“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell
Finding that perfect piece of furniture for your home is incredibly gratifying. It takes a little extra work to arrive at that endpoint, but the payoff is worth it. When you invest in something so esthetically pleasing and lasting, it’s important to have a plan. Preparation is indeed critical to your success.
“A lot of customers graduate from big box stores to shopping somewhere more unique,” says Jon Nameth, owner of Fine Oak Things. “Initially, they’re conditioned to believe ‘what you see is what you get.’
“But that’s not the case. The more information a customer can provide, the better the chance that we find the ideal piece.”
With that in mind, here are some Do’s and Don’ts when shopping for custom furniture.
Do determine the style that suits you
Our eyes can trick us. When shopping, you might rule out a stunning piece of furniture because of one or two characteristics that don’t fit your concept.
“One of the biggest things is focusing on the style of the piece and how it looks,” says Nameth. “A customer might not like the particular colour of an item on the floor, or they say, ‘that table is too big, it won’t fit in our house.’ Because we’re a custom shop, we can change the colour or the size of a piece. We can include extensions, make cabinets bigger or smaller.
“Focus on the style you want instead of on the piece itself. Odds are there is another size or colour available. If not, we can make what you need.”
Do ask questions
Nameth likes to be a resource for customers at Fine Oak Things. It’s not about pushing products, so he likes to know exactly what his customers are looking for in order to meet their needs. Encouraging questions about preferences is a big part of that.
“We’re not a store that’s going to grill you or push you, saying ‘Buy, buy, buy,’” he explains. “We want to be partners with you to find what works. We’re listeners, not tellers. We’re here to educate.”
Some good questions include differences and durability in woods, options from builders, how to care for a piece, and lead times, among others.
Do bring colour or flooring samples
Knowledge is king in the custom furniture world. If Nameth knows the details of the surrounding area of where a piece will sit, it’s likely to end up with that perfect fit. If possible, bring colour samples of couches, walls, and countertops. That way Nameth can make a better recommendation. Be aware that cell phone pics might include filters that don’t accurately represent colours. That’s why a physical sample is ideal.
“Knowing the characteristics of the space that the piece is going into really helps us,” says Nameth.
Do take measurements
Fit is critical. Be it the dimensions of a room to hold a beautiful custom dining table or the exact measurement of a TV for a stunning wood stand, providing those numbers will make your life much easier – and your home look amazing.
Do be patient about delivery
It takes time to procure materials, build, and ship that unique piece of furniture. While Fine Oak Things gives lead time estimates in good faith, factors beyond their control can delay delivery. Current lead times are about 12 weeks for wood furniture and patio furniture, and about 12-16 weeks for couches and sectionals.
Do visit fineoakthings.com
It’s worth the effort to see the products and services available at Fine Oak Things. Coming in prepared with the styles you like will make it easier to show them to you, or something similar if we don’t have that style in the showroom.
Don’t keep to yourself
This is similar to “do ask questions” but Nameth is clear that a lack of communication results in a different customer experience.
“Don’t be afraid to come and talk with us,” says Nameth. “We don’t want to hover over you while you’re browsing, but we also don’t want you to think we’re ignoring you.” There are times when we’re occupied with a customer, but we’ll always come back to everyone in due course. Email is also a good way to get answers to questions if the showroom is busy.
Don’t be close-minded
Nameth explains that this thought often pertains to colour. Customers will occasionally rule out a piece because it is too big or the wrong colour. Those are the easiest things for Fine Oak Things to change, so it could be exactly the right piece. Other common changes are the handles, metal accents and style of the legs on dining tables.