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3 Types of Chicago Furniture Stores and Which is Best for You

Best Chicago Furniture Store

Chicago furniture stores include all the major types of furniture stores; big box, medium box and small and independently owned furniture stores.

Our biggest of the big box stores is probably Ikea, but other big box stores for furniture around town include Home Goods and Value City Furniture. Some examples of medium box stores in Chicago are Walter E. Smithe and Art Van furniture.

But take some time to discover the hidden gems of the Chicago furniture store landscape.

And of course at Wrightwood, we’d love to become your favorite independent Chicago furniture store, if we’re not already! Check out the pros and cons of these different types of retailers below to compare Chicago furniture stores and pick the one that's best for you!

Big Box Chicago Furniture Stores

The obvious draws of big box stores are their low prices. Because they use inexpensive materials such as MDF, laminate and particleboard and mass-produced pieces with styles designed to appeal to the broadcast demographics possible, they are able to keep their prices extremely low. One thing to be leery of is when big box stores advertise “designer” or “deluxe” furniture at an increased price. Even though these pieces usually have a nicer design than the standard big box fare, they are usually still made out of the same cheap materials and lack detail or modern furniture design elements. Head to a big box store when you’re looking for very simple and affordable furniture that you only need to last about a year.

Another point to be wary of with big box stores (as well as medium sized ones) is high pressure sales tactics and seemingly great financing options. However, keep in mind that “zero down” and low monthly payments are structured to help make it easier for salespeople to sell. Plus, missing even one payment deadline often voids the entire special financing offer. So you could end up having to pay interest, penalties and more — and even risk having your total purchase price adjusted to pre-discount prices — so that “great deal” could end up being incredibly costly.

Big box furniture stores also have massive overhead that costs you more money in the way of markups. They are huge, sprawling stores with seemingly endless options to designed to encourage you to buy more. But along with that comes high rent and upkeep costs. These businesses also typically have high turnover so staff will have little to no knowledge of what they’re selling. And the salespeople’s pay is almost always heavily commission-based — so they’re ultimately more likely to look out for themselves than you. It's important to keep all of this in mind when you compare Chicago furniture stores.

Medium Box Chicago Furniture Stores

Medium sized Chicago furniture chains run a fairly large gamut of price ranges and qualities. Typically, they’ll be less costly than high-end retailers and also of a lesser quality, but they’ll usually have a nicer quality than big box stores. Usually these stores carry traditional American styled furniture rather than unique, modern furniture.

Think giant leather sofas with a matching recliner surrounding a giant entertainment center and flat-screen TV. So if you’re looking for something more unique or trendy, look elsewhere. Another common characteristic of medium box stores is the use of ads and sales.

They’ll usually have seemingly giant furniture sales around President’s Day or Memorial Day. Keep in mind that even during these sales, the stores are likely still raking in huge markups. These types of furniture stores, along with their big box cousins, will often inflate the “compare to” price of items on sale — so even though it may seem like the store is giving you hundreds of dollars off, the “sale” price you’re paying still gives the store healthy profits.

Medium and big box furniture stores also love to create furniture groupings that are carefully stylized to make you want to buy more than you can afford or want. These groupings are also heavily accessorized with high margin items in hopes that you’ll buy more from them when, in all likelihood, that decorative item is available elsewhere for much less money.

Local Small Chicago Furniture Stores

The most obvious difference in small Chicago furniture stores is the atmosphere. If you’re at a store like Wrightwood, all the employees are highly knowledgeable about what each and every piece is made out of and where it came from, which is an aspect that most larger stores just cannot compete with.

Also, when you shop at a small business you’re supporting your local city’s economy. When you buy at a big box furniture store, your money is most often going to an executive far away. At store like Wrightwood, you’re putting that money right back into your community. Also, small stores are much more likely to have fun and unique handmade furniture like we do at Wrightwood!  

Wrightwood offers a smaller sized showroom that’s not only more manageable for you as a shopper, but also lets us pass along more savings to you in the form of high quality, yet affordable furniture. We also offer a low-pressure sales environment and don’t rely on gimmicks. In addition, our generous returns policy lets you return items that don’t quite work out the way you imagined. It’s our goal to help you find the best modern furniture at great prices in a friendly, low pressure environment.

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