5 Questions to Ask When Specifying Custom Furniture

Design by Duet Design Group

Custom furniture is an investment in your business and Interior Designers know the importance of getting it right. This extends to all aspects of your work. Sourcing the perfect furniture that suits the space, ensuring it will last long into the future, and building the ideal environment for your client’s lifestyle is essential to success in the interior design industry. Pursuing your very own custom furniture sets a tone for your overall aesthetic and can convey a message about who you are as a designer.

To ensure that you are making the best choice possible, here are five questions to ask yourself when specifying custom furniture:

1. Do I have time for custom?

Notwithstanding the current state of the industry where even sofas from big box stores have lead times measured in months rather than weeks, do you have time for the custom process? Beyond the quoted lead time for a custom order you’ll also need to consider how long it will take to get C.O.M. selected, ordered and delivered, as well the time it takes to get shop drawings finalized. Custom is usually not the route to go if your new client you met in October is asking for an install in time for their Thanksgiving dinner.

2. How can custom work for my client’s budget?

Often, designers come to us with specific requests for material without extensive understanding of the current market cost of materials or execution. If you arrive armed with an inspiration for your custom project as well as a reasonable client budget for this particular piece, let’s say a dining table, it is distinctly feasible that our builders can get back to you with solutions for how to achieve the look you like at your budget range. But, if your client values the vibes over the spectrum of material cost, yet you arrive with only the inspiration for a “solid wood dining table” with a note “Client loves White Oak,” then you may receive a quote on the upper end of the market and blow your client’s hopes up. Meanwhile, maybe the same design in an Ash veneer could get you and client to a happy result with the custom design price tag. Share your budget with Buildlane and let us partner with you to make the right specifications to meet your circumstances!

3. Will my design hold up well given its intended use?

With Buildlane, you can always consult with your builder team about structural integrity, but as the designer you should be the first person to create something that will stand the test of time. This is especially important when thinking about tables or consoles – if weight is added to each part of the table top will it stay standing or topple over? For upholstery, do the seating dimensions mirror the size of the client? We’re here to help and are always sure to point out any scale, dimension or material flaws that we see that might harm the integrity of the intended use.

4. Have I considered of all the small ways I can customize my piece?

You came with a broad concept for your piece – but what about the details? Often it is the small details that turn a normal piece of furniture into something remarkable. It is helpful to keep a running list of all the minor tricks you’ve got up your sleeve and see if any of them might be right for the current project. Here are some to get you started; contrast stitching, ferrules, exposed wood accents, splash of nailheads, mixing wood species, of course decorative hardware and our latest fav craze, fringed or pleated skirts.

5. Can I get someone from customer service on the phone right now to talk about this custom order with me one-on-one?

Workshops are notoriously bad about this. Not many furniture factories have a fully staffed front office and often the person running the show is buy on the floor. That has been our experience, our pain point, and it’s the pinnacle of the Buildlane advantage. You can reach a member of our team by phone Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm EST. But hey, we’re true Millennials and so we built a chat feature right into the app. Drop your updates, thoughts and questions into the chat box on any project page, and your Account Manager will get your comments to the right person every time. This is a super efficient way for us to keep you in the loop for your project as it is moving along. It also generates a truly collaborative creative environment between you and our team, which is crucial for a successful custom build.

Did we get your wheels spinning? Head on over to our Request for Quote form and get your next piece started today. You can start with as little as a sketch, and we will help you take it from there.



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