Custom furniture used to be reserved for the wealthy: those who had the time and money to consult with designers, choose fabrics, and create the settee or armchair of their dreams. It was impossible to buy something like that in store; you had to have a designer on call to make your dreams come true.
Now, custom furniture has never been more accessible. Though the price point can still be higher than some are willing to pay, brands like The Inside (now owned by tech design firm Havenly) are bringing custom pieces to the masses. Havenly, founded in 2013, pairs customers with virtual designers who create a 3D rendering of their space, complete with shoppable furniture. After acquiring The Inside, Havenly allows users to choose a furniture silhouette (everything from beds to benches) and then select one of 100+ fabrics, creating a piece unique to your home, at a price lower than traditional custom furniture.
"Home is at its best when it’s a celebration of you: your style, your stories, your interests, your distinct personality," Heather Goerzen, Havenly Design Editor tells MyDomaine. "And one of the best ways to weave more “you” into your home is with custom furniture, tailor made to suit your style and space. Custom upholstery presents the opportunity to put your signature stamp through individual fabrics and finishes, silhouettes, sizing, and more. The beauty of custom furniture is that it’s not a uniform piece forced into your space, but rather made for it."
Tech and the Design Industry
Interior design and accessibility haven't always gone hand-in-hand, but Havenly has had a core mission to make design increasingly available since its inception.
"We have always aspired to create a place where more people can feel included, seen and served in home and interior design, an industry which has historically been out of reach for so many," Lee Mayer, Founder and CEO of Havenly says. "This has been Havenly’s mission from its founding, after my own personal experience with the traditional interior design model when I moved from a small NYC apartment to a multi-bedroom home in Denver."
Home is at its best when it’s a celebration of you: your style, your stories, your interests, your distinct personality
By allowing customers to consult designers, see 3D renderings of their space, and shop from the same online location, Havenly uses technology to bring the price point down significantly, Mayer explains. Designs cost only $129 per room, with the furniture priced separately. With customers increasingly preferring online shopping to in-store purchases, tech and design have never been more intertwined.
"Interestingly, prior to the pandemic, about 11-13% of all home furnishings-related purchases were made online," Mayer says. "Starting in 2020, as consumers looked to shop online while brick-and-mortar options were closed, those purchases jumped closer to 22%. The rise in online shopping for the home has opened an even greater market opportunity for DTC brands, offering accessible and customizable furniture and home products."
Custom Furniture at Home
With custom furniture within reach, creating a home that showcases your personality is easier than ever.
"Custom pieces are a great way to put your personal fingerprint on your space, whether that’s a made-to-order sofa in the perfect fabric, a statement bed in a signature print, or even dining chairs in a pattern that feels just like you," Goerzen says. "My personal approach to home is that each and every room should have distinctive elements to highlight your personality, and custom upholstered furniture is a great way to do that."
Custom pieces are a great way to put your personal fingerprint on your space.
Is it better to invest in a sofa or something small? Goerzen says custom furniture can work anywhere, but there are two main schools of thought.
"First, you can start with smaller accents: like ottomans or benches, to add in a pop of personality to your space," Goerzen explains. "Or, really lean in with a show-stopping statement piece like a sofa or bed to anchor the aesthetic of the whole room. With custom pieces at these prices, you really can’t go wrong."