Matching store with style: Valley is home to furniture retailers for every taste­­­­

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If you’re just moving into a new home and still trying to figure out how to fill your space, or if you’ve been in a home for years and your space needs updating, the Lehigh Valley has a long list of national, independent and artisan furniture stores that can help you achieve the look of your dreams.

Different types of furniture stores appeal to varying demographics, and everyone has different reasons for wanting to outfit or refinish a space or home. Because of this, you can find a range of stores that cater to specific styles or price points.

If you manage to find high-quality pieces at a value price, then you’re making a wise investment. Concentrate on finding the best value; it is best to look for brands with a long track record and good reputation. Unclaimed Freight has had a home in Bethlehem for decades and has built a reputation on offering entire rooms of quality furniture at a low price.

“Unclaimed Freight stores are geared toward offering you a huge, constantly changing assortment of furniture and accessories at prices that can enable everyone to indulge their sense of style and pocket some savings too,” says Rayen Hall, Unclaimed Freight’s vice president of technology and operations.  “We buy first quality, brand-name furniture, odd lots, closeouts and surpluses for pennies on the dollar and pass the savings onto you.”

Whether your budget is big or small, choosing new furniture and accessories can make a big difference in your daily life. And with all of the local retailers available who deal in a variety of eclectic choices, there has never been a better time to buy new furniture. Some are single-source stores that carry goods from just one manufacturer, while others carry a broad range of brands and categories.

What should matter most to you is the quality of furniture you are purchasing, that it functions as you intended and that you received a high level of customer service when making the purchase. ranks their Top 100 furniture stores every year, and several of the Valley’s big-box retail stores consistently make the cut, including Ashley Furniture HomeStore, which ranked at the top of the list in 2017. There are several key factors that have created customer loyalty for the chain.

“An advantage to coming into our HomeStores is working with great sales associates who are focused on making sure we provide all the beautiful accessories and furniture to complete your room or project,” says Taryn Burke, vice president of Ashley Furniture HomeStore for CJ Furniture. “With over 10,000 items available, we’re always there to help design the perfect space. I love to watch our sales associates and staff go above and beyond to see the relationship grow between them and the customer, knowing they are taking a personal interest in building the perfect home.”

Another factor that gets foot traffic in the door is that consumers are used to instant gratification. They like to take their merchandise home with them on the same day, and if it’s not available in a showroom, they want it delivered as soon as possible. Raymour & Flanigan offers delivery seven days  a week and within a guaranteed three-day-or-less delivery zone. They also charge one delivery fee based on delivery ZIP code, and not a fee for each item ordered. When customers can expect to have their delivery quickly and hassle-free, it cements a reputation that will continue to draw business.

For many people, the draws of shopping in a furniture store include changing inventory and the potential to find one-of-a-kind pieces. If you don’t find something that fits your personal style during an initial visit, you can check back within a few weeks as new products arrive. This is particularly true of smaller, independent and artisan retailers, where some products can be ones the manufacturer may never make again, or where unique pieces are custom-made and there is only one or a few available of a particular item.

Several Valley furniture businesses also offer interior design services for their clients. This combination is becoming more popular in the industry, fueled in part by the value of a “one-stop shop” experience . Interior designers not only take the time to learn what each individual client’s taste is, but also get a feel for their space and existing furnishings, and give plenty of options for mixing old and new décor in the house while respecting a client’s budget. Businesses in the area that combine furnishings and design expertise include Domaci Home in Bethlehem, RE:find in Allentown, GailGray Homes in Saucon Valley, and Hendrixson’s Furniture in Emmaus.

“A lot of times, people come in just wanting to buy an accessory or add a piece. Often, they’ll find they want to enhance a room in some other way and integrate something into it. We sometimes work with people who are furnishing new homes and trying to learn how to integrate something new with their existing furniture,” says Jonathan Hendrixson, whose parents founded the family business more than 50 years ago. “In a lot of cases, it will lead to us visiting their home and a designer will go and do an in-home consultation and look at the project as a whole and see how they can match fabrics.”

Hendrixson’s also works with a number of upholstery companies, fabric houses and furniture manufacturers to ensure that their clients have a wide range of options to choose from. They’re well aware that trends in the industry come and go and homeowners may want to mix and match styles and colors without being committed to one specific look throughout the home.  Combining what you like to achieve a look you’ll love is something their design experts are used to handling.

“A lot of people have become more eclectic. They want flexibility,” says Hendrixson. “They’ll say, ‘I want to use that style here but I don’t want to be nailed down to it everywhere.’ One thing we’ve seen is a lot of people want to use fabrics that fit into very different environments. As things have changed, the companies we’ve acquired as vendors have really moved to having a broader range of styles.”

Year to year, trend to trend, decorating and design rules are never written in stone. Feel free to bend or break the ‘rules’ when it comes to creating and decorating your own space. Focus on your style, your comfort and your budget.