One of the biggest challenges I had when furnishing my house was buying furniture online. Even though there are quite a few great furniture brands with physical stores there are even more options online. And they often offer good value. So it’s a really great resource for us! But when I shopped online I could only rely on what was available on the website or, if popular enough, sometimes I could find pictures of it on Pinterest or Houzz. Sometimes.
Most of the time, I could not find enough detailed information or photos to give me the confidence that the piece would work in my home and for my needs. Reviews on furniture and home decor, if there were reviews at all, were often short and generic. Photos from the retailer or manufacturer were often just generic photos on a plain background or staged set. It was hard to tell what the scale of it was, and I was always wondering whether the colors or finish on screen were going to look the same in person. It just made it really hard for me to envision what the piece might look like in my home. And if I was going to spend hundreds of dollars on large items that would be painful to return I really wanted to be sure it would turn out the way I envisioned.
Luckily I live close enough to many of the home stores I like so I could get myself over to a store to check something out. But I know not everyone has a West Elm or a ZGallerie near by they could pop into. And I imagined if online furniture shopping was hard for me it might be hard for others too. So one of the main reasons I decided to start a blog was to share my experiences with purchasing larger items for my home with others in the hopes of making it easier for you. I also spent a TON of time researching and sourcing so now you don’t have to! I think with better information and photos with more context it would enable you to make a better decision about your purchase. Ideally, this will reduce the chance of having to return something big and bulky, making an expensive mistake, or having the “OMG it’s not what I had imagined but now what do I do it’s sitting in my living room” feeling.
As much I’d like to, I obviously can’t review all the products out there but my style with furniture is usually pretty neutral and classic with some modern tastes so I think I’ll end up talking about stuff that will appeal to many of you. I’ll be starting with reviews of home furniture and decor sites I’ve used and their products I’ve purchased, sharing with you what I looked at and what I ultimately bought. Of course, these are my personal opinions and my list of pros and cons may or may not be yours. But as with any friend that asks me about something in my home I’m going to give them my honest opinion. Long intro I know, but I wanted to give you an idea of where these reviews are coming from. Now, here we go!
First review! This industrial metal stool.
My inspiration and what I was looking for
For my kitchen table I knew I wanted a casual vibe, and I loved the idea of mixing different types of seating including a bench (a looong search and a post for another day), chairs and stools. I also knew I was leaning towards a rustic industrial or modern farmhouse style. For the stools I wanted to go with something like this*. Except I needed them to be table height, not counter height, not bar height. You’d think that’d be easy right since this style of stool is everywhere?
What I found
Not so much. At least not exactly what I wanted. I either found ones that were more expensive than I wanted to spend for metal stools, or they weren’t quite the style I was looking for. I found the one on the left in teal from CB2* that I really liked, but they were still more expensive than I hoped for since I needed at least two and possibly four of them. (Btw, it doesn’t look like CB2 carries this anymore.) Then, I finally came across these Chintaly Alfresco Side Chairs* on the right on Wayfair/All Modern! They came in a set of 4. I didn’t really want to get 4 of them but they were such a good price I couldn’t resist. And they came in a variety of super cute colors! Score!
What I wasn’t sure about
I wasn’t sold at first. I wasn’t sure about: The color. I liked the chartreuse, lime green color they appeared to be online, but as with most things it was really hard to tell if the shade would be to my liking once I got it in my home. But I took the chance because it was relatively inexpensive. (Btw again, it doesn’t look like they carry the chartreuse anymore! Sad face!)
The quantity. I still didn’t like the idea that I had to buy 4 at a time because I only really needed two. But I went with it because I figured I could always use extras when I had more people over. And they were stackable so I could store the unused ones and save floor space.
The quality. I wasn’t sure how good the finish was, but it claimed you could use them outdoors. I knew I was only going to use them indoors so I wasn’t too concerned about whether it would rust or get beat up.
My Pros and Cons
Pros: The quality. They are a pretty solid metal that feels sturdy even when you’re moving them around or sitting on them. The paint finish is pretty nice. It has a shiny smooth finish, not matte finish, and it doesn’t look cheap. If you have kids, these would be super easy to clean up. Just be careful they are old enough to stay put and don’t slide off! The color is super cute and really is a nice chartreuse that pops with the rest of my neutral kitchen table area. The size is compact so it’s great for small spaces and pushing under desks and tables. The seat surface is 1 foot square. The cut out in the seat is perfect for putting your hand in to pick it up. I like that they can stack so I store my extras in my hall closet. They do have black rubber feet but I added the stick-on felt furniture pads anyway. Side note: I’d recommend that for almost all furniture and all surfaces just for the extra protection. The felt pads don’t cost much but fixing your floors does!
Cons: They are cold on the behind! This is something I didn’t really think about when purchasing, and it’s probably true for all metal stools. Sometimes when the temperature is colder and I’m not wearing thick pants or jeans I can definitely feel the cold metal. They aren’t comfortable because well, they are metal. I don’t really think any metal chair out there is what I’d call comfy but I’m ok with it because I knew that going into the purchase. These are probably better for casual, quick dinners and not long, meandering dinner conversations over several glasses of wine.
I really do love these little stools*. I would definitely purchase them again, and if a friend asked I’d recommend them.
What do you think of these, yay or nay? What color would you get? Leave a comment below.
*Starred are affiliate links. Thank you for your support!