Stores Like West Elm: 10 Similar Shops For MCM Furniture
For fans of modern furniture with a subtle vintage touch, West Elm is a popular choice for many shoppers. They specialize in mid-century-modern furniture (MCM), consisting of sleek lines, simple materials, and geometric shapes. Conceptualized between the 1950s to the 1960s, it takes inspiration from Scandinavian minimalism and has retained its popularity even today. Notable names include Charles and Ray Eames, Saarinen, and George Nelson who are key architects and designers of the MCM movement. If you’re looking for that perfect intersection between classic and modern, you’re in the right place. Here are some stores like West Elm that stock some of the best selections of mid-century modern furniture.
A very similar West Elm alternative is FROY, which stocks a relatively affordable range of mid-century modern furniture and decor online. They offer close replicas of many famous mid-century modern furniture designs. For instance, the Lore Round Dining Table in a faux marble finish echoes the luxurious Saarinen Dining Table. Similarly, the Eden Side Chair is reminiscent of the famed Series 7 Chair designed by Fritz Hansen. Its smooth lines and waterfall seat support a flexible back. Finally, the Wyatt Lacquer Coffee Table takes inspiration from mid-century classics with its unique elliptical shape and sleek lacquer finish.
2. France and Son
One of West Elm’s competitors is France and Son. They currently have a mid-century modern collection inspired by the esteemed Pierre Jeanneret, who was a Swiss architect. However, they have adapted his designs to suit a modern audience, offering reproductions hand-crafted with solid Acacia wood and a gorgeous rattan weave for added comfort. For example, the Mid Century Jeanneret Ottoman/Stool duplicates the classic V-shaped legs found in the 1950’s original. In contrast, the Pierre Jeanneret Armless Slipper Chair takes a more contemporary approach with a floating upholstered base.
CB2 sells a fantastic collection of mid-century modern furniture and is one of the furniture stores that most closely resembles West Elm. Firstly, their light fixtures are competitively priced, such as the Big Dipper Floor Lamp. It has a brushed round nickel base that supports a sweeping arc of over 6 feet, with a fabric diffuser to soften the glow. In addition, it’s definitely a close dupe of Flos’ gorgeous Arco Lamp. Moreover, their designs often put a contemporary modern slant on midcentury classics. For instance, the Sunset Teak Lounge Chair has a linen weather-resistant fabric on top of a dramatic triangular teak base.
A Canadian version of stores like CB2 and West Elm is EQ3, which places an emphasis on timeless designs and lasting quality. For instance, if you’re looking for a MCM statement piece to complement your bedroom, the Reclaimed Teak Bed is constructed of solid planks sourced from Java, Indonesia. No two pieces are the same, as each piece comes with a distinctive grain. Moreover, their Place Square Dinette Table is a compact piece created by West Coast designer Shawn Place. It juxtaposes the lightweight aura of transparent glass with the heavier substance of wood. Furthermore, it draws inspiration from the Noguchi Table designed by Isamu Noguchi in 1948.
5. Hive Modern
On the pricier end of the spectrum is Hive Modern which is a significantly pricier alternative to West Elm. Most importantly, they stock original mid-century pieces, such as the ultra-iconic Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman by Herman Miller. If you have the funds to spend on an item that’s part of the MoMA’s permanent collection, this is the perfect setup for you. Charles Eames aimed to evoke the “warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt,” combining luxury and ultimate comfort. In addition, Florence Knoll’s update to her instantly recognizable sofa pieces include the Relaxed Settee, which is a softer version that has deeper proportions than the original.
6. The Inside
Injecting a more playful touch to the world of mid-century modern furniture, The Inside offers colorful patterns and finishes in a broad array of styles. Similar to other stores like West Elm, they aim to cater to a wider range of budgets, bringing the high-end experience of customized fabric choices to homeowners at more accessible pricetags. For instance, the Cube Ottoman comes in over 100 different colors, with a timeless shape that’s sure to suit any room. Similarly, the Mid-Century Bench is equally versatile and can be placed in the entryway of your home or at the foot of your bed.
7. Apt 2B
One of the most recognizable chairs in the MCM world is the Barcelona Chair, which is attributed to the famous modernist figure Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. A recent update to his creation is Apt 2B’s Mesquite Lounge Chair in Vintage Copper, combining artfully aged leather with a brushed gold finish. Likewise, check out the Maturin Club Chair. It has a similar mid-century modern vibe combined with an industrial toughness. Lastly, the Sylmar Side Chair evokes the soft curves of the Wishbone Chair or the Y-Chair which was designed by Hans Wegner in 1950.
For fans of truly retro mid-century inspired finds, Article’s Texada Sofa features stylish leather tufting and a sleek cylindrical base. It calls to mind a stunning Blade-runner style den and is sure to be a statement piece. Add the Geome Sideboard to amp up the geometric vibes with its beehive-like detail. On the other hand, the Ripa Oxford Black Bench adds a sleek surprise to the iconic Nelson Platform Bench, designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller. It consists of solid walnut-stained wood topped off with two black leather cushions.
Another West Elm alternative is Joybird, who draws inspiration from the greatest designers of the MCM movement for their entire line. For example, yet another dupe of the Barcelona Chair is the Sena Accent Chair. It’s an incredibly inviting chair to lounge on, upholstered in a pale blue pinstripe fabric that pairs perfectly with almost every color. Furthermore, the Rosetta Bar Cabinet features incredible details guaranteed to garner compliments. It’s constructed from natural woven cane complemented by modern circular handle pulls.
Medley’s emphasis on sustainability and craftsmanship makes it a worthy West Elm competitor. The Palder Bed is a low-slung model that looks like it’s hovering off the bedroom floor. It’s supported by an all-wood frame, finished with zero VOC and low sheen unscented natural beeswax. In addition, the uplifting angle of the Ridge Accent Chair combined with its thin lines adds openness to any living space. Finally, a truly timeless storage solution is the Atten 3-Door Credenza. Modern touch and push technology give it a current update for greater ease of use.
When it comes to selecting the best mid-century modern furniture, it’s not just about finding something stylish, but finding something durable that’s more likely to stand the test of time. Whether you’re interested in sourcing original masterpieces or West Elm alternatives, vintage never goes out of style. Lastly, check out our Mid-Century Modern Design & Decorating Guide for some practical styling tips.
YOUR GUIDE TO USED WEST ELM FURNITURE & DÉCOR
Merge a downtown vibe with a dash of West Coast cool and you have the makings of West Elm. Housed under the Williams-Sonoma umbrella alongside Pottery Barn and Rejuvenation, West Elm caters to the urbanite with a taste for warm, modern style on a budget. Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Brooklyn, West Elm is focused on creating stylish, multi-functional pieces that can seamlessly graduate from first apartment to forever home.
As opposed to sister brand Pottery Barn, West Elm approaches design with a modern and minimalist aesthetic. Mid-Century Modern influences are a constant for the brand, as are luxe materials like brass and velvet. That’s not to say that the brand won’t pull wild card moments from time to time. Partnerships with artistry brands like Rabbit + Roar and Fishs Eddy have led to unique collections that speak beyond the typical West Elm aesthetic. Want to learn more about how to incorporate West Elm furniture into your space? We round up the must-have West Elm furniture pieces, room-by-room, below.
THE WEST ELM LIVING ROOM
Every West Elm living room begins with a West Elm couch. From minimal and function-forward to mod and funky, West Elm serves up a wide variety of sofas. All-time favorites include West Elm’s Axel sofa, which marries a simple, industrial form with luxurious leather and the West Elm Rochester sofa which takes a page from classic Chesterfield design. West Elm also has the Henry sofa line, which provides a chic sleeper sofa option. To complement a West Elm sofa there’s no better partner than a West Elm chair. Whether you pick a matching mate to your sofa (the Axel has one!), or a complementary one, plush comfort and masterful ergonomic design is a given. Among the brand’s runaway hits is the Rabbit + Roar swivel chair, which after being introduced in blush velvet in 2016, now comes in a whole range of customizable colors. To anchor your scene, choose a West Elm rug. Thanks to covetable graphics and approachable price tags, West Elm rugs have become a favorite of not only DIY-ers but interior designers, alike. West Elm ottomans, West Elm consoles, and West Elm side tables can add a final flourish to a living room, but if you’re looking for just one piece to finish the look, make it a West Elm coffee table. In addition to metal and wood versions, West Elm coffee tables integrate luxe finishes like marble and brass. For the function-minded, there’s also the West Elm Storage Pop-Up Coffee Table which comes in industrial, Mid-Century, and lacquer finishes.
THE WEST ELM DINING ROOM
Given that West Elm aims to be a go-to for both studio apartments and single-family homes, their dining room furniture leans more minimalist than grand and imposing. That’s not to say that you can’t pick up a West Elm dining set for eight, though. From tables for two to tables for extended family, West Elm carries options for either end of the spectrum. West Elm dining tables and West Elm dining chairs trend towards minimalist silhouettes, although styles run the gamut, ranging from Mid-Century Modern to industrial to whimsical and glam. Among the best-selling West Elm dining tables is the West Elm Emmerson table. Constructed of reclaimed wood, this substantial table showcases a modern rustic vibe and comes equipped with bench seating. Like most West Elm pieces it can lean in a variety of directions, including cabin-y, coastal, or even industrial. Finish off a West Elm dining room table with a West Elm console (or even a West Elm dresser!) topped with West Elm mirror. Like virtually everything else the retailer offers, West Elm mirrors come in a myriad of options, including brass, wood, and bone frames. Still room for one more piece? Roll in a West Elm bar cart!
THE WEST ELM BEDROOM
West Elm gets that whether your bedroom is a splurge-y master retreat or an extended part of your living room, it’s a room that should host relaxing vibes first and foremost. To ensure your bedroom is just that, West Elm beds come in an impressive range of styles. Whether you’re looking for an upholstered West Elm bed or a wood West Elm bed, the brand offers multiple options for each. Once you’ve made your pick, spruce things up with some West Elm bedding, West Elm lighting or West Elm art. For years, West Elm has been partnering with Minted to create compelling modern art with fit for a budget. The brand also has a wide variety of 3D wall art, perfect for introducing a textural element into a room. As for West Elm lighting, there’s no shortage of West Elm table lamps, chandeliers, or floor lamps to choose from. West Elm integrates marble, sphere light globes, and brass into a number of its lamps. Among its all-time favorite lamps is the Rachel Kozlowski Mallard Duck Table Lamp. A brass duck base outfitted with a linen drum shade is as quirky as it is timeless. Needless to say, it's the perfect way to top a West Elm nightstand.
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West Elm's quality issues don't stop at #PeggyGate
A West Elm spokesperson told BuzzFeed News in a statement on Tuesday that it follows "industry-best standards with commitment to quality materials and manufacturing and rigorous third-party testing."
"We also take customer feedback seriously and strive to be as responsive as possible," it added.
But the prices are high enough that plenty of customers expect better. The furniture retailer, which is owned by pricey kitchenware chain Williams-Sonoma, isn't a stranger to quality complaints. Take, for instance the case of the $300 leather dining chair.
@joshua_lory: [email protected] quality on $299 chair
When Joshua Lory, 32, and his wife moved to San Jose, California, from New York City, they were won over by a set of West Elm framework leather dining chairs with a dark walnut finish, priced at $300 per chair. Yet when the chairs were delivered in February, Lory noticed a problem almost immediately.
"Out of the six chairs we received, three were damaged in shipping or not put together correctly," he said. "You can also put them in a line and they're not all even. Some are higher than the others."
The chair is now listed as "no longer available" online. Lory said a customer service representative told him the whole line had been discontinued because of "production issues" and offered to replace the chairs once the issues are fixed.
"They're not charging Ikea prices," Lory said. "West Elm has a lot of pressure on them to put out new styles and be a little higher quality, but they're charging a lot of money for these chairs."
Consider Exhibit B: the Reeve marble dining table.
@arkent74: @westelm can you help? I've called, emailed, & no response. Table is falling apart.
Alison Kent, 42, told BuzzFeed News she was happy with all of her West Elm purchases until she bought a $600 Reeve marble dining table that started chipping, revealing a marble veneer.
"It wasn't cheap," she said. "I don't really use the table a lot. I had probably eaten at it all of three times."
West Elm's customer service department told Kent they weren't able to refund or replace the table because it was not "technically an in-store purchase," she said. During another call, they offered a 20%-off coupon. In one final attempt, she spoke to a store worker, who told her the line had been discontinued because other customers had complained about the marble chipping.
"I was just really disappointed in their level of customer service and their inaction in caring about the quality of the work they put together and the inability to follow through," she said.
The company did not respond to requests for comment from BuzzFeed News.
A number of unnamed employee reviews on jobs site Glassdoor.com include complaints that West Elm's furniture is not up to par," that "the product might be attractive but the quality is terrible," and that the "products are vastly over-priced compared to quality and craftsmanship."
Consumers think West Elm is "better quality than it really is," said Hamby, who worked in visual merchandising for West Elm from 2007 to 2011.
Its slick design and branding has allowed the company to command prices above other starter furniture brands like Ikea. West Elm's Peggy sofa, which was upholstered in fabric, retailed for $1,199; Ikea's Landskrona leather sofa retails for $799 and comes with a 10-year warranty.
"It's probably a couple steps up from Ikea," said Hamby. But "it's not something you're going to pass on for generations."
Fawcett, the former store staffer in Virginia, said: "When you come to a brand like Ikea, they may have a sturdier product because they don't put out a whole lot of pieces throughout the year. West Elm has an assortment of sofas and key pieces which changes every year. There is not a lot of lead time to test these products full-on like Ikea would."
@maryrachelcutter: So disappointed my @westelm Reeve coffee table is falling apart after only 14 months :( #worstelm #fixmytable
The flaws get noticed by customers. When Cassandra Berger decided to "be a grown up and invest in a good bed," she bought West Elm's mod upholstered platform bed for about $1,000. About nine months later, she noticed three out of the four legs had cracked and splayed out and discovered the joint that connects the bed frame to the legs had cracked. The company has offered to replace the legs, although it did not address the cracked joint.
"I've ranted enough times about this," she said.
Set west elm dining
.Presenting: The Silhouette Dining Collection
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