Fine Wood Furniture: Top 6 Tips for Shopping Online

French Country Dining Set | American Made | Vermont Woods Studios Fine FurnitureSkip the Goliaths

Countless wood furniture options are offered today by companies like Amazon, Wayfair, Houzz, Hayneedle and other retail giants. These companies are great for shopping many types of goods. But not fine wooden furniture. Often their furniture is produced in developing countries, by workers in deplorable conditions, using wood of unknown (and frequently illegal) origin. Quality ranges from very poor to pretty good but it’s just not the kind of furniture you’re going to feel good about having in your home. And logistically, the giants are not good at all the things that have to happen after you click the buy button: double checking order details, communicating any potential issues, providing meticulous customer service, ensuring a positive delivery experience and advising on furniture care.  You would think, considering all the corner-cutting, Goliath pricing would be a bargain but actually the opposite is true.

Contemporary Craftsman Bedroom Furniture Set | Solid Wood | Handmade | Vermont Woods StudiosCheck Multiple Customer Review Sites

Take Wayfair and their suite of online home goods stores (Joss & Main, AllModern, Birch Lane & Perigold) as an example. How do customers rate them for furniture quality, price and delivery? Curiously, for such a big company they are not registered on many independent review sites. But here is how they fare on two popular review sites, TrustPilot and SiteJabber.


On Trust Pilot Wayfair has an average rating of 2 out of 5 or “Poor” based on 459 reviews.


On Sitejabber, Wayfair has a rating of 2 out of 5, based on 538 reviews.

Reseller Ratings

In contrast, Wayfair gets a rating of 9.49 out of 10 on Notice that on this site “Wayfair participates as a Merchant Member, monitors feedback, and resolves issues.” This may explain the gentleman’s comment on Wayfair’s TrustPilot review above, “Not able to leave a review on wayfair.”

Independent reviews for Houzz are even worse than Wayfair’s.

Shaker Tables | Coffee, End, Sofa, Occasional, Accent | Solid Wood | Vermont Woods StudiosGo With the Experts

Would you buy a Lexus from Walmart? Of course not. With any luxury item, you’ll want to shop at a store that specializes in superior quality & service. For fine wooden furniture, those stores are almost always small shops that focus on handmade, hardwood furniture, built to order by local craftspeople. Look for sustainably harvested North American woods, expert sales staff, and a lifetime guarantee on your furniture. This type of commitment and dedication are not hard to find when searching online for handcrafted American made fine wood furniture.

Quality Dining & Kitchen Sets | Modern, Shaker, Mission, Craftsman, Arts & Crafts, MCM | Vermont Woods StudiosThe Real Deal is Your Best Deal

Don’t be tempted by ostensibly great deals and low prices on Goliath websites. Additional costs are often hidden in the fine print.  For example, Wayfair charges $794.99 for a 5 year warranty on a dining table you could buy from Vermont Woods Studios where a lifetime guarantee is free. The giants don’t get fine furniture and they never will. Their expertise is in selling merchandise in the low-medium quality range. Nothing wrong with that. But they simply don’t have the deep level of expertise it takes to safeguard your investment through the fine furniture making & delivery process. Fact is, premium quality, sustainably harvested North American hardwood is expensive. Genuine American made furniture is built by craftspeople who must be paid a livable wage. Quality costs money. On the upside, you’ll never have to replace top quality American made furniture.  That’s what makes the real deal your best deal.

Modern Shaker File Cabinet-Credenza | Solid Hardwood | American MadeInsist on White Glove Delivery & In Home Setup

Fine furniture must be shipped and delivered to you by a specialty furniture service.  Things can go wrong with a common carrier.  Delivery and shipping damage account for a high percentage of the complaints against Wayfair, Houzz & Amazon on review sites like pissedconsumer and reddit. Fine furniture should be brought into your house, not left at your curbside or on your porch. Once inside, your furniture should be placed where you want it and professionally assembled.  You must inspect it thoroughly to make sure there is no shipping damage. This “white glove shipping” is standard practice for America’s best fine furniture makers. It may cost a little extra but it’s well worth a premium.

White Glove Delivery & Setup is a Must for Fine Furniture | Vermont Woods Studios

Talk to Your Furniture Specialist in Person or on the Phone

If you’re looking to invest in handcrafted, high quality, fine wood furniture, shop with experts who have earned your trust.  Seek out American made furniture companies, browse through their websites and get to know the people who can share their expertise with you.  You’ll be surprised at the level of detail and customer service they’ll happily provide. Quality bedroom, dining and living room furniture is a keepsake that will serve your family for generations–purchase it from a specialty company you can trust.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Peggy Farabaugh

She is a CEO who brakes for salamanders, has bottle-fed rescued squirrels and spent her vacation building furniture for a rural school in Costa Rica. She believes in the future and in the people who will build it. A former distance-learning professor at Tulane University with a master’s in environmental health & safety, she turned an interest in forest conservation and endangered species into a growing, local business. She delivers rainforest statistics at breakneck speed, but knows how to slow down and appreciate the beauty of a newly finished piece of heirloom furniture.

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