As promised in my formal living room update post, I’m giving you a peek into the custom furniture ordering process. I’ve talked about custom furniture here on the blog many times before (here is a recent resource list, if you missed it), but I’ve never elaborated on what that process looks like as a consumer. I figured it would be helpful to share the process from the initial order to the furniture’s arrival, so you know exactly what to expect when ordering custom. I’m sharing my recent experience with Maiden Home. Click through to learn about how I made my selections, how the furniture is constructed, and what the delivery process looks like.
*While this post is not sponsored, some items were gifted to me. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we actually use & enjoy!
Before we dive in, you can also catch a really fun interview I did with Maiden Home– they shared it on their blog over the weekend, which was a happy surprise. I answered lots of amazing design related questions, if you’re interested to read! Ready to dig into the custom furniture process? Of course this is all based on my personal aesthetic, preferences, furniture needs, and overall experience.
Swatches & Selection
I stumbled upon Maiden Home’s site a couple years ago and actually saved the Carmine Sofa to a wishlist Pinterest board back in the day (it was one of the first pieces they introduced). It wasn’t until we were shuffling furniture last fall, that I had a need for another sofa. That Pinterest board led me right back to the Carmine and I knew the shape and size would fit our floor plan and aesthetic perfectly. Once I had that component figured out, I had to choose new swivel chairs. I usually start with the size and shape, then narrow it down from there. It’s always best to ensure a piece fits your space, and that immediately helps to narrow things down. I try not to waste my time looking at options that work work (size, budget, etc).
I obviously landed on the Dune Swivel Chairs because the nice modern shape beautifully contrasted the sofa, but most of all- because I knew they would be super comfortable. Once I have my selections figured out, I usually go through the details with a fine tooth comb, checking the material list, the construction, the fabric options, and double checking the dimensions. After I’m positive the frame is right for a room, then it’s onto the fun part of the selection process: ordering swatches.
Having used to work for a design firm, I miss the days of having a fabric library at my fingertips. It’s always fun to play designer again and order swatches to look at in my space. When it comes to custom furniture, I always order a swatch before committing. I actually ordered quite a few swatches from Maiden Home, all of them being performance fabrics of some type… because obviously we have dogs that also use our furniture.
Once the swatches arrived, I took them into our living room to see how they interacted with the light, how they felt in my hand, and I double checked their specs (like the rub count). FYI- if you want to know more about making fabric selections, check out this post! Eventually I landed on the Slate Blue Mohair for the sofa and a linen-looking Performance Chenille (in color Alabaster) for the swivels. You can check out all of their swatches here, if you want to know what other options I had. They have a handy guide that tells which fabrics are cleanable, liquid resistant, fade resistant, etc.
Ordering & Leadtime
I had my ducks in a row, I was excited about the design & fabrics, and I pressed the order button! The lead-time was 8-10 weeks when I placed my order, and I immediately received a confirmation email. Now the hard part… waiting. Despite lots of furniture companies having crazy lead times right now, I was pretty impressed with how quickly my furniture arrived. I ordered last November and it got to me in mid January.
It’s important to understand that custom furniture is made specifically for you with your preferences- it can take awhile. Your selections can also influence the lead time. I think lead-time throws a lot of people for a loop. Since I used to work in the industry, I’m ok with it and I know it’s worth the wait… but if you’re not familiar with the custom furniture process, it can feel annoying to wait SO long. Just know that it’s normal! Furniture makers are working as quickly as they can while maintaining their quality and standards. That’s something I’m willing to wait for.
Having worked with many high-end furniture makers and showrooms during my days as a designer, I’ve done the factory & workshop tours, I know what goes into making furniture, and I really love seeing skilled artisans & tradespeople representing their timeless craft. That’s why I was thrilled to receive construction update emails from Maiden Home. It was the happiest surprise! When ordering custom in the past, I’ve never had a company do that. It’s usually just an order confirmation and a shipping confirmation… unless you’re working with a designer and they can call for updates.
From framing, springing, cutting & sewing, to upholstery, Maiden Home sent construction updates (and delivery timing updates) as my furniture was being built. I was impressed! It was nice to see who was building my furniture and understand what stage in the process everything was at. Many of the craftsmen & craftswomen have 30-40+ years experience! It honestly made those eight weeks go much faster knowing things were actively happening behind-the-scenes in the workroom.
Shipping & White Glove Delivery
Once everything is finished, it’s carefully wrapped and ready to ship. Custom furniture is usually sent via white glove delivery. I got a call from my local freight company asking me to schedule the delivery. When the furniture arrived, the delivery people unboxed it for me, and even positioned it in our living room (asking me where I wanted it)- they were also respectful of our home (wearing shoe covers, and of course masks). It was a good experience and Emmett & I didn’t have to deal with recycling, trash, or heavy lifting.
Obviously once the furniture was in place, the fun began- styling, enjoying it, lounging in our new comfy swivels. Custom furniture does have a higher price tag, but I’ve come to find it’s a worthy investment. I was especially impressed ordering from Maiden Home this first time because of their quality and pricing. Their entire business model is based on cutting out the middle sources (showrooms, wholesalers, designers, etc), bringing furniture from the workroom to your home (as a regular, non trade consumer). You can read more about their process and concept here, if you’re interested.
I got to chat on the phone with Nidhi, the Maiden Home Founder, and our conversation was so inspiring! She talked about why she wanted to start this business in the first place- how she noticed a gap in the custom furniture market that was accessible & affordable to consumers (without having to work through a designer or shop). She’s really an impressive female entrepreneur who cares, and has created many US jobs for skilled furniture makers. I thoroughly enjoyed our chat and will definitely be ordering from them again in the future.
Do you have any custom furniture questions for me? It can be about design, ordering from Maiden Home, furniture in general, whatever you want. I’ll do my best to help! I hope covering my design thoughts of making selections and the custom furniture process was helpful. Have a wonderful Tuesday, my friends!
PeggiMarch 16, 2021 at 7:10 am
Woman-owned and made in the US. I love that! Of course your process for choosing custom pieces sounds so logical-start with the size and shape. “Don’t waste time looking at options that won’t work.” But, Sarah, where’s the fun in that? Wasting time considering unattainable or impractical options is my modus operandi…my raison d’être. Also, give me all the swatches! Seriously though, your pointers make perfect sense, and your experience with Maiden Home seems enviable. I would especially appreciate the construction updates-such a thoughtful touch! There’s no denying the beautiful results either. Those pieces look like they were made for your room. Oh, wait…🤣💜
SarahMarch 16, 2021 at 9:12 am
Yes! Kudos to both of those amazing things. North Carolina really is the furniture mecca of the US though. Can you imagine the things we could thrift there?! Haha! If I had more time, I’d totally search ALL of the options (for fun), but I feel like these days I usually only look at what will work for our house and budget- so pragmatic, I know. Ha! I was really impressed with Maiden Home and will definitely order from them again in the future. Every year they release new furniture styles, and I’m hoping for more traditional pieces this year (like the Carmine). The construction email updates were really cool! I actually told Emmett they should do that at the cabinetry shop he works for. There are so many amazing people in their workshop with decades of experience who deserve to be highlighted. Hope you have a fantastic Tuesday, Peggi! xox
LaurenMarch 16, 2021 at 8:10 am
I love the story behind this company! It’s always awe inspiring when you come across those talented business owners who see a gap in their industry and find a way to fill it. In this case, how awesome that it benefits the everyday consumer, like me. Bonus that it’s woman owned and the product is made in the USA. I love that!
It makes total sense to start with the size and shape-I never would have thought to start there. I’d be perusing everything and most likely fall in love with something that isn’t the right fit, haha! I’m actually terrible at floor planning; that would be the most overwhelming aspect of the task for me. Choosing the fabric would be the fun part. I love swatches! It sounds like you had an incredible experience with Maiden Home-such a nice personal touch with the production updates! I would imagine it’s difficult for companies like this, working with those that aren’t in the design industry, and have no clue about how long custom furniture takes. I think that’s a smart move on their part-to meld customer satisfaction and education into one is a pretty wise way to approach it. I think you’ve convinced me that if I ever decide to go custom I should look at Maiden Home first. Thank you for sharing a peek into this process! I hope you know that if I ever do, you’ll be the first person I call! Haha! Hope your Tuesday is off to an amazing start! Have a great day Sarah. Xoxo
SarahMarch 16, 2021 at 9:04 am
Me too, Lauren. I really loved chatting with Nidhi- she is so inspiring! I always start with the floor plan! I feel like I used to waste a lot of time looking at pieces that weren’t even feasible for our home or budget. Narrowing it down has been key. I really did have a great experience. I can’t recommend them enough! I’ll definitely be ordering again in the future and am looking forward to seeing the new styles they launch this year. I’m hoping for some more traditional frames, like the Carmine sofa we have. You can definitely call me for your furniture questions when the time comes. Haha! ;) Hope you’re also having a good week so far. xox
MistyMarch 17, 2021 at 5:27 am
You have selected a lovely timeless chair and sofa. Are they as comfortable as they look? Is the microfiber wrapped cushion a new process? I am currently looking to replace a sofa and you have provided such a great option. I am just a bit nervous not being able to see and sit on the sofa before buying. However, during this time ordering from home is definitely a safer alternative. Maiden Home appears to be a great company to work with as they kept you continually updated. Thank you for the information and tips.
SarahMarch 17, 2021 at 10:37 am
Thank you so much, Misty! They really are as comfortable as they look. Emmett calls the swivels our cloud chairs. Haha! You really sink into them (without struggling to get back out, ha). Great question on the cushions! So the swivel chairs we have our down wrapped cushions, which are easy to fluff and are super comfortable. The sofa has the fiber wrapped cushions because it’s more of a tailored look (flat cushion, less lofty), so when you sit- you don’t really sink deeply. It’s still comfortable- the fiber allows it to maintain the shape, it is less maintenance (just rotating, no fluffing), and you get that tailored look (no lumps, sagging, etc). I’ll report back on how things are holding up next year!
JennMarch 18, 2021 at 12:21 pm
Hi, Sarah! I found you over on the Maiden Home blog and am so glad I did! I have been clicking all over your blog and really enjoying it. My question about the custom furniture process is how to tell whether something is comfortable to you or not. Like you mentioned you knew the chair would be comfortable, but how did you know that? :-) And then specifically about the Carmine, which I also have been eyeing for a while– I love the idea of it being less maintenance, my chiropractor wants me to have a firmer support, etc, but is I’m having trouble defining “firm,” I suppose. Is it a sit-upright-with-feet-on-the-ground-only sofa? Or can you still curl up in the corner with a book or lay down and take a nap or even binge watch Netflix? It’s so pretty and probably is better for my back, etc, but finding a good reading spot is so important!
SarahMarch 21, 2021 at 11:36 am
I’m so happy you’re here, Jenn! Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate it! To answer your question about determining whether furniture will be comfortable or not, is really about reading the specs, measuring, etc. I always check the cushion construction to determine how they will sit or sink, I also look at the seat height & depth, back height, arm height, etc. By taping out those measurements or comparing it to existing furniture, you can tell how it will sit. As for the Carmine, I definitely have better posture sitting on that sofa than in our swivel chairs that you sink into, but it’s still very comfortable. I curl up on it with our dogs, read, and watch the fire. It’s more firm than a down chair, but I would be happy sitting there for a couple hours to binge TV or lounge. The arm height is lower, so if you enjoy sitting with your arm propped up to read, that might be something to look at. I hope that’s helpful!
JennMarch 24, 2021 at 3:12 pm
Yes, thank you, that helped so much! I just took the plunge and ordered my Carmine! So excited! It definitely felt nerve wracking putting the order in without sitting in it — my husband still thinks it’s crazy — but their return policy does seem really good so fingers crossed!
SarahMarch 29, 2021 at 10:19 am
Yay!! I love hearing that. Let me know what you think once it arrives :) I’m so excited for you! I’ve ordered so much furniture online over the years and have learned if you really examine the specs, measure beforehand, and compare to what you currently have- it usually works out well! I think you’re going to love it, and if not- you’re right… there is always the return policy.
ElizabethMay 9, 2021 at 3:45 pm
Hi Sarah! I found you on the Maiden Home blog as well and your classic yet modern style resonates with me so much! I’m thinking of ordering the Carmine in slate blue, and wondering how the fabric will hold up. Have you had to clean any spills yet? I have a well behaved dog (a whippet) and a nine-year old, so I tried to choose a performance fabric instead but keep coming back to the slate blue. It fits well with my blue/cream/brown color scheme and the fabric is just so rich and beautiful, the way it changes with the light. Did you have a runner up fabric choice for your sofa?
SarahMay 10, 2021 at 5:32 pm
Thank you so much, Elizabeth! So happy you found your way over to my corner of the internet. So far the fabric is holding up beautifully to our dogs. We haven’t had any spills yet, but Crosby did jump onto it with muddy paws and I was able to wipe those right up. In my experience, mohair is really durable… not quite as amazing as a performance fabric, but still much better than others. The blue is really forgiving, too. It’s a gorgeous color in person! I actually didn’t have a runner up fabric choice for the sofa. Once that swatch came in the mail, I knew I wanted the blue.
ElizabethMay 10, 2021 at 5:54 pm
Wonderful to hear! Thank you for your prompt and very helpful response. I’m going to go ahead with the blue slate! Looking forward to continuing to follow your blog (and will likely head over to your shop to order pillows for my new sofa soon!). Thanks again!
SarahMay 11, 2021 at 10:12 pm
I’m so excited for you, Elizabeth! You’ll have to let me know what you think once it arrives. We’re very happy with ours. Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m so happy to have you here. I truly appreciate your support. Have a lovely week :)
JoanaMay 21, 2021 at 7:56 pm
I’m considering purchasing the Dune sofa. I’m trying to decide between the Performance Chenille and the Performance Textured Linen. The chenille feels softer, but in general I love the look of linen. How did you come to your decision on the chenille? Thank you!
SarahMay 24, 2021 at 8:14 am
Hi Joana! Great questions. Both fabrics are really awesome (performance) options that are very durable. I landed on the chenille solely based on the color. That swatch just felt like a better match for our space. I also did notice and like the softness and hand of that fabric. I hope that is helpful!
LizOctober 14, 2021 at 10:20 pm
Thank you for sharing your experience with Maiden Home and for the beautiful photos. I am actually looking at adding one or two Dune chairs to my living room, and trying to decide which depth, since they come in two different options. Can you share which size your swivel Dune chairs are? Many thanks.
SarahOctober 15, 2021 at 9:55 am
I hope it was helpful, Liz! We have the smaller size Dune swivels :)
ElizabethOctober 15, 2021 at 10:19 am
I have the small Dune chairs too (after also checking with Sarah which ones she has!). They fit my space better. You can take the back pillow out for a deeper seat if you’re tall.
SarahOctober 19, 2021 at 3:19 pm
Yes! We took off the smaller throw pillows and use those on our sofa in the same room for a thread of cohesion :) Awesome point, Elizabeth!