with Crate & Barrel you can do that by visiting one of their showrooms. It’s a huge plus point to know that you love how the sofa feels before spending a bomb.

So I say if the quality holds up and you found a model that you like (and you can afford it), why not?


Pro tip: If you’re ever looking for slipcovers for Crate & Barrel sofas, you can get them bespoke made at Comfort Works. 

Crate & Barrel Bloomsbury Sofa in Comfort Works Linen Covers

Whether it’s to change things up, protect the sofa, extend its life, or simply because you want an easier time maintaining the couch with machine washable fabrics – we’ve got you covered! That’s even for their couch models that didn’t originally come slipcovered.

Want to find out which of their sofas we make slipcovers for? Give us a visit on our main website:

DISCOVER BESPOKE CRATE & BARREL SLIPCOVERS