Shopping Adventure #3: Weekends @ Furniture Row

June 8, 2012

About this series:

I am embarking on the very ambitious (read: slightly insane) task of visiting every single store that sells home goods down several miles of 28th Street (a major commercial road in Grand Rapids, MI) and the surrounding area. And you, lucky reader, will be subjected to it all! The goals of this venture are:

  • To know my city better.
  • To get off my bum.
  • To familiarize myself with what you can get for your money.
  • To make note of nice stores for future clients. (Yeah!)
  • And of course: it’s an excuse to shop!

Previous Adventures:
#1 – Gorman’s
#2 – New 2 You & White Barn Thrift Store

Click here for Weekends @ Furniture Row’s website and location.

Yes, there really is an “@” symbol in their name. Oy.

I drive by this every single day. When it first popped up I was certainly intrigued, being a furniture loving gal, but it took me quite a while to check them out. The visit I photographed was the second time I’d been to the store.

The whole premise of this store is that they “buy for less, operate for less, and sell for less.” Basically they’ve eliminated a whole lot of the “frills” that typically come with furniture stores. They buy straight from factories, they’re only open 4 days a week which clearly drastically reduces their overhead costs, and they don’t offer complimentary extras like delivery, designer services, or special orders.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t well staffed, though. Both times I’ve walked in it’s only taken a matter of minutes for an employee to approach me and ask if I needed any help. I felt the attention I received was just right: I was acknowledged but I didn’t feel hunted down or pressured.

As I mentioned, the store is only open 4 days a week, Friday through Monday. So not the most convenient of schedules but certainly works for most people. The building is pretty huge but they do a decent job of keeping it somewhat orderly.

Please note: The prices shown here represent what I saw the day I visited this store. The same products and prices may or may not be available currently.

This is an awful picture. I have yet to figure out how to compensate for things like large amounts of light coming from behind the camera. Anyway, this is where I walked in and the first thing I saw. A HUGE mirror for only $98. It’s intended to be paired with the vanity table, but you could definitely use it elsewhere. I contemplated how it might work in my full bathroom (which currently has a beat-up frameless mirror) but decided an unexpected $98 purchase was not in the cards for me.

This area of the store consists of dozens of bedroom sets. What you see above is mostly kid-themed, but there were plenty of larger beds that I’ll show you momentarily. As you can see, the store is clean and easy to browse. Prices are clearly marked.

While there’s plenty of large pieces, among them are a plethora of smaller items. I don’t recall seeing any ceiling lights but there were quite a few table lamps. I thought this base had a neat look but the shade could be vastly improved upon. I have to apologize. I seriously failed at getting pricing on a lot of the items I photographed. I tried to simply photograph the price tags, but somebody hadn’t yet figured out how to use the macro setting on her camera, and the majority of those price tags came out too fuzzy to read. Whoops. I’m guessing the above lamp was somewhere around $100 to $130.

Seems like a pretty good price for a nice dark wood bed frame.

A bit more expensive, but a little more snazzy. I’ve never had a foot board, and I don’t know if I’d really want one. What do you think?

This bed was my favorite. I love a four-poster. And that’s really a great price for the amount of impact this would have in a room.

In addition to art being scattered throughout the store, there was a concentration of it in this spot. I didn’t look too closely at what they had, because I got the feeling it was not going to be to my taste. I prefer art that’s a little more special or meaningful. These felt far too “big box” if you get my drift.

Unless of course what you desire is a still from Lilo and Stitch. I have to admit this isn’t terrible art for a child’s room, framed and ready to go for only $30. But I think I would only ever consider it if I had a child that truly loved that movie… and if I magically had a surfing family (don’t see that happening).

Top left is another pretty cool table lamp, and for only $68 you can’t really ask for much more. It’s a neat shape, don’t you think? Top right is an example of some of the random accessories you can find. That candle holder couldn’t have been more than $15. Bottom left are some rather interesting vases. They are ceramic that’s been molded to look like crumbled bags (with golden insides, I’ll have you note).

Bottom right is a MYSTERY. The bottoms of these vases were marked “Jonathan Adler” and I was all “Waaaah?! This place carries Jonathan Adler stuff?!” If you don’t know who that is, he is an incredible designer with an extensive line of home goods that are quite high end. The tiniest little bud vase he currently has for sale is $28 but the majority of his pottery is in the $80 to $200 range with some shattering that at like $800. While the above vases don’t appear on his website, their shapes do resemble his work. Alas! They were not priced! I would have asked but honestly I didn’t like them that much so I resisted the pull of that designer label.

Top left is one of the few desks they had. And the rest you see are examples of the store’s numerous towers of accessories. They had some pretty pillows all for around $25, but unfortunately nothing that really got my attention. Lots and lots of vases and bowls all at reasonable prices. In a fancy high-end shop I’d expect to pay $100-200 for a lot of that stuff but you can get it for half that or less here.

Since everything is sold right out of the stock they have on hand, they’ve gotten creative with storage and display.

Please please please do not buy any of these chairs. Just don’t do it. But if you HAVE to (nooooo!), this is a cheap place to do it.

These struck me as very similar to West Elm’s Hive Vases, though admittedly are not nearly as pretty (or colorful). They were probably only slightly less expensive than the prettier version too.

Doesn’t everyone want a plate of shiny glass balls on their coffee table? These were so out of place it was hilarious. Though for only $8 I might just find a suitable place for a shiny glass ball in my home… or not. Oh and look who figured out how to take a macro picture! That’s right folks, I discovered that setting right in the middle of this shopping trip.

These chairs are pretty nice for the price.

I am not really a proponent of most things zebra-print. I think it is very hard to pull off without looking horribly forced. Nonetheless these still caught my eye. $338 was the price for both chairs and the little side table. That’s a pretty dang good deal for so many pieces.

This and the four-poster bed frame were probably my favorite pieces in the store. I don’t normally go for candy apple green, but it was a welcome moment of vibrancy amidst a whole lot of blaaah. It looked like a great occasional chair for a bedroom corner or even one for lounging, and came in other colors too.

Do you see that hideous upholstery on the chairs behind it? Like, when did I enter the portal to 1994? That’s honestly how I felt about a lot of the stuff at Weekends @ Furniture Row. Notice how I didn’t take a single picture of a sofa or a dining table? Two major pieces that they had plenty examples of but not a single one spoke to me.

In conclusion, this store is definitely a worthwhile stop if you’re furniture or accessory shopping. I can’t speak for the quality of the pieces, but of course the store claims that everything is top-of-the-line. A lot of their wares may not be the latest and greatest and some of it may be downright uggo, but I’d say there’s still a fair chance you’ll find something great at a great price.

While I’d certainly love to never pay full price again, their marketing does leave something to be desired. I’m already in the store… you don’t need to bombard me with giant screaming banners.

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  • Reply Brian June 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    So, retro 1960’s candy apple green is in but 1990’s plush beige LazyBoy is passé?

    • Reply Christina Ebbers June 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      Yup! Pretty much. Like I said I don’t really LOVE the candy apple green hue, but I like the lines of that piece and could be very into it if it was perhaps black, rose, or peacock blue. But there’s no question in my mind that those LazyBoy-ish recliners in any color are not something anyone should be buying. The ones I photographed in particular I find incredibly unattractive. I can see why people are drawn to them for comfort reasons, but aesthetically they are quite “passé” as you put it. I’m confident that there are many much more attractive AND comfortable recliners out there.

      Then again, we design-obsessed tend to overemphasize appearance to the point of sometimes sacrificing comfort. So if comfort is truly your priority, don’t let me stand in your way. 🙂

      Also… in general many elements of the 60s and the surrounding decades can be seen in current design. Even the 80s are making a bit of a mark (neon is EVERYWHERE). Some might argue the 90s have something to say too but I am not on that bandwagon. Give it another decade or two. Haha.

  • Reply Shopping Adventure #4 – Global Gifts « design-vox June 15, 2012 at 11:43 am

    […] Previous Adventures: #1 – Gorman’s #2 – New 2 You & White Barn Thrift Store #3 – Weekends @ Furniture Row […]

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