There is a huge choice of bedroom furniture suppliers in the UK; some are craft workshops, some family companies and others are huge worldwide conglomerates. With so much choice it can be hard to decide where to start. This article provides some guidance about where to go for ideas, when to buy from a huge company and when to look smaller and some help finding crafts people who can make you some very special furniture.
I always like to get some inspiration before I go out and buy anything. There are always new ideas, new materials, new designs and clever ideas to make better use of your space. I also like to inject some personality into my home whenever I can and every purchase is an opportunity to do this. However I am not one of those people who is creative so I need to steal inspiration from other folk. If you are like me then you will want to know some good places to look for inspiration too.
A great place to start is pinterest. You can look through image albums (called boards on pinterest) that other people have painstakingly collated over years. They can be quite generic like bedroom furniture to the very detailed like galleries just on headboards so just search for what you’re looking for and get inspired. Here is a page of bedroom furniture boards to get you started. The Google image search is a brilliant way of seeking out a huge variety of inspiring images quickly – just look at these interesting results for an image search of eco bedroom furniture. Even if you are not particularly interested in the environment, eco friendly sites are a great ideas resource. They pull together some great space saving designs and funky ideas, for example try Tree hugger. I also like Houzz because it’s packed full of all sorts of articles, products and company profiles and it can help you find a supplier of something that you want to buy.
Big Or Small
Many of us automatically go to large companies assuming the price and service will better. In the furniture world there’s none bigger than IKEA, but are they so obviously a better choice than a smaller UK based company?
These days with consumer protection laws being what they are returns policies are good everywhere so somewhere like IKEA does not offer an obviously better returns policy or warranty. If you have ever waited in the customer services queue at IKEA you will probably feel that there is a lot more they could do to make the experience better! With most smaller companies you are more likely to deal with a single named person and get a faster and more personal response to your problem.
IKEA does offer furniture at very low prices, can anywhere else match them? We have selected a representative UK company to compare IKEA prices against to see who is cheapest; one of the cheapest websites we have found www.bedsos.co.uk.
- Stacking box storage for kids. This is £59 pounds on bedsos and takes 5 minutes to slot together and has funky stickers and colours. An equivalent unit from IKEA is slightly cheaper at £53 and comes in a combination of colours. However the £6 saving you get at IKEA comes at the cost of 15 more minutes of your time as it takes 20 minutes to construct (with a 12 page manual).
- A triple or vanity mirror is essental for getting your hair and makeup right. Bedsos have a few different table top versions but our favourite is the Minuet tripe mirror at £89 which has a hardwood frame and takes 30 minutes to put together. Amazingly despite selling about 200 different types of mirror, IKEA don’t sell a table top vanity version. The closest thing is the £60 Stave which is a triple mirror but – it’s huge; 160cm high and 130cm wide! So you will need to wall mount it somewhere with plenty of space for the central pane and two hinged side pieces. In addition the material composing the frame is some rather nasty looking plastic.
- Finally we will compare two solid pine three drawer chest of drawers. The IKEA version is the £150 Hurdal and Bedsos sell the £159 Hacienda. Both are very similar – the look of the Hacienda is better because of the finishing wax used however there is more storage space in the IKEA version. The bedsos model takes 40 minutes to construct, IKEA do not give a construction time but their manual is over 30 pages long.
So in every case the IKEA product was cheaper – however in two cases it was only just cheaper and all their products had an inferior look to the Bedsos version. At Bedsos delivery is free whereas anything up to 25kg is £7.5 from IKEA rising to at least £34 if the weight is over 25kg. When you factor those costs in there is really no difference in price – so don’t just head to IKEA. Think about supporting a smaller local business who can offer you better value for money.
If you want something special or you have very exacting standards then the best place to start would be with a business that produces hand crafted furniture to order. You will get exactly what you want and you will be able to precisely control the quality of materials used and the level of finish. The finished piece of furniture will be unique and something to treasure. However you will need to spend time specifying exactly what you want and the furniture will be expensive to buy.
Your biggest problem will be finding a local craftsman who specialises in the type of material or furniture you are looking for. Some good places to start are as follows;
- The Guild of Master Craftsmen
- Society of Designer Craftsmen
- The Scottish Furniture Makers Association
- Try a google map search for example bespoke furniture makers uk