Author Topic: What is the honest difference in nicer products?  (Read 2881 times)


  • Magnum Stache
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What is the honest difference in nicer products?
« on: June 29, 2014, 01:45:16 PM »
This isn't a knock on anyone that likes nicer things, but besides having a name brand, what is the difference between a coffee table from Room and Board and a generic one? I am guessing that besides name, they have a better design and better material, but is it that different? A family member just bought a house and were describing decorating it and said that they are looking to spend under $1000 for a coffee table, and I had trouble keeping my jaw from dropping. I realize that very good pieces of furniture can last a lifetime, but spending that much?

I just moved into a friend's place and to furnish my room I took a few tables and shelves that are items my company closed out. While not extremely fancy, they look very nice and were free. Each guest I've had over has complimented them. Of course, not everyone has access to free furniture, but I found plenty of decent tables on craigslist. To each his own, I suppose.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: What is the honest difference in nicer products?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2014, 01:57:28 PM »
personally, I think furniture is a bad example. I have noticed that there isn't a lot of difference anymore between Room and Board/West Elm/etc. type stuff and the cheaper stuff, everything is fucking particle board it seems like... except the SUPER high end stuff which is just insanely expensive. in other categories, though, going mid-range instead of cheap might have more of an advantage... I think shoes are one where you can definitely get higher quality for a little more money (although you can also get shitty quality for more money, so you have to be careful!)

our coffee table was $120 at a furniture consignment store (which I actually thought was embarrassingly expensive, but I really like it and it's super functional and nice-looking. it has storage underneath which we use for magazines, and the top lifts up for those nights we want to be fat Americans and eat dinner in front of The Daily Show).

edited to add: another bonus of non-precious furniture I've thought about recently is that we just got a puppy a couple weeks ago, and it's nice not having to freak the fuck out if she gnaws on the legs of something. :)


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: What is the honest difference in nicer products?
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2014, 04:56:36 PM »
I think it depends on what is important to you, whether you are trying to buy it for life, what is the reason you are buying it, etc. Having said that, you have to do your consumer research and make sure that you know what you are buying. What might have been a quality brand name that you could trust ten years ago may now have moved overseas and turned into junk. Sometimes it is well worth it to buy a higher quality item, after doing your research and after shopping for the best price. Sometimes it doesn't matter that you are buying lower-end. For my basement bathroom, I buy the absolutely cheapest toilet paper I can find, at 25 cents a roll at Aldis. My husband doesn't go down there. For the upstairs bathroom, that my husband with his high-maintenance rear end uses, I buy Charmin Sensitive toilet paper with Aloe and Vitamin E at around $1.25 per roll. My dad (died 1996, God rest his soul) had certain expensive toilet paper preferences, too. So my mom bought it for him, because to him, it mattered. So hey.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: What is the honest difference in nicer products?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2014, 05:04:40 PM »
Oops, maybe you wanted us to respond about furniture, not toilet paper. I've always been much, much happier over the years with the main pieces--couches, easy chairs, beds, kitchen/dining room tables and chairs--being the best quality we could afford. That doesn't necessarily mean "brand name" or new--but it might. You just have to do the research, consider what you really like and really want, and how long you want to keep it. Then try to find it at some kind of discount. But sometimes you just have to spend the money, although all of us MMMs try our best not to.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: What is the honest difference in nicer products?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2014, 05:39:04 PM »
There's a couple of factors:
1. Build quality
- this can be all over the place. IKEA can have solid wood stuff and Crate and Barrel can have particle board
2. Fashion/style
- if this matters to you, you will probably pay a premium. There are trends in furniture, no matter how dumb that sounds. Think design within reach/dwell magazine and the wacky world of $4000 coffee tables. Please don't do this or you may be on the wrong forum.
3. Name brand
- this is where you will really pay a premium and you should totally not. Companies like Crate and Barrel, Room and Board, etc are not building or designing the furniture themselves- they are buying it from different manufacturers and selling an aesthetic taste/curator aspect.
4. Environmental
- do you care if the company you buy from has ethical sourcing? Do you want a sofa that does not release potentially health-altering chemicals? Or are you just looking for a nice couch?

Any factors I missed? I am no expert- these are just my thoughts.

TL;DR? Look for solid wood stuff at IKEA - best of all worlds