We are living in the age of identity. Everything we own is a reflection of our values and beliefs. It is no longer enough for things around us to be functional. We want them to be beautiful, functional and affordable.
Furniture in our homes is not an exception to this rule.
We want it to be visually pleasing at the same time fit in with our lifestyle. We are aiming for fuss free and easy to handle pieces that will still have some degree of customization.
Some decor styles like nordic interiors and Ikea have brought the mass produced designer furniture into vogue. Thanks to affordability and ease readymade furniture is a definite hit. At the same time, there is a growing interest among the millennials in India to go back to their roots. This has resulted in increase of custom made/repurposed elements used in interiors.
In the age of online selling readymade furniture has been gaining more ground. But, increased emphasis on individuality means that custom furniture has not given up on its niche.
Thus the aforementioned debate. If you are on the lookout for buying furniture for your home, this thought has definitely had you under dilema.
So, We pit the mass produced v/s custom made furniture head to head on the basis of 13 Factors that will influence your choice –
Custom Furniture v/s Readymade Furniture – Head to Head
This is the biggest advantage of ready made furniture over custom furniture. You can buy them remotely, make payments sitting at your home and have it delivered at your doorstep. This the most time efficient option.
Getting a custom piece designed is a time consuming process. It involves hours of research into not just design but the craftsman. Then there is always a considerable time gap between ordering of the furniture and delivery.
Unless you are buying a designer piece, store bought furniture is available at a lower cost. Moreover if you are buying online, you can get discounts and deals all round the year.
This will definitely cost you more. But having a custom furniture made, gives you more control over the costs. As you are apprised of materials and design beforehand you can make choices that optimise your expenditure. This also has room for negotiation with the maker.
This has always been the loudest argument against readymade furniture. Store bought furniture has no assurances of materials and craftsmanship. So be vigilant while buying and make sure you get maximum warranty available. If you are buying online, conduct a thorough inspection on delivery.
Quality assurance is a given in custom furniture as you will be in the forefront of the process. Unless you skimp on your research into materials and craftsman, you can be sure of a high quality product.
Hassle free logistics in both manufacturing and delivery. Though you may have to shop a couple of outlets, delivery and assembly is often made by the seller. Thanks to online selling, you could even have furniture delivered from the opposite corner of the country with only your computer.
Logistics are a bit complicated. You have to do a bit of search for the right craftsman. Many styles are unique to certain regions. You may have to travel there for ordering. Afterwards make arrangements for transportation.
Store Bought –
Being mass produced, custom produced hardly differs from one piece to another. There has been definitely an increase in designs and variety. But at the end of the day, the piece you own will not be a one of a kind.
Owning a custom furniture means you are the only person who has it. This is the most important argument in favour of made to order furniture. If you want a piece that is unique to you and reflects your particular tastes then, this is a no brainer for you.
Store Bought –
Generally readymade furniture has zero scope for customization. But the case is not entirely hopeless. A good example of this is the kitchen cabinets and units. Different types of cabinets can be assembled together as per your needs to create a uniquely designed space.
Customization is the cornerstone of the made against order furniture. This allows for greater experimentation in design and materials. The result will be high degree of functionality with your specified aesthetics.
You have no way of knowing if the furniture you bought from store was ethically produced. This is because you are detached from the manufacturing process and often end up seeing only the finished product. You also can’t be sure if the production process is environmentally friendly and/or sustainable.
You can choose the craftsman who uses repurposed/environmentally friendly materials. You are often deeply involved in the production process. So, you can make sure your pieces are ethically produced.
8.Space & Balance
You can definitely choose a piece that fits in with the overall theme of your space. But there will always be compromises to be made. This is the necessary evil of buying a furniture designed with a generic space in mind
As this piece of furniture is uniquely designed with your space in mind you can be sure it will a proper fit. You can tailor it to overcome the shortcomings of your space and make optimum utilization.
Readymade furniture has limited visual appeal. But by making sure you use right textures, elements and shapes together you can make it visually interesting. You could consult an interior designer ot decorator for inputs for making various pieces work together.
Because of freedom in design, you can aim for better visual appeal in custom made pieces. But this come with its own pitfall. If you are not a visual person, then you may not be able to ‘see’ how the piece would ultimately fit in. This is where you should consult a professional like interior designer for assistance.
These are usually mass produced in specific design styles. If you are trying to mix n match you will be hard pressed to find pieces that meet your specifications.
Made to order designs give greater scope for combining elements of different styles. For eg you can have a cabinet with sleek lines (minimalism) adorned with minimal carvings (traditional). This will fit in with your modern meets traditional lifestyle.
11. Cultural Heritage
Mass produced furniture is a reflection of western industrialization and minimalism. It does not score any points upon representing your cultural heritage.
India is home to one of the richest traditions in carving and design. What better way to keep this cultural heritage alive than by custom furniture produced by local artisans?
Furniture purchased online/ in outlets is mostly easy to return and comes with a warranty period. So, if there is a mistake/flaw you can get replacement or cash back. Be careful to read the terms of sale thoroughly about the return policy and warranty at the time of purchase.
The correction of mistakes/replacement can be costly and time consuming. Matters get further complicated if your craftsman lives in another city. Make sure to avoid damage during transit by proper packing and appropriate transport arrangements.
13.Wear and Tear
Store bought furniture has the reputation of not surviving for a long time. But this drawback can be avoided to some extent. Give careful considerations to materials while choosing pieces depending on their purpose. For eg a delicate designer study table may not be the best option for kids under 12.
Custom furniture can withstand the wear and tear over time. As you have great autonomy in choice of materials, you can choose ones that are long lasting. For eg you have a custom bed designed for your kids. Here you can use sturdier materials that will survive rough handling and general jumping around.
Different strokes for different folks holds true when it comes to furniture.
Choose the furniture and fittings for your home depending upon your specific needs.
Custom furniture is definitely the ideal choice if you have the time and resource to invest. But if you are pressed for time and plan to switch it eventually , readymade might be the right fit for you.