Although we don't often do this, Chris and I found ourselves buying a lot of furniture over the holidays.
Ali needed a big girl bed.
We desperately needed a bedroom suite.
We needed to replace a chair in our living room.
So we set off on an epic adventure of visiting every furniture store within a 30 mile radius of Birmingham to find what we wanted and the best deals.
Our objective: to get the best discounts, sales, and deals on good quality furniture.
So, I decided I'd share what we learned about the furniture stores in the area - or at least, our experiences with them.
We ended up actually purchasing furniture from three stores: Ashley Furniture
(Ali's bed), Alabama Furniture Market
(Our Living Room Chair), and Mazers Furniture
(Our Bedroom Suite and a bedside table and desk for our guest room), so I will, for the most part, limit my reviews to these three stores.
But, for the record, we did find a bedroom suite we liked at Havertys, but it was twice the price of everywhere else. And Rooms to Go had the most inventive children's beds
, but their "normal" twin beds were too pricey.
Without further ado...Ashley Furniture Homestore:
They most definitely had the most inexpensive-but-still-nice children's beds. The bed plus the roll-out trundle
cost the same of just a bed at Rooms To Go. So the decision to buy from Ashley was easy.
However, that was the only part of our Ashley dealings that were easy.
First of all: One thing that you need to be completely aware of before buying anything from Ashley: They have a NO RETURNS OR EXCHANGES policy. Completely strict - what you get is what you get, even if it has a few dents or dings on it. This didn't come up for us, but it is an important thing to remember.
We knew this risk before choosing, but after we paid for the furniture, everything else got difficult - something we weren't expecting.
- It was going to be 10 days before pickup (which put us dangerously close to our deadline of Christmas).
- We had to pickup from their warehouse in Leeds.
- The warehouse in Leeds has very inconvenient hours.
- They never called us when the furniture came in, so we had to track them down.
- We arrived at the warehouse on a cold and rainy day, and waited for over an hour at the loading dock for our furniture, only to find out that the footboard had been damaged in delivery, and that they would bring it to our house when it came in - in another FEW DAYS, but that we had to call to make that happen.
- I called on the next business day, and I got major runaround because there was apparently no record that they could deliver it and they wouldn't do it without that. They said that we'd have to come yet again during inconvenient hours to pick it up, unless we could prove that we were told that they would deliver. We finally got them to look up our warehouse paperwork for the guy's name that told us that.
- They finally delivered it, mere days before Christmas.
The bed was nice quality and we like it, but the customer service and helpfulness was atrocious. When I mentioned this on Twitter, I got LOTS of corroboration that many people have had these issues.
Bottom line: If you want the best price and don't mind being inconvenienced, put off for quite a while, and possibly yanked around to get it, Ashley Furniture Homestore is right for you.
My grade for Ashley Furniture: C-
Alabama Furniture Market:
I adored Alabama Furniture Market in every way. Their sales team was awesome - not at all pushy but very available to be helpful, look up special orders, answer any questions, and even try to help me find furniture similar to the (extraordinarily expensive) bedroom suite I had seen at Havertys.
Their prices were also amazing - great discounts and great selection, but they just didn't have exactly what we needed, except for the perfect chair for the living room.
They also have no taxes if you pick up your furniture.
If I could have found what we had wanted, I would have bought everything
My Grade for Alabama Furniture Market: A-
Mazers was the last stop we made - I'm not exactly sure why, but it was. However, they had a MUCH larger selection that I thought that they would. They had several bedroom suites that we liked, all MUCH less expensive than the others we looked at.
The one that we decided on
was very similar to the one at Havertys, except half the price AND with an extra piece of furniture (an entertainment center). It was an awesome deal! Also, our salesman was awesome - he always seemed to pop up exactly when we had a question, but disappear the rest of the time (for the record, Havertys and Rooms To Go salesmen about drove me BATTY).
Their delivery was great, but the furniture delivered had a couple of issues: the sliding doors in the dresser wouldn't slide, and the chest of drawers had a crack in one piece of wood and a chip off of another (that had obviously been painted over to try to hide).
I called their customer service and they were very nice. They sent a master woodcraftsman out to fix the sliding drawers and sent another chest of drawers out to replace the faulty one. They were also nice enough to simply have the woodcraftsman bring the chest out with him so that I didn't have to wait for him AND a separate delivery truck.
They took care of all of our problems and informed me that we had a one year warranty on the furniture - if ANYTHING went wrong, they'd be glad to come out and fix it again.
At first, I was a little disappointed that it wasn't delivered in perfect (or even working) condition, but they were SO great in handling it and so gracious, I really felt better about them for the extra trouble. We are QUITE happy with our bedroom furniture.
My grade for Mazers: B+
I hope this helps in any future furniture shopping that you have!! Let us all know of any insights you have from your furniture dealings.
If you ever have any Alabama products or retailers that you'd like to share your review of, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.