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Behind The Scenes / The Reality of Custom Furniture

Written by K&L Interiors
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For K&L Interiors, making each space personal to the client is immensely important to our design process, which is why it’s not surprising that we stand behind the concept of custom furniture. If you can imagine your interior space like an outfit, wearing a perfectly tailored jacket can instantly take you from disheveled to bespoke. Similarly, including a custom-made element to your interior will amp up the design and give it the stylish look everyone is after. We know the word custom probably makes you want to run for the door but stick around, we are putting the spotlight on all things custom to take the mystery out of this aspect of the design industry and discuss the reality of custom furniture.


To Be Or Not To Be – When To Go Custom  

We can spend hours, days even, hunting online and from shop to shop for that perfect-sized piece for your space. Instead of spending your money on our time hunting for that needle-in-a-haystack, which might not exist, you can allocate it towards having something made just for you. It will be exactly what you want and as a bonus only you will have it!

When considering the design of a space, a big part of it is where to spend and where to save. Many times the room will guide us in making these decisions. For example, we are working on project where the client found a photo of a beautiful u-shaped sectional and we designed the room using that as a starting point. The challenge was how linear the room was. We were not able to find a ready-made sectional in the correct size but luckily enough, we found a company who makes a sofa style similar to the photo and could customize it to be tailored to our clients’ space. Another likely scenario would be if you are blessed with a large open space and need a larger than average coffee table custom-made for the perfect fit.


Dolla, Dolla Bill Y’all – The Cost Behind Custom 

With the recent boom of less expensive furniture and interior décor shops flooding the streets and internet, the cost of custom furniture can be a big deterrent. Here’s the skinny behind the cost of a custom piece of furniture. If you invest in a one-of-a-kind piece, it’s made just for you, no one else will have it, and it is tailored to your space. It’s not mass produced over-seas (cough….China) and it’s hand made by either a skilled local craftsman or by one of the US-based companies we purchase through. It is also made with high quality products, solid hard wood, non-toxic materials, and built to last. Mass produced pieces typically end up on the curb after a few years while custom pieces are refinished, reupholstered and passed down to the next generation. So even though you will spend more on the one-off piece, we believe it is money well spent.


Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo – Which Pieces Are Best For Custom  

This isn’t to say that you can’t make everything in your home custom – by all means, if you have the budget, do it! However, when it comes down to it, there are certain pieces which we place high on the list of things to customize: sofas and sectionals. They are typically the center of the room and by far the most used pieces of furniture. Custom furniture is well made so it can take the wear and tear of everyday use. It also can be tailored to have the seat and back cushion fill which you find most comfortable so when you grab the bowl of popcorn to settle in for movie night, you will be comfy and cozy. To top it off, it will be a stylish, personalized piece that not only fits the room perfectly but also makes a design statement.


Shades Of Gray – Semi-Custom Options 

We consider any change to a furniture piece which does not alter the frame of a standard piece to be semi-custom. All of our trade sources will allow you to select the fill you want in your cushions, upholster using a COM (a fabric which is not made by the company making the furniture piece), add nail heads or a trim detail to the frame or cushions, and select a wood or metal finish for exposed surfaces. These small changes typically will incur minimal fees so you can have something semi-custom at a reasonable price.


Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Getting The Custom Piece Of Your Dreams 

With all of this talk about the reasons to use custom furniture, let’s say you’ve decided to go the custom route. Now what happens? We work with you and the manufacturer to create exactly what you want and need. Typically you will provide us with an image of what you are envisioning, or we will suggest one to go with the design scheme. Then, we take that image and using AutoCAD (our drawing software) we create drawings of the piece including the customizations needed and submit it to the manufacturer along with the inspirational image. They will then review our submission and let us know if they have any suggestions or tweaks to the design that are needed in order to make it reality. Easy as pie!


Tick-Tock – Playing The Waiting Game

The hardest part about custom furniture is waiting for it. Maybe we haven’t mentioned this yet, but lead times are rough for custom furniture. They may sound like a long time but keep in mind that these artisans are making your piece by hand. Imagine hand looming an 8’x10’ rug with 100+ knots per square inch! Yep, that’s why it takes them 14-16 weeks. Good things come to those who wait so put on your waiting hat and relax. The lead times are typically not negotiable but do range slightly from company to company and their current work load. For a guide check out the list below:

4-6 weeks: stools, cabinetry (kitchen or bathroom), accessories (pillows, bedding) & window coverings (draperies, Roman shades)

6-8 weeks: desks, coffee or side tables, benches

8-10 weeks: dining tables, dressers/chests

10-12 weeks: small upholstery like chairs, ottomans, beds

12-14 weeks: large upholstery like sofas, daybeds, settees

14-16 weeks: custom rugs


We know that whether you are considering custom furniture or not for your next project, it’s a big decision. Let’s talk through your options and find what the right avenue will be for you. Working with K&L Interiors will be the best decision you can make and we won’t take it for granted. We pride ourselves on creating a pleasurable experience for our clients. Contact us for an initial consultation to discuss your project and how we can be of service to you.





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