I was presenting a room design plan to a client couple the other day, and as I began discussing furniture prices, the clients looks utterly amazed, particularly in regard to the sofa. “What’s the difference?” they asked. “Why is this one so much higher than the other?” It is true, on the surface they looked almost identical. The fabrics were virtually the same in texture and color. So what is it that makes such a difference in price in home furnishings?
Materials, construction, labor, fuel, all of these elements are responsible. Does the wood frame come from sustainable sources or from deforested rain forests? Is the piece made on an assembly line in China at very low rates of pay and volume high or is it made by hand and stamped on the bottom by the artisan? Is it shipped across the world, the United States, or locally? Is the fabric a rapidly produced synthetic made of off-gassing materials, or is it made from natural fibers and hides?
Now I am aware that not everyone can afford the finest materials nor completely avoid mass production. However, I do believe in sustainability, utilizing eco-friendly materials, starting with the local economy and moving outward rather than specifying non-identifiable sources. Responsibility is not always the quickest route, but the GFN (good enough for now) does cost each of us in other ways.I often speak of investment pieces, larger furnishings, and am sometimes halted by a client. They often state that they are not looking at the item in question as an investment piece. I am simply offering that we weigh all of the costs before deciding.